NEW DELHI: A day after discussions on the new agricultural laws made some progress, agricultural unions said on Thursday that the Centre’s appeal suggested an alternative to repealing the laws was not feasible.
“Unless the laws are repealed, there is no way to discuss pro-farmers ‘changes in mandates and processes to ensure farmers’ incomes are doubled,” said AIKSCC, the union’s umbrella body. They urged the Center “not to be rigid and not to enjoy semantics”.
It appears to be an exercise in positioning some farmers before the next round of talks on 4 January, where the main bottlenecks are under discussion.
Thursday’s remarks came after union representatives met on Wednesday’s outcome of the talks. Although they called the government’s agreement “in principle” with two demands – raising the electricity bill and removing the penalties for burning the stubble – a “major victory”, they said their mobilization would continue.
The progress of the talks marks a new concession from the Center, but only in terms of the issues on which it was ready to change its position. The government sought to keep the unions engaged and bypassed the upper bar on which the unions were established from time to time.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, during Wednesday’s talks, urged unions to suggest any alternative to repealing agricultural laws and also insisted that there be a committee to examine the “constitutional validity” of the request.
“The government paints itself unnecessarily, widening the confidence deficit, as it continues to defend the laws in an increased PR effort and is constantly trying to discredit the farmers’ movement in many ways. It shouldn’t be like that, “Kavitha Kuruganti of Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch told TOI.
Reflecting the mood of the farmers’ representatives, Kuruganti, a member of the umbrella body working group and the only female representative of the farmers in the group of 41 who took part in the talks, said: “The first requirement is to shift this position so that not to become a matter of prestige. The government is not dealing with political opponents, but with most of Indian society and economy. ”