Farmers Protest: Centre gives nod on power subsidy, stubble curbs; talks on MSP, repeal to continue

demands, at Devidaspura in Amritsar district, Monday, March 04, 2019. (PTI Photo)(PTI3_4_2019_000171B)

New Delhi: Amid the farm protests, the Union government on Wednesday said that there had been “mutual consensus” on two of the four demands put up by the farmer unions. The two sides agreed to meet again on January 4.

The Union government gives nod to “decriminalize” stubble burning by excluding farmers from the ambit of the ‘Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020’, furthermore, drop those provisions of the draft Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020, which are expected to change the current model of subsidy payment to consumers.

There was no progress on the requests to cancel the three recently authorized farm laws and give legitimate assurance on the MSP or Minimum Support Price. These will be talked about when the different meet again one week from now.

Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister said, “There has been mutual consensus (apps razamandi) between the government and farmer unions on two of four issues that union leaders placed for discussion at the meeting today,” quoted The Indian Express.

He added, “The government told them that we are aware of their concern and both sides have agreed on this matter. Their objections were related to criminal action against farmers, we will decriminalize it.”

On the draft Electricity Amendment Bill, Tomar said, “The unions demanded that the existing system of power subsidy paid by the state to the consumers should continue. Mutual consensus has been reached on that demand as well.”

“There were four points on the agenda. Out of these, apps razamandi (mutual consensus) has been reached on two — or 50 percent. The meeting took place in a very pleasant atmosphere,” he said.

“Unions have been demanding the repeal of the three farm laws and we have tried to tell them that the government is ready to discuss provisions on which farmers have problems,” he said.

“Similarly, on MSP, the government has been saying that the MSP will continue and the government is ready to give it in writing. We are firm on that, but they feel that the MSP should get the (legal) guarantee. So, discussions will continue concerning the laws and MSP. We will meet again on January 4 and discuss these subjects… I am hopeful that there will be a consensus between the government and the unions, and we will be able to find a solution,” the Agriculture Minister said.

A ministerial panel, headed by Narendra Singh Tomar including Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Som Prakash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som, spoke on the behalf of the union government while the farm unions sent 41 delegates this time. The meeting, which started at 2.30 pm, finished around 7 pm.