The central government is open to considering some suggestions from farmers on ways to improve the three agricultural Acts but will not repeal them as they have been passed by Parliament, sources said.
The bigger question of incorporating any provision that could give a legal standing to the minimum support price (MSP) is also not being considered at this stage as that will dilute the freeing up the market, the sources added.
“Any legislation is not an end in itself and there is always scope for improvement and if farmers’ groups feel that their advice can better the legislations, it could be surely considered, which can then be incorporated into the Acts either by way of amendments or through tweaking of the rules,” a senior official said.
The comments came a day before more than 30 farmers’ groups are scheduled to meet Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Food Minister Piyush Goyal for another round of talks to break the deadlock.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting for seven days at Delhi’s borders calling for the repeal of the three farm laws.
Meanwhile, the farmers’ groups called for a special session of Parliament to repeal the farm laws at a press conference on Wednesday. They also threatened to block other roads into the National Capital if their demands were not met.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held deliberations with Tomar and Goyal over ways to dispel concerns over the new laws.
Tomar, Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash had represented the Union government on Tuesday in talks with farmers’ leaders.
During the deliberations on Wednesday, the ministers are believed to have discussed issues raised by farmers and how the Centre can constructively respond, according to PTI.
The farmers have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the MSP system, leaving them at the mercy of corporate houses. The government has maintained that the laws will provide farmers better opportunities. It has also accused Opposition parties of misleading farmers.
Meanwhile, protesting farmers camping at the Singhu border said they are prepared for the long haul and will not leave until their demands are met.
The number of protesters swelled at Delhi’s border on Wednesday. Police stepped up security after thousands blocked key gateways into the national capital for the seventh day.
Among the five border points blocked are Singhu, the main access point for those entering Delhi from Punjab, Tikri, Ghazipur, and Chilla.
The protest at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur intensified, leading to the closure of a key route connecting the national capital with Uttar Pradesh.
At the Chilla Border, which connects Delhi with Noida, more farmers from Firozabad, Meerut, Noida and Etawah started gathering, prompting the authorities to close the stretch for the second day.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the Centre over its claim of doubling farmers’ income and alleged that their income had halved under the “suit-boot” government, while that of its crony friends has grown four times.
He also demanded that the government abolish the laws.