Farmers’ call today on ending stir as govt ‘meets’ 5 demands

  • Amid indications of a narrowing of differences, the Centre on Tuesday formally offered agitating farmer unions a draft proposal, addressing five of their six demands.
  • Responding to the offer, the unions said a decision will be taken on the ongoing protests today only after getting clarifications on this issue and certain other points. Yet, the flow of events suggested that a resolution could be in sight, possibly after a meeting between the union leaders and senior ministers.
  • Anticipation of a likely settlement was heightened by a rare convergence in the SC when solicitor general Tushar Mehta and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing farm unions, jointly sought a deferment of hearing on a plea for clearing of blockades on Delhi borders. The court put off the PIL by more than a month, noting: “This is probably the first time that the SG and Bhushan are making a joint request.”
  • Apprehension about the cases lingering for long seemed to be a major concern of the unions who had opposed the new farm laws that were recently repealed in Parliament.

What the Centre’s offering farmers

  • Panel with representatives from Samyukt Kisan Morcha, other outfits to decide on demand for legal guarantee on minimum support price.
  • Withdrawal of cases against farmers; agitation must end first.
  • In-principle agreement on compensation to kin of farmers who died during protest.
  • Electricity (Amendment) Bill will not be introduced without consulting all stakeholders
  • Stubble burning provisions under Commission for Air Quality Management law decriminalised.

Sticking points

  • Farm unions feel legal guarantees on MSP are highly unlikely. Want clarification on composition and terms of reference of the government panel.
  • They want cases withdrawn first, then decision on agitation. They cited cases pending from 2017.
  • Quantum of compensation. Farmers want ‘Punjab model’ — Rs 5 lakh to each family and government job to one family member.

However…

  • The government offer’s silent on the demand to arrest and dismiss MoS Ajay Mishra over Lakhimpur Kheri violence

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