Government ready to consider seven demands; farmers reject assurances

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New Delhi : With representatives of farmers holding discussions with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the government on Tuesday agreed to take "effective measures" to fulfill seven of the 15 demands.

As per a release, the government said it will file a review petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to revoke the ban on 10-year-old diesel vehicles (tractors)and at the same time ask states to take similar action.

Also, a proposal to bring agriculture-related products under 5 per cent bracket of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be put before the GST council.

The government also said the Minimum Support Price (MSP) providing 50 per cent profit over the production cost -- as announced in the Union Budget 2018-19 -- will be extended to all notified Rabi crops, and an advisory will be sent to states to establish proper procurement mechanism to ensure fair prices.

However, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), which led the protest, said the government was "non-committal" on fixation of MSP based on 'C2' input factor as per the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations.

As per the release, the government also said measures will be taken to stop imports of commodities that are harvested in optimum quantity. And purchase window will be of 90 days.

On the demand of integration of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNRES) with farm work, the government said farmer representatives will be included in the committee that is working on the issue.

"A committee will be constituted under the chairmanship of Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to look into issues raised over implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). The committee will give report after holding consultations with farmer unions in relation with implementation of PMFBY and Kisan Credit Card scheme," reads the release.

On the issue of crop damages by wild animals, the government assured the farmers that amendments will be made in the directions under PMFBY to provide compensation on pilot basis, and it may be implemented in other affected districts based on the outcome of the pilot project.

The government's assurances came after a three-hour meeting, which was later rejected by the BKU.

It said the government was "silent" on the major demand of loan waiver and vowed to continue the stir till the protesting farmers are allowed to go to Kisan Ghat.

Among other demands which were not considered by the government are monthly pension to farmers, payment of cane arrear with interest, free electricity for tube-well, rehabilitation of family of farmers who commit suicide along with a job to kin, put agriculture out of World Trade Organisation (WTO), land acquisition as per 2013 Land Act, and calling a special session of Parliament to discuss farmers issues.

The protest by thousands of farmers at the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border turned violent on Tuesday morning as they tried to break barricades and run them over with tractors to enter the national capital, forcing police to use water cannons and tear gas.

Published : Wednesday, October 03, 2018 00:00 [IST]
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