Vastavam web: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party said on Tuesday there was no question of the government repealing agriculture laws fiercely opposed by farmers who are worried deregulation will reduce their incomes. Tens of thousands of protesters have camped out on the outskirts of New Delhi and blocked national highways for over three weeks to protest against India’s biggest farm reforms in decades. The government says the laws enacted by parliament in September would increase farmers’ income through more private investments.
Earlier in the day, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar appealed to the protesting farmers to hold further talks. “We assure our farmers that we’ll listen to them with an open mind,” Tomar told foreign journalists. The government has offered to amend the laws, including by giving a written assurance that the farmers will continue to get a guaranteed minimum price for grains, including rice and wheat at state-controlled wholesale markets. The growers, however, want the laws scrapped.
Urging India’s diaspora to help the government to convince farmers, Tomar said the policy changes would make agriculture more attractive for farmers. The protesters have received support from overseas Indians mainly from the state of Punjab, who have organised demonstrations in Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States.