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Indian government to meet protesting farmers again on Saturday as talks continue

Reuters | Delhi | Updated: 04-12-2020 03:04 IST | Created: 04-12-2020 03:04 IST
Indian government to meet protesting farmers again on Saturday as talks continue
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

The fourth round of talks between the Indian government and 40 farmers' unions over divisive farm laws failed to make headway on Thursday (December 3) but a cabinet minister said they would continue discussions on Saturday (December 5).

In India's biggest farm unrest in years, tens of thousands of growers are protesting on the outskirts of the capital Delhi against the laws seeking to rid the sector of antiquated procurement procedures and allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big international retailers.

The farmers, who form a powerful political constituency, fear the laws passed in September could see the government stop buying grains at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.

India's Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said Thursday's talks, which lasted seven hours, were cordial and the government was sympathetic.

He added the government would continue the guaranteed price system, but farm leaders have previously sought a written assurance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has defended the new laws, and said they only give an option to farmers to sell to private buyers.

Still, the protests pose a crucial test for Modi's ability to reform India's vast agriculture sector, which makes up nearly 15% of the country's $2.9 trillion economy and employs around half of its 1.3 billion people.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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