Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday he sees the ongoing talks with the farmers protesting against the three farm laws as an opportunity to explain the benefits of the reforms to them. Goyal’s comments came ahead of the eighth round of discussion between the Centre and the farmers’ groups on Friday after the previous round of meeting held on January 4 did not yield any solution.
Goyal said there were different viewpoints to look at things and cited the example of discussions with farmer groups, which he said could be viewed as either as a problem or as an opportunity. “When I go along with agriculture minister Tomar for discussions with farmer unions, should I see that as a problem for myself or as an opportunity that I am getting,” Goyal said while addressing the 74th foundation day of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
Goyal, along with Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union minister of state for commerce and industry Som Parkash, has been representing the government over the negotiations regarding the new farm reforms.
The minister reiterated the Centre’s point that the reforms were in the interest of the farmers and the entire country and that India would benefit if their income increased. “I tell them that the entire country will benefit if farmers’ income increases and their lives, as well as the lives of their children, will get better,” he said.
Ahead of Friday’s meeting, agriculture minister Tomar said that the farmers’ unions and the government would be able to settle differences regarding the reforms adding that the government has met the supporters and opposers of the reforms. “We are committed to the welfare of farmers. We meet those who are supporting the laws and those opposing it. I am sure that farmers’ unions, who are agitating, will think about the welfare of farmers and actively arrive at a solution,” the minister told news agency ANI.
On the other hand, several farmer groups, who have been camping at border points near Delhi, asserted that they will intensify their agitation. Representatives of the farmer groups added that the protesters would take out a tractor march from the following protest sites- Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur, Shahjahanpur (Haryana-Rajasthan border) and the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway (KMP) on Thursday.
(With agency inputs)