Expert panel to meet farm groups on Thursday

The SC-appointed committee of experts tasked with the job of engaging protesting farm groups and other stakeholders at its meeting today decided to hold its first meeting with the stakeholders on Thursday.

The committee at its meeting today also discussed the roadmap of activities for the two months to prepare their recommendations after discussion with farmers, farmers’ bodies, farmers’ unions and other stakeholders. 
The committee tasked with bringing together the government and a loby of recalcitrant farm groups supported by opposition partities and other active groups, has said te discussions will be based on the new farm laws and not about scrapping them.
The experts committee meeting was attended by former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices Ashok Gulati, Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil Ghanwat and former director for South Asia of International Food Policy Research Institute Pramod Joshi.
Later, addressing the media, Anil Ghanwat said as per the direction of the Supreme Court, the committee will hold discussion with farmers and farmers’ bodies in the country who are both pro and against the farm laws. The committee will also hold discussions with state governments, state marketing boards and other stakeholders such as farmer producer organisations, cooperatives, etc. 
Ghanwat said the first round of consultations with farmers and other stakeholders had been scheduled for Thursday. Nine rounds of talks have taken place between the government and agitating unions without any concrete resolution so far.
The committee will soon send invitations to the farmers unions and associations to discuss their views on farm laws. Even individual farmer can submit his/her views on the portal to be notified soon.
The committee said it is keen to understand the opinion on the subject of all concerned so that it can give suggestions which will definitely be in the interests of the farmers of India.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since 28 November, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price system for their crops.
Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.