Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda said there is no immediate plan to resume the dialogue with protesting farmers, who are set to announce their next course of action on Thursday. Talks between the Centre and farmers ended inconclusive after four rounds. However, the Minister said the Government would find a solution to the demands raised by the farmers.

Asked on the sidelines when the Government would start the talks with protesting farmers, Munda said: “Abhi nahin (not now).”

On the other hand, farmer leaders are likely to announce their next course of action on Thursday after they suspended their protest march until February 28 following the death of a 24-year-old farmer allegedly due to firing by Haryana police. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann announced a compensation of ₹1 crore to the family of the deceased farmer.

Meetings between farmer leaders continued till late evening. Abhimanyu Kohar, a farmer leader, told businessline that a public announcement on the next course of action is likely to be made on Thursday at a press conference. He said the leaders have not yet received any invitation from the Government for the next round of talks.

Centre highlights its achievement

Meanwhile, the Centre has been mobilising the support of the farmers on the strength of the work it has done for the agriculture sector. Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said the Narendra Modi government is committed to the welfare of farmers and till now more than ₹3-lakh crore has been transferred directly to their bank accounts under the ‘PM Kisan Samman Nidhi’ scheme.

Under the scheme, an income support of ₹6,000 per year in three equal installments is transferred to land owning farmers, with some exclusion criteria.

The Centre has already rolled out a scheme of guaranteed procurement of tur and maize under MSP. It is likely to extend to other crops even as farmer leaders have rejected its proposal for a five-year procurement plan under MSP for five crops- tur, urad, masur, maize and cotton.

Farmers’ demand

Farmers have been demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendation for fixing minimum support prices (MSPs) at 50 per cent over and above C2 (comprehensive) costs of production (including imputed costs of own land), and a law to guarantee purchase of crops at MSP. Other demands include unconditional pension for farmers above 60 years of age, and farmers should be made completely debt-free.

Initially the “Delhi Chalo” march was called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (non-political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha of Punjab. After the the death of the farmer, all other groups have lent support to the protest. It was the government which proposed the date and time of the last four rounds, but it is tight lipped this time after the rejection of its proposals.

Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra last week said probably the Centre could not communicate effectively with the farmer leaders on its proposals, which got rejected by them. But he expressed confidence that the protest will be resolved soon, before commencement of wheat procurement.