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Govt ready to give written assurance on MSP, changes in farm laws

Thousands of protesters have blocked Delhi borders at five points connecting it to Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, crippling supply chains to the national capital.

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New Delhi, Dec 5 : With the fifth round of talks between the Centre and farmer leader set to begin on Saturday afternoon, the Union government is learnt to have decided to give a written assurance on MSP, and also agree to amend the contentious three new farm laws enacted in September.

As per sources privy to the developments, the government has decided to accept the farmers’ demand for written assurance on Minimum Support Price (MSP) by an “executive order and not by legislation”.

The development comes after a high-level meeting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence here this morning, in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar participated.

After over one-and-half hours meeting with the Prime Minister, the source said, the government may accept to effect amendments to the farm laws that farmers dub as “black” and “anti-farmer”.

The laws are The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The decision was taken after four earlier talks between the Centre and farmer representatives here in the national capital remained inconclusive.

The fifth round of talks will start at 2 pm at Vigyan Bhavan in central Delhi. A group of nearly three dozen farmer leaders will participate in the meeting. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal will join the meeting.

The farmers had put out a five-point demands that include framing of a specific law on MSP, no punishment for stubble-burning, repeal of the three farm laws, settlement of objections about proposed Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2020 and written assurance on MSP.

The farmer union representatives in earlier talks had rejected the government’s argument that the three farm laws were in the interest of farmers, saying the laws will only benefit big business and corporate houses.

Giving an example of sugarcane procurement, the farmers’ organisations had also objected to contract farming and pointed out its drawbacks.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Sanyukt Morcha and Krantikari Kisan Union are among more than 34 farm unions which have demanded a special session of Parliament to frame a law on MSP as well as repeal of the farm laws.

Thousands of protesters have blocked Delhi borders at five points connecting it to Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, crippling supply chains to the national capital.

India

Centre convenes all-party meet on Jan 30 ahead of Budget session

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Parliament

The Modi government has called an all-party meeting on January 30 to hold discussions ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament on February 1.

The Centre has invited leaders of all political parties in both the Houses to the proposed meeting slated to begin at 11.30 am through videoconference. Sources said the National Democratic Alliance parties too will meet on the same day.

Parliament’s Budget session will be held in two phseses amid all precautions against coronavirus — from January 29 to February 15, and from March 8 to April 8.

The all-party meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP’s Rajya Sabha leader Thawarchand Gehlot, Deputy Leader Piyush Goyal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muralitharan.The one-hour Question Hour has been restored in the Budget session, which was suspended during the Monsoon session in September 2020 during corona pandemic.Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Tuesday that corona tests for members att

ending the Parliament session will be mandatory.

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India

Right to salary a fundamental right: Delhi HC

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Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Jan 20 : The Delhi High Court has pulled up the municipal corporations for the non-payment of salaries and pensions to their employees, noting that paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and that right to receive pay is a fundamental right enshrined under the Constitution of India.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a batch of petitions in relation to the non-payment of salaries and pensions to the employees of Delhi municipal corporations, particularly North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NrDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

“Reason assigned for non-payment of timely salaries is stated to be paucity of funds which, as is well settled, cannot be an excuse for non-payment, keeping in view the fact that the right to receive salary and pension is a fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of Constitution and non-payment would have direct bearing on quality of life,” the court stated.

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NCP should decide on poll alliance soon: Goa leader

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Sharad Pawar

The Nationalist Congress Party should decide its political strategy for the 2022 Assembly polls in Goa well ahead of time, NCP state president Jose Philip D’Souza said on Wednesday.

D’Souza also said that party supremo Sharad Pawar was scheduled to arrive in Goa on Wednesday for a brief visit to meet with the state executive committee members and discuss strategy for the upcoming polls.

“We will be discussing our electoral agenda with Sharad Pawarji, because elections are just a year away,” D’Souza said.

“Planning should be done in advance. If like minded parties want to go together for the 2022 elections, it has to be decided now. We will be discussing this issue,” D’Souza also said.
The party had fared poorly in the 2017 Assembly polls winning just one seat in the 40-member Goa Assembly, after much delayed talks for an alliance with the Congress failed.

D’Souza claims that it was imperative for the party to ensure that if the party was to ally with a “like-minded” party for the 2022 polls, the deal had to be sewn together sooner rather than later.

“Whether we should go with an alliance with other parties or not, it has to be decided now. If we leave it for too late, with a month or two to go for elections, then there is limited scope for discussion and things can go wrong. The talks should begin now,” D’Souza said, adding that he would be discussing the matter with Pawar.

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