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Supreme Court-appointed panel on farm laws to hold first meeting on Tuesday

The Supreme Court-appointed committee to scrutinise three new farm laws is scheduled to hold its first meeting with members on Tuesday. The meeting will take place at Pusa campus in New Delhi, its member Anil Ghanwat said on Monday.

“We are going to meet tomorrow. Only members will meet to discuss the terms of reference and decide the future course of action,” Ghanwat told news agency PTI before boarding a flight to Delhi yesterday.

Ghanwat leads the Shetkari Sangathan, a farm organisation from Maharashtra that advocates pro-technology and pro-reform agricultural policies.

The Supreme Court had on January 12 stayed the implementation of the three laws, against which farmers are protesting at Delhi borders for over 50 days now, till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Bhupinder Singh Mann, however, recused himself from the four-member committee last week. Ghanwat said it was up to the Supreme Court to appoint a member in place of Mann.

Apart from Ghanwat, agri-economists Ashok Gulati and Pramod Kumar Joshi are the other members of the panel.

The panel will hear views of farmers across the country, both who support and oppose the new farm laws, and submit a report within two months to the apex court.

According to the Supreme Court’s instructions, the committee had to meet within 10 days of its constitution and submit a report to the apex court in two months.

The protesting farmers have said that they won’t appear before the committee as all its members had previously publicly praised the laws that they want scrapped.

So far, nine rounds of talks have been held between the government and the protesters, but no solution has emerged to end the impasse. The 10th round of talks was on Monday pushed back by a day to January 20, with the Centre saying both sides want to resolve the stalemate at the earliest but it was getting delayed due to involvement of people of other ideologies.

Farmers want the three farm laws repealed but the government has rejected the demand. The farmers say that the pro-reform farm laws will hurt their livelihoods, but the government has asserted that the new laws are in the interest of the farming community.

The laws in question are the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

By Hindustan Times

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