Govt says ‘no’ to question on compensation to families of farmers who died during protest

New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday replied in the negative when asked in the Lok Sabha if the government proposes to give compensation to the families of farmers who have died during the ongoing agitation against new farm laws.

 The minister was replying to a written question by several Lok Sabha MPs related to dialogue with farmer organisations.

 Tomar said some of the farmers’ unions and their members have been agitating against the newly-enacted farm laws.

 When asked specifically if the government was aware that a “number of farmer protesters have died or fallen ill” while agitating, Tomar said the government during discussion with these farmers’ unions “appealed many times that children and elders including women should be requested to go home in view of the cold and COVID situation and other hardships.” 

 On whether the government proposes to give compensation to the families of the farmers who have died during the agitation, the minister replied: “No Sir”.

 Tomar informed the Lower House that the government is negotiating with the farmer unions.

 “So far, 11 rounds of meetings have been held between the government and agitating farmers’ unions to resolve the issues. Government had put forth one proposal after another to amend the farm laws,” he said.

 Tomar said the demands of agitating farmer unions were related to the three farm Acts — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement On Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

 The recent farm reform laws’ implementation has been stayed at present by the Supreme Court, he added.

 Tomar also shared the dates of the 11 rounds of meetings.

 The first round was held on October 14, followed by November 13, December 1, December 3, December 5, December 30, January 4, 2021, January 8, January 15, January 20 and the eleventh round was held on January 22 this year.

 Tomar also said the government does not have any proposal to end the minimum support price (MSP) system.

 Separately, similar questions related to deaths of farmers during the protest were asked by Lok Sabha MPs to the Home Ministry.

 In his written reply, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said police and public order are state subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.

 “The responsibilities of maintaining law and order, including investigation, registration/prosecution of crimes, conviction of accused, protection of life and property etc. rests primarily with the respective State Governments.

 “Central Government keeps a constant watch on activities of individuals and organisations having bearing on national security and public order through its security and law enforcement agencies. Requisite action is taken as per law, whenever necessary,” Rai said.

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