The Supreme Court-appointed panel on the three farm laws has completed its series of meetings and consultations with various stakeholders and is now drafting its final report which it aims to submit to the country’s apex court on or by March 20, a source has confirmed. As of now, the panel is unlikely to seek an extension of its tenure.
The panel was reduced to three members after Bhupinder Singh Mann of the BKU (Mann) recused himself just after two days of the formation of the panel. With the top court not appointing a fourth member to take his place, it is Dr Ashok Gulati, Dr Pramod Joshi and Anil Ghanwat of the Shetkari Sangathana who have been holding consultations.
The expert panel held its first meeting via video conferencing on January 19 in the NASC complex, PUSA. The last meeting was held on February 23 when the panel had met the office-bearers of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC) and had asked for the latter’s detailed opinion on the three farm laws. On February 18, representatives of the government of India appeared before the panel and gave their detailed opinion on the three farm laws. Among others, Secretary, Agriculture, Chairman, CACP, additional and joint secretaries, Department of Consumer Affairs, Managing Director, NAFED, Chairman and MD, NABARD, Advisor, FCI participated in the proceedings. Apart from central government representatives, the panel has also met state government representatives from 18 states and UTs.
The SC panel has met eminent professionals and academics working in the agriculture sector, representatives of agribusiness, industry bodies such as CII and FICCI, farmers and farmer unions from eight states.
However, protesting farmer unions of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, which is spearheading the over three-month-long protests across the borders of Delhi, have boycotted the panel preferring a ‘political’ solution to the current stand-off between them and the government of India.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has maintained that talks with the protesting farmer unions can resume once the latter re-think on the GOI’s last offer, which included putting the implementation of the laws on hold for 18 months and communicate the same to the government. The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, on its part, has ruled out a re-think and has insisted on complete repeal of the three laws.