India ministers, farmers unions to hold talks hoping to end protests

February 16, 2024 4:33 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Farmers unions in India will hold talks with government ministers on Thursday, a union leader said, after two days of protests demanding higher prices for their crops.

Police have used tear gas and barricades to stop thousands of farmers from marching to the capital New Delhi to press their demands that the government set a minimum price for all their produce to ensure they can sustain their livelihood.

Farmers form an influential voting bloc, and the protests come a few months before national elections in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to win a third term.

Article continues after advertisement

Sarvan Singh Pandher, general secretary of one of the unions leading the protests, the Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, said the farmers would hold talks with Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai.

“We are going to the meeting in a completely positive mood and with complete faith that some solution will be found,” Pandher told news agency ANI, in which Reuters has a minority stake.

The meeting will be the third between the unions and the government this month. Earlier talks failed to secure a government commitment to provide support prices, which spurred the farmers to go ahead with their “Delhi Chalo”, or “Let’s go to Delhi”, march.