Round 11: Will not agree to anything other than repeal of the laws: Farmer unions tell Modi govt

News Network
January 22, 2021

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New Delhi, Jan 22: Farmer unions on Friday told the government they want a complete repeal of three contentious farm laws even as the Centre asked them to reconsider its proposal for putting the Acts on hold for 12-18 months, as the two sides met for their 11th round of talks to resolve the nearly-two-month long deadlock.

In the last round of meetings held on Wednesday, the government had offered to put on hold the three laws and set up a joint committee to find solutions. However, after internal consultations on Thursday, the farmer unions decided to reject the offer and stick to their two major demands -- the repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP).

"We told the government that we will not agree to anything other than the repeal of the laws. But the minister asked us to discuss separately again and rethink on the matter and convey the decision," farmer leader Darshan Pal told PTI during a break after the first session.

BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said: "We conveyed our position clearly to the government that we want a repeal of the laws and not a suspension. The minister (Narendra Singh Tomar) asked us to reconsider our decision."

Tikait said the farmer leaders are discussing internally on this issue.

"After the lunch break, we will convey our decision," he added.

The eleventh round of talks between protesting farmer unions and three central ministers began at around 1 pm, but not much headway was visible in the first few hours of the meeting.

Some leaders had apprehensions that the movement will lose its momentum once the farmers go away from Delhi borders.

Harpal Singh, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union -- Asli Arajnaitik (Real Apolitical), said, "Even if we accept the government's offer, our fellow brothers sitting at Delhi borders will not accept anything other than a repeal of the laws. They will not spare us. What achievement will we show to them?"

He also questioned the government's credibility, alleging it was difficult to believe that they will keep their word on putting the laws on hold for 18 months.

"We will die here but we will not return without getting the laws repealed," Singh said.

Along with Union Agriculture Minister Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash are also participating in the talks with representatives of 41 farmer unions at the Vigyan Bhawan here.

In a full general body meeting on Thursday, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of the protesting unions, rejected the government's proposal.

"A full repeal of three central farm Acts and enacting a legislation for remunerative MSP for all farmers were reiterated as the pending demands of the movement," the Morcha said in a statement.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi for over a month now against the three laws.

Farmer groups have alleged these laws will end the mandi and MSP procurement systems and leave the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, even as the government has rejected these apprehensions as misplaced.

On January 11, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the three laws till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse. Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann had recused himself from the committee appointed by the apex court.

Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) president Anil Ghanwat and agriculture economists Pramod Kumar Joshi and Ashok Gulati, the other three members on the panel, started the consultation process with stakeholders on Thursday.

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Agencies
February 23,2021

Petrol price down by ₹12 in 2 months. Today's petrol, diesel price in top  cities

New Delhi, Feb 23: The petrol and diesel prices across the country continued their northward march after two days break taking its retail rates to unprecedented levels while burning bigger holes in the consumers pockets.

The oil marketing companies raised the pump price of both petrol and diesel by 35 paisa per litre on Tuesday.

With this, petrol is now priced at Rs 90.93 a litre and diesel Rs 81.32 a litre in the capital.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel price increased between 32-40 paisa per litre depending on the level of local duty at the state level.

Sources in OMCs said that price rise on Tuesday followed movement in product price in global markets. The crude oil is also on fire with benchmark Brent crude gaining over 2 per cent on Tuesday to reach closer to $67 a barrel now. It was less than $60 a barrel just a few days back.

Petrol and diesel prices have been rising continuously since February 9. During this phase of price rise (In the last 12 days since February 9), the price has gone up by Rs 3.63 per litre for petrol while diesel rate has risen by Rs 3.84 a litre in Delhi.

The increase in the previous weeks has taken petrol price across historic high levels of Rs 100 a litre in several cities across the country.

In Mumbai, petrol prices is just Rs 3 per litre short (Rs 97.34 a litre) of touching the three digit mark for the very first time ever. Diesel prices in the city is closing in on Rs 90 a litre (Rs 88.44/ litre).

In all other metros, petrol is over Rs 90 a litre while diesel is well over Rs 80 a litre. Premium petrol crossed Rs 100 per litre mark in several cities of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra a few days back.

Since fuel prices are benchmarked to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products' prices and dollar exchange rate, pump prices can be expected to remain northbound over the next few days even if crude price stabilises.

The petrol and diesel prices have increased 25 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.22 and Rs 7.45 per litre, respectively so far this year.

Oil companies executives said that petrol and diesel prices may increase further in coming days as retail prices may have to be balanced in line with global developments to prevent OMCs from making loss on sale of auto fuels.

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Agencies
February 15,2021

New Delhi, Feb 15: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and WhatsApp over the privacy policy update of the messaging platform. 

The top court said that the matter will be heard after 4 weeks.

The Supreme Court was hearing an application seeking directions to WhatsApp that it shall not apply lower privacy standards for Indian users and shall apply the same privacy policy and terms of use for Indian users as for users in Europe. 

The top court said that people have grave apprehensions that they will lose their privacy, and it is our duty to protect them.

The apex court said people value their privacy more than the value of the company which might be in trillions.

WhatsApp told the top court that Europe has a special law on privacy and it will also follow if India has a similar statute. 

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Agencies
February 20,2021

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Indore, Feb 20: Ujjain-based doctor Krati Jain became the first woman in Madhya Pradesh to be felicitated with 13 gold medals and one silver medal for topping in medical studies.

She had received eight gold medals and one silver medal from Governor Anandiben Patel at her convocation ceremony at Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya on Friday.

Dr Krati, who hails from the Ujjain district, had completed her MBBS in 2018 from Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College, which is among the three collages that come under Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore. She had topped in all three colleges.

Speaking to ANI, Dr Krati said: "Today I am very happy to receive these eight gold medals and one silver medal for becoming an overall MBBS topper of the university and all subject topper in the final year. I received five gold medals earlier in every year of the course."

"MBBS is a tough course but I had the support of my parents and the guidance of my teachers. On top of that medical was my primary interest that is why I was able to focus more. I have completed my graduation degree in 2018 and I am now pursuing a Master's degree in Radiology," she said.

Advising the students who could not focus on the studies, Dr Krati said that studying your favourite subject more can reduce stress and boredom.

"The more time you spend studying your favourite subject, the more you will be interested and you will be able to understand the subject in a better way," she added.

Apart from the State Governor, Higher Education Minister Mohan Yadav was also present at the convocation event.

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