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PM forms panel to address agitating farmers demands

To address concers of farmers who have been agitating in the capital for two days, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh formed a ministerial panel which will discuss impact of retail FDI and minimum support prices among other things.



New Delhi: To address concers of farmers who have been agitating in the capital for two days, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today formed a ministerial panel which will discuss impact of retail FDI and minimum support prices among other things.

The committee of six ministers headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has decided to take up only 3-4 main issues, including impact of retail FDI, out of various demands of protesting farmers` bodies Bharatiya Kisan Union, Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers` Movement and National Alliance of People`s Movements.

The farmers have been protesting for last two days here. "They (farmers` bodies) have suggested several things. Basically, there are three issues -- FDI in retail, free trade agreements and minimum support price -- which we should discuss further across the table," Pawar told reporters after the panel`s meeting.

Farmers have reservation about the impact of retail FDI on the agriculture sector, the way cost of production of farm items is decided and also the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on farmers, Pawar said.

A separate committee, comprising officials and one-two farmers representatives, will be formed to discuss these three demands, he added.

On land acquisition issue, Pawar said that farmers will discuss that separately with Rural Development Minister.
Rural Development Minister Jayaram Ramesh, Food Minister K V Thomas, Minister of State for Fertiliser Srikant Kumar Jena, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narayan Meena and Minister of State for Commerce Daggubati Purandeswari were also present in the meeting.
Farmers` bodies have raised several demands including no land acquisition, no genetically modified crops, setting up of farmers` income commission, measures to end farm suicides among others.

PTI

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