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Farmers' protest: Always willing to listen to farmers, govt open for dialogue, says Rajnath Singh

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New Delhi, Dec 14: Union Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday reached out to protesting farmers saying that the government is open for dialogue and discussion with the farmers.

Farmers protest: Always willing to listen to farmers, govt open for dialogue, says Rajnath Singh

Addressing the annual convention of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Singh said the government is "always willing to listen to our farmer brothers".

"There is no question of taking retrograde steps against our agricultural sector ever. The recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of India's farmers in mind," the union minister said.

Singh added, "We are, however, always willing to listen to our farmer brothers, allay their misgivings and provide them with assurances we can provide. Our government is always open to discussion and dialogue."

Leaders of agitating farmer unions are holding a one-day hunger strike from 8 am to 5 pm today.

At least five rounds of formal talks have taken place between the Centre and the representatives of thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, but the deadlock has continued with the unions sticking to their main demand for a repeal of the three contentious laws and repeatedly rejecting the government's offer to make certain changes in the legislations and give written assurances or clarifications on a few issues such as the minimum support price (MSP) and the "mandi" (wholesale market) system.

The sixth round of talks did not take place after farmer leaders rejected the government's draft proposal to amend certain provisions of the farm laws and declined to participate in the meeting.

The government will soon decide a date and call union leaders for the next round of talks.

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