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Indian government offers concessions as farmers intensify protests

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A policeman stands in front of protestors wielding placards while blocking a highway during a nationwide general strike called by farmers to protest against the recent agricultural reforms in Mumbai on December 8, 2020. (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)

India’s government is open to amendingsome provisions in new farm laws, the agriculture minister saidon Thursday, after farmers rejected proposed changes to thecontroversial laws they said would harm their interests and helpbig food retailers.
Farmers have been demonstrating since late last month overreforms enacted in September that loosened rules around thesale, pricing and storage of farm produce, which had protectedfarmers from an unfettered free market for decades.
“The government is open to amend objectionable provisions inthe new laws,” Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters, adding thecurrent system of procurement that ensures state-set prices forcrops would continue.