MSP committee after Assembly polls in 5 states, govt tells Rajya Sabha

The committee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) will be formed after the Assembly polls are over in five states, the government told Rajya Sabha on Friday.

“At present, in view of the Assembly elections in some states, the process of concurrence of Election Commission for the formation of committee is under progress,” Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar told the House.

Tomar was replying to a question by Member of Parliament Sukhram Singh Yadav on the ‘Legal Guarantee of MSP’.

The Committee on MSP was one of the things that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised when he withdrew the three contentious farm laws last year. The more than a year-long agitation by the farmers under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) had demanded legalising MSP along with many other things.

The government had even sought names from the agitating farmers to be part of the Committee. However, by the time the elections were announced for the five state assemblies, whereby the Model Code of Conduct came into effect. The government had not announced any Committee.

While presenting the Budget 2022-23 on February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said: “The procurement of wheat in Rabi 2021-22 and the estimated procurement of paddy in Kharif 2021-22 will cover 1,208 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of wheat and paddy from 163 lakh farmers. A whopping Rs 2.37 lakh crore will be credited as direct payment of minimum support price (MSP) value to their accounts.”

However, even when the government has assured a massive increase in MSP, the demand from the agitating farmers remains unfulfilled – that MSP should have a legal backing for all farmers.

The SKM had on, January 31, said: “The government of India continues with its falsehoods related to the current MSP (announcement) regime, and the cost concept is being used for announcing such MSPs with the Economic Survey report 2021-22. The cost concept being used continues to be 2+Family Labour, ignoring C2 cost of production, denying farmers their true entitlement.”

“It is also a false claim that crop diversification has happened with the empty promises of meagre MSPs being declared – however, farmers do know that such a diversification is indeed possible if MSP is legally guaranteed as an entitlement for all crops including oilseeds, millets, and pulses. That is one of the key reasons that SKM also demands a legally guaranteed MSP,”it added.

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