SKM not to nominate member for govt committee unless mandate, ToR known

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Placing in the public domain its latest exchange with the government of India on the formation of a committee to discuss farmers’ issues, with a focus on Minimum Support Price (MSP), the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) said on Friday that it would not nominate anyone to the committee unless MSP is mandated and the terms of reference (ToR) for the said committee are known in advance.

The SKM, a consortium of 40-odd farmers’ organisations that had spearheaded the more than a year-long agitation against the now-repealed three farm laws, had suspended its agitation after receiving a letter from the government of India on December 9, 2021 promising the formation of a committee for farm related issues.

The SKM had observed a day of betrayal on January 31 to protest non-implementation of the government’s assurances.

The Morcha said that on March 22, SKM coordination committee member Yudhvir Singh had received a call from Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, inviting two to three names from the SKM for the committee to be formed by the government of India.

However, the SKM claimed that the verbal communication from Agarwal failed to clarify crucial details about the committee, its members, its mandate, its ToR or its procedures.

The SKM then sent a mail to him on March 25, requesting him to clarify what the ToR of the proposed committee would be; which other organisations, individuals and/or office-bearers are to be included in the committee; who will be its chairman; the time-frame for the committee to submit its report and whether the recommendations of the committee be binding on the government.

“We resent the letter on March 30. However, we have not received any communication till date,” the SKM said.

The SKM said that it expects the committee is formed on clear and agreed terms, and demanded a clarification on the details.

“Unless we are fully aware of the nature and agenda of this committee, it would not be worthwhile to participate in any such panel,” the SKM said.

Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday that the government will soon form an expert committee on Minimum Support Price (MSP) after it gets the names of nominated persons from the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.

Responding to a question in the Upper House, Tomar said that the government is committed to form the committee which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised while announcing the repeal of the three farm laws.

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