Centre Forms 'MSP Committee' As Promised; Sanyukt Kisan Morcha Rejects Joining It
The SKM rejected joining the committee saying there is no mention of making a law on MSP on the agenda.
Government notifications says the committee will provide “suggestions to make available MSP to farmers of the country by making the system more effective and transparent".
The central government formed an MSP Committee on Monday (18 July), but a day after, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) rejected joining it.
The committee was formed on the basis of a promise that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made in November last year while announcing the repeal of three farm laws.
The committee was expected to discuss the protesting farmers' demand for a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP), but the government's notification said it is to "promote zero-budget based farming" and to make the MSP more "effective and transparent".
The SKM rejected it saying there is no mention of making a law on MSP on the committee's agenda, and 'so-called farmer leaders' who supported the now-repealed farm laws are its members.
In its official statement, the SKM alleged that the government has included five of its 'loyalists', who openly advocated the three 'anti-farmer' laws, in the committee and all of them are either directly associated with the BJP-RSS or support their policies.
The joint statement issued by five SKM leaders said, "These five people spoke openly in favour of all three anti-farmer laws and most of them have been spewing venom against the farmers' movement."
The SKM leaders said that the struggle for the legal guarantee of MSP to ensure fair price for the crop to the farmers will continue, but the terms of reference of the committee do not mention any legal guarantee on MSP.
According to the notification, the committee will provide "suggestions to make available MSP to farmers of the country by making the system more effective and transparent" and will also give suggestions on "practicality to give more autonomy to Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and measures to make it more scientific."
Another allegation is that in the name of reforms in agricultural marketing, an item has been inserted through which the government can try to bring back the three farm laws.
The notification says that the committee will recommend measures to "strengthen the Agricultural Marketing System as per the changing requirements of the country to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic and export opportunities."
According to the SKM, it had unanimously decided in its national meeting on 3 July that unless the government clarifies the jurisdiction and terms of reference of this committee, there is no point in nominating a representative of the SKM to the panel.
"There is no representation from Punjab in the committee. This committee formed by the centre does not talk about ensuring the legal rights of farmers. This committee lacks this virtue and looks bogus," senior SKM member Darshan Pal said.
The committee is headed by former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal and has 26 members, including five central government secretaries and chief secretaries of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha.
Among farmers' representatives, the panel has national award-winning farmer-educator- Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, three members from SKM, and five members from other farmer organisations that include Gunwant Patil, Krishnaveer Choudhary, Pramod Kumar Choudhary, Guni Prakash and Sayyed Pasha Patel.
The panel comprise Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand, agri-economists CSC Shekhar from the Indian Institute of Economic Development and Sukhpal Singh from IIM-Ahmedabad and senior member of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) Naveen P Singh.
Two members of the farmers' cooperative, IFFCO Chairman Dilip Sanghani and CNRI General Secretary Binod Anand and senior members of agricultural universities are included in the panel.
(With inputs from PTI)
Also Read: MSP crops are no longer the mainstay of agri sector, and that merits a dynamic policy response
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