Farmers Protest: Farmers ask government for framework on MSP law in meeting


The third round of talks between the protesting farmers and three union ministers concluded without any breakthrough on the contentious minimum support price (MSP) guarantee demand.

In the meeting, which stretched late into the night on Thursday, the farmers remained steadfast in their demand for legal guarantee for MSP of their agricultural produce even though consensus was reached on a few issues.

A fourth round of meeting will be held on Sunday and farmer leaders have asked the government to come up with a framework for MSP law.

The farmers stressed that an MSP guarantee law has been pending for the past two years. The farmers also asked the government to give them an MSP guarantee for their crops until a law was implemented as per recommendations of late agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan.

MS Swaminathan, widely known as the father of the ‘Green Revolution’, had suggested raising the MSP to at least 50 per cent above the weighted average cost of production. It came to be known as the C2+50% formula, which the farmers have been demanding. It includes input cost of capital and rent on the land (called C2) to ensure farmers get 50 per cent returns.

The ministers said the government needed time to analyse the economic feasibility of the MSP guarantee law, sources said. The government, however, made it clear that it was not keen on the loan waiver demand put forward by the farmers.

The meeting was attended by Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai.

The farmers were represented by SKM (non-political) leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal and the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.

FARMERS, GOVERNMENT REACH AGREEMENT ON FEW ISSUES

The meeting saw a few positives, with the government saying that farmers were exempted from the purview of the Electricity Amendment Bill.

The farmers fear that the legislation would pave the way for complete privatisation of the power sector, and they would have to pay more for electricity.

The government also sought from the farmer organisations a list of cases filed against farmers during their 2020-21 protest.

The government said it would look into their demand for withdrawal of these cases and underscored that several such cases have already been revoked by state governments.

Moreover, the case related to violence at the Red Fort during a tractor rally taken out by the farmers on Republic Day in 2021 has been kept away from the present talks between the farmers and the ministers.

Published By:

Abhishek De

Published On:

Feb 16, 2024



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