Home WORLD NEWS SKM rejects government’s committee on MSP, decides not to send its representatives to the panel

SKM rejects government’s committee on MSP, decides not to send its representatives to the panel

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NEW DELHI: The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (

SKM

) – umbrella body of farmer unions that spearheaded the protests against the now repealed farm laws – on Tuesday rejected the government’s

committee

on minimum support price (MSP) and other issues saying there is no scope to discuss the

MSP

law in it even as agriculture minister Narendra Singh

Tomar

told Lok Sabha that the Centre had not assured the Morcha for the constitution of a panel to provide legal guarantee of MSP.

The Morcha also decided not to nominate its three representatives in the committee, and said its struggle for the legal guarantee of MSP to ensure fair price for the crop to the farmers would continue as there is no mention of making a law on MSP in the agenda of the panel.

It also pointed out that the Committee included five government’s loyalists (representatives of other farmer organisations) who openly advocated all three anti-farmer laws, and most of them have been spewing venom against the farmers’ movement.

“All the doubts of SKM about this Committee have come true with the notification issued by the government. Obviously, there is no rationale for sending representatives of the Morcha to such an anti-farmer and meaningless committee,” said a joint statement of SKM leaders including Darshan Pal, Hannan Mollah, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Yudhveer Singh and

Yogendra Yadav

.

The Morcha’s formal reaction, rejecting the panel, comes a day after the agriculture ministry published its notification on a 29-member body headed by agriculture secretary Sanjay Agrawal to suggest measures to make MSP available to farmers across the country, promote natural farming and prepare a comprehensive strategy for crop diversification.

Responding to a parliament question whether the government had assured the SKM for the constitution of a committee to provide legal guarantee of MSP to farmers, Tomar in his written response on Tuesday categorically denied any such assurance, and said, “The government had assured the formation of a Committee to make MSP more effective and transparent, to promote natural farming and to change crop pattern keeping in mind the changing needs of the country.

“Accordingly, a Committee has been constituted consisting of representatives of farmers, central government, state governments, agricultural economists & scientists, etc.”.

The SKM, however, said the government has tried to complete the paperwork by announcing this committee before the Parliament session. It argued that the ministry did not respond to any of its five questions before forming the panel. Its questiones pertained to terms of reference, composition, timeframe and chairperson of the panel, besides whether the recommendation of the committee be binding on the government.

Referring to the five farmer representatives of different farmer groups who joined the panel, the SKM said, “All these people are either directly associated with BJP-RSS or support their policy. Krishnaveer Choudhary is associated with the Indian Farmers’ Society and is a leader of the BJP. Sayyed Pasha Patel is a former BJP MLC from Maharashtra.

“Pramod Kumar Choudhary is a member of the national executive of the RSS affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. Gunwant Patil, associated with the Shetkari organization, is a WTO advocate and general secretary of the Swatantra Bharat Paksh Party. Guni Prakash (of Haryana) has been a pioneer in opposing the farmers’ movement.”

The agriculture ministry that notified the panel on MSP spoke about making the system more “effective and transparent” and strengthening the “agricultural marketing system” — a point which, in a way, will discuss and suggest how to bring reforms in the sector which was one of the key objectives of the repealed farm laws.

Referring to this point, the SKM said, “In the name of reforms in agricultural marketing, an item has been inserted through which the government can try to bring back three black laws.”

Subject matter of the committee:

MSP

1. Suggestions to make available MSP to farmers of the country by making the system more effective and transparent.

2. Suggestions on practicality to give more autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and measures to make it more scientific.

3. 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.

Natural Farming

1. Suggestions for programmes and schemes for value chain development, protocol validation & research for future needs and support for area expansion under the Indian Natural Farming System by publicity and through involvement and contribution of farmer organizations.

2. To suggest strategies for making Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) and other Research & Development institutions as knowledge centres, and introduction of natural farming system curriculum and skill development courses in the Universities & other educational Institutions.

3. To suggest farmer friendly alternative certification systems and marketing systems for natural farming processes and products.

4. To suggest methods and means for international coordination to strengthen the value chain development of natural farming.

5. Chain of laboratories for organic certification of products produced through natural farming.

Crop Diversification

1. Mapping of existing cropping patterns of agro-ecological zones of producer and consumer states.

2. Strategy for diversification policy to change the cropping pattern according to the changing needs of the country.

3. Arrangement for agricultural diversification & system to ensure remunerative prices for the sale of new crops.

4. Review and suggestion on micro irrigation scheme.

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