Highlights

  • Samyukta Kisan Morcha rejected Centre's MSP panel
  • Accused govt of including “so-called farmer leaders” who supported the now-repealed farm laws as members
  • Panel formed 8 months after making the promise

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Why farmers' union umbrella body SKM rejected Centre's MSP panel?

As per the Agriculture Ministry’s gazette notification, the panel will comprise NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand, who had said that the repeal of the three farm laws is a ‘setback’ to higher price realisation by cultivators.

A day after the Centre formed a committee on Minimum Support Price (MSP), the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions rejected it for having “so-called farmer leaders” who supported the now-repealed farm laws as its members.

The committee was finally formed on Monday, eight months after the central government had promised to set up such a panel while withdrawing the three contentious farm laws that saw nationwide protests by farmers with thousands of them camping at Delhi borders for over a year. The committee has been tasked with finding ways to make MSP available to farmers more effectively and transparently while making it a legal guarantee.

“Today, we held a meeting of non-political leaders of Samyukta Kisan Morcha. All leaders rejected the government’s panel. The government has inducted so-called farmer leaders in the panel who didn’t have anything to do with our agitation against the three farm laws at the Delhi borders,” said farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar.

SKM further accused the government of including people from the corporate sector in the MSP panel.

As per the Agriculture Ministry’s gazette notification, the panel will comprise NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand, who has in the past expressed his disagreement with the repeal of three farm laws which according to him is a ‘setback’ to higher price realisation by cultivators.

On legalisation of MSP, he had said in a 2021 interview to Livemint, "Legalizing MSPs spells doom for the crops market and implies takeover of trade by government. Such interventions are fiscally ruinous. It will also kill the entrepreneurial skill of our innovative farmers, robbing them of opportunities to take advantage of emerging demand patterns."

Other members in the panel include agri-economists CSC Shekhar from the Indian Institute of Economic Development, Sukhpal Singh from IIM- Ahmedabad, and senior member of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) Naveen P Singh.

Among farmers’ representatives, the committee will have national award-winning farmer 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.

Two members of the farmers’ cooperative, IFFCO Chairman Dilip Sanghani and CNRI General Secretary Binod Anand are included in the panel.

Senior members of agricultural universities, five central government secretaries and chief secretaries of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha are also part of the committee.

With PTI inputs

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