‘Scientific principles not being followed for calculating the price’

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture has stressed the need to fix remunerative minimum support prices (MSP) based on scientific principles for all agricultural produce and discard the practice of the Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices (CACP) taking a unilateral decision in this regard.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Basudev Acharia told The Hindu here on Monday that the committee had invited all stakeholders, including State governments, representatives of farmer organisations and agriculture experts, for a discussion on fixing the MSP for agricultural produce.

“Out of the 80-odd representations received from stakeholders, the standing committee has selected 15 for personal hearing,” Mr. Acharia said.

After hearing pleas of these organisations and reviewing other representations, the committee would hold sittings and finalise a report by December this year which would be presented in Parliament during the winter session, he said.

According to Mr. Acharia, the method being used by the CACP for fixing MSP for agricultural produce is not right. Although the CACP was consulting stakeholders before fixing the MSP, the representations made by the latter were not reflected in the MSP .

The MSP fixed by the CACP was not reflecting the increase in the cost of agriculture production during a particular year. It cited an example drawn from 2011, when the cost of agricultural inputs including labour, seeds, electricity, diesel, fertiliser and pesticides, was less by over 40 per cent. As a result, the marginal increase in the MSP fixed by the CACP that year was not enough even to meet the production costs, he said.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre was not serious about implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, which suggested that scientific principles should be applied for arriving at remunerative MSP. The commission had recommended that the MSP for agricultural produce should be the actual cost of production, plus 50 per cent extra. “So far, the government has not implemented them,” he said.

State secretariat member of the party Maruti Manpade, who is also the president of the Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha, and another State secretariat member U. Basavaraj were present.

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