Budget 2021

Budget 2021 | Farmers dismiss Finance Minister’s claims on MSP hike

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of the largest farmer unions in Punjab said ensuring 1.5 times the cost of production on crops does not help in addressing farmers’ plight as it does not provide a remunerative price.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Several farmer outfits dismissed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s assertion in the Budget speech on Monday that there has been a sea change in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime to ensure at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities, besides a steady increase in procurement of crops. The farmer groups termed the claim an ‘eyewash’.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of the largest farmer unions in Punjab said ensuring 1.5 times the cost of production on crops does not help in addressing farmers’ plight as it does not provide a remunerative price. Farmers have been demanding the MSP based on the Swaminathan Commission’s formula of C2 plus 50%, the BKU faction said.

“The BJP failed to implement the Swaminathan Commission recommendation of fixing MSP according to the formula C2 plus 50%, which was promised by them during 2014 parliamentary polls. They have betrayed farmers. By claiming that ensuring 1.5 times the cost of production is helping farmers is a ‘hollow and misleading’ notion,” said BKU (U) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Korikalan.

“As far as the rise in procurement is concerned, the government has been procuring crops such as wheat and paddy in Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh only because farmers have been protesting there. In other parts of the country, the government’s procurement is minimal. Also, once the new farm laws get implemented and private markets start to come up, the government procurement will fall down eventually,” he said.

Sarvan Singh Pandher of Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti said the reason behind the rise in procurement of wheat and paddy is on account of private traders buying the foodgrains in States that lack Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee(APMC) ‘mandis’; the traders then sell the crop in mandis of Punjab and Haryana.

“Private traders purchase wheat-paddy from farmers at a lower price than the MSP in neighbouring States and then sell it in ‘mandis’ of Punjab and Haryana at MSP,” alleged Mr. Pandher.

The government should make MSP a statutory right of the farmers as the price of 1.5 times the cost of production is merely an “eyewash”, he added.

BKU (Lakhowal) general secretary Harinder Singh echoed the view that the rise in procurement was due to private traders buying at a lower price from farmers and then selling it in APMC ‘mandis’ at the MSP.

In her Budget speech, Ms. Sitharaman had said there was a steady increase in procurement of wheat, rice, pulses from farmers. In case of wheat, the total amount paid to farmers in 2013-2014 was ₹33,874 crore, in 2019-2020 it was ₹62,802 crore and in 2020-2021 it was ₹75,060 crore, the Minister said. Similarly for paddy, the amount paid in 2013-14 was ₹63,928 crore, in 2019-2020 it was ₹1,41,930 crore and in 2020-2021 it is estimated to increase to ₹172,752 crore, she said.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 10:16:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-2021-farmers-dismiss-finance-ministers-claims-on-msp-hike/article33718259.ece

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