Goverment claim on MSP a half-truth: Congress

Abhishek Singhvi  

The government’s claim that the protection of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers would continue in spite of the new farm laws is a half truth, according to Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Singhvi.

Also read: Congress to launch nationwide stir against agriculture legislations

In the first of a series of nationwide press conferences that the party plans to hold over the next one month in its campaign against these laws, Mr. Singhvi said the farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, did not explicitly mention MSP anywhere.

The government’s claim was technically correct, that these laws did not explicitly say that the provision of MSP had been removed. But the laws gave the freedom to buy and sell the produce at any cost. “The government’s half-truth is far bigger than any lie”, he stated.

Picking other flaws in the Bills, he said that they gave licence to hoarders. They had liberalised the farm sector, allowing the corporate sector to purchase directly from farms and there was no dispute resolution mechanism in case the farmer felt short-changed, he observed.

These laws, Mr. Singhvi asserted, were unconstitutional, as they legally infringed on the division of power set out by the Constitution between the State and the Centre.

Research study on Bihar

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh posted a 2019 study by the National Council of Applied Economic Research on Bihar, where, in 2006, the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act was abolished. He tweeted, “Bihar abolished the APMC Act in 2006. That is one argument made by the Government in defence of the 2 #FarmBills. But what exactly did that abolition achieve?”

The main five findings of the report were: it led to a deterioration of public infrastructure, situation of small and marginal farmers remained unchanged as they continued to sell their produce to village-level intermediaries, left a regulatory vacuum in the State and poor public procurement, increased the number of intermediaries and did not attract large-scale private sector investment.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 11:23:19 PM |

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