SKM not to send its nominees to MSP panel

The farmers’ organisation says that the panel is full of government loyalists

Updated - July 19, 2022 10:11 pm IST

Published - July 19, 2022 11:15 am IST - New Delhi

Activist Yogendra Yadav with farmer leaders Darshan Pal and Rakesh Tikait during a meeting of Samyukta Kisan Morcha. File

Activist Yogendra Yadav with farmer leaders Darshan Pal and Rakesh Tikait during a meeting of Samyukta Kisan Morcha. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has rejected on Tuesday the Centre’s invitation to join the committee, headed by former Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal, on the minimum support price (MSP) and other issues in the farming sector. The Centre had left three positions vacant for SKM nominees in the panel, which was announced on Monday.

The SKM said in a release that there is no scope to discuss the MSP law in the agenda of a committee, which is full of government representatives and its loyalists. “All the apprehensions of the SKM about this committee turned out to be true. SKM cannot have any association with such anti-farmer committee,” the umbrella organisation said.

SKM leaders Hannan Mollah, Darshan Pal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Yudhveer Singh and Yogendra Yadav said in the statement that they have decided not to nominate SKM representative in the committee. They said there is no rationale for sending representatives of the SKM to such an anti-farmer and meaningless committee.

Earlier, in an email sent to the Agriculture Secretary on March 24, the SKM had asked the government to specify the terms of reference of the committee. It had also sought the names of organisations, individuals and office bearers who will be included in the committee.

“The Government did not respond to these questions. Yet the Agriculture Minister kept making statements that the formation of the committee was stalled due to non-receipt of the names of the representatives from the SKM,” the SKM leaders said.

It said the chairman of the committee is former Agriculture Secretary Agarwal, who drafted all three anti-farmer laws. “He is accompanied by Ramesh Chand, a member of NITI Aayog, who was the main advocate of these three laws. As experts, it is the economists who have been against giving legal status to MSP,” they said.

The five farmer leaders in the committee are loyalists of the Centre who advocated the three farm laws, the SKM said. “All these people are either directly associated with BJP-RSS or support their policy,” the SKM said.

They said the notification is silent about making a law on MSP. “That is, this question will not be placed before the committee. Some items have been put in the agenda on which the government committee is already established. 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,” SKM leaders alleged.

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