Tamil Nadu

MSP will continue to be there: Finance Minister

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing the press in Chennai on Tuesday. R. Ragu   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday reiterated that the minimum support price (MSP) for crops will continue and will not be withdrawn.

“MSP was there and will continue to be there. But because of the focus on increasing the MSP of only paddy and wheat annually, it has brought a distortion in the agriculture sector as many farmers shifted from other crops to the cultivation of paddy and wheat,” she told journalists at Indian Bank’s corporate office here.

Ms. Sitharaman added that only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over in 2014, the Central government started shifting the focus of MSP on other crops, such as coarse grains, oil seeds and spices, to reduce dependence on imports.

Attacking the Congress, she said those who gave support price only for paddy and wheat, neglecting other commodities, are the ones who are now raising unreasonable apprehension.

Talking about the three legislation on agriculture reforms, the Minister said that they would benefit farmers, and the bills were introduced keeping their welfare in mind.

She said that prior to the introduction of the farm bills, the issue was extensively discussed with farmers and experts in the agricultural sector.

Earlier, she launched MSME Prerana, an online business mentoring programme for MSMEs, an initiative by Indian Bank.

MSME Prerana is the first-of-its-kind initiative by a bank in the country for the sector. This is for empowering entrepreneurs through skill development and capacity building workshops in the local language.

The programme is in collaboration with Poornatha and Co, a firm that designs entrepreneurial development programmes in vernacular using web-based interactive sessions and case studies.

Later, after a meeting with farmers, Ms. Sitharaman said the Centre had every right to enact legislation regarding inter-State farm trade. “What we have done is at the Central level. That aspect of farming, which deals with inter-State trade, is in the Central list. Parliament has every competence to pass legislation which has a bearing on inter-State trading,” she said.

She was responding to a question on the call by Congress president Sonia Gandhi exhorting various Congress-led State governments to pass laws in their respective State Assemblies negating the Centre’s laws as agriculture is a State-subject.

Slamming Ms. Gandhi, she said, “See how much of respect the Congress has for the Indian Parliamentary system. It is really disappointing that the president of the Congress party, which had been in power for a long time, can seek to undermine the parliamentary process.”

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 6:34:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/msp-will-continue-to-be-there-finance-minister/article32786705.ece

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