Farmers amp up MSP demand in mass protests

NEW DELHI: Scrap the brand new agriculture legal guidelines, which have deregulated the sale of crops, or insert an modification within the legal guidelines that crops can’t be purchased by personal events beneath the government-fixed minimal assist value (MSP) – protesting farmers are steadfast of their key demand every week after 1000’s of them got here and sat on Delhi’s border and two rounds of marathon talks failed to interrupt the impasse.

“It’s easy. The federal government doesn’t wish to give authorized assurance on MSP. They are saying no legislation has ever on condition that. However no legislation has additionally ever given personal events an open licence to obtain crops at any value they need,” farmer chief Gurnam Singh Charuni, who’s a part of the talks, instructed ET. “They at most say take a letter in writing on that or imagine Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s phrase on the identical. We can not settle for this. They should put it within the legal guidelines or scrap them and produce them afresh after consultations.”

One other chief, Darshan Pal, mentioned farmer teams had three months in the past rejected an analogous letter on MSP issued by agriculture minister NS Tomar to Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who later withdrew his occasion from the BJP-led Nationwide Democratic Alliance. “What if the federal government modifications tomorrow? Will a letter get up in courtroom?” mentioned Pal.

The protestors mentioned there’s a compelling motive why an assurance on MSP is a make-or break for farmers in Punjab and Haryana and why they’re ready to sit down for months within the chilly at Delhi’s border. Practically 99.6% of wheat and paddy in Punjab is procured at MSP by authorities companies and simply 0.4% by personal companies, based on the Punjab authorities. This quantities to almost 30 million metric tonnes of crops price over Rs 60,000 crore procured at MSP yearly from Punjab.

This summer time, Punjab accounted for 66% of the entire procurement of paddy within the nation at MSP, with 20.2 million metric tonnes procured for almost Rs 38,000 crore. Haryana got here second, accounting for 18% of the paddy procurement. Punjab and Haryana’s farmers “really feel secure” in rising the staple wheat and paddy which is procured at MSP with early funds. About 3.5 million hectares of land in Punjab is dedicated to such crops.

Whereas the Centre has mentioned the brand new legal guidelines supply an choice to farmers to promote their produce outdoors the mandis to non-public events at a better value whereas retaining current buildings of public procurement, farmer teams have expressed apprehensions that the federal government in the end needs to put off public procurement at MSP.

This concern relies on the premise that since Punjab prices 6% (3% as mandi charge and three% as rural growth cess) on every sale in a mandi at MSP and Haryana prices a complete of three% whereas personal events will cost nothing on this rely, enterprise will in the end get diverted away from the mandis to non-public gamers who will then dictate costs. Farmer teams have due to this fact requested the Centre throughout talks to make sure personal events additionally issue within the rural growth cess, a requirement the federal government is now contemplating.

There’s additionally the bigger image of the opposition politics in Punjab, a state the place the BJP has little stake within the 2022 meeting election whereas the ruling Congress, fundamental opposition Aam Aadmi Social gathering and the BJP’s erstwhile ally Shiromani Akali Dal are in a aggressive battle to venture themselves because the true custodian of farmer pursuits and pump up the protests. Punjab additionally has a giant income stream at stake, because it earns almost Rs 3,500 crore yearly from procurement of crops at MSP.