MSP to be higher, come early as govt allays fears – Times of India


NEW DELHI: With PM Modi leading the government’s counter-offensive from the front and dismissing the opposition’s charge that the soon-to-be enacted farm sector laws will lead to dismantling of the MSP regime, the Centre will announce a higher MSP for rabi (winter sown) crops next week.

The announcement will come nearly a month ahead of when it is normally made and fits in with the government’s plan not to give any quarter to the opposition on the issue.

The aggression was once again on display with Modi celebrating passage of the two bills in Rajya Sabha as a “watershed moment” and reassuring farmers on continuation of the minimum support price procurement mechanism.

The two farm Bills – one on Agri market and the other on contract farming – were passed by the Lok Sabha on last Thursday. The another Bill on farm sector reforms – Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – was passed by the lower house on last Tuesday. It’ll come up for consideration in Rajya Sabha this week.

In a series of tweets, Modi emphasised that the new legislations would free farmers from the bullying by middlemen and ensure a complete transformation of the agriculture sector. “For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The bills passed by Parliament liberate farmers from such adversities. These bills will add impetus to the efforts to double income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them,” Modi tweeted.

“Our agriculture sector is in desperate need of latest technology that assists industrious farmers. Now, with the passage of the bills, our farmers will have easier access to futuristic technology that will boost production and yield better results. This is a welcome step,” he added.

Refuting the opposition’s allegations, the PM reiterated that MSP will be continued in future too. “I said it earlier and I say it once again: system of MSP will remain. Government procurement will continue,” the PM said and added, “We are here to serve our farmers. We will do everything possible to support them and ensure a better life for their coming.”

The agriculture ministry generally announces new MSP for Rabi crops such as wheat, mustard and pulses at the beginning of the sowing season after mid-October, but an early announcement this year may be an attempt to blunt the Opposition’s attack and show the government’s sincerity over the issue. It was announced on October 23 last year.

The announcement may also give a signal to farmers in advance on choice of crops which they can opt for sowing during the winter. The procurement on new MSPs will be made during rabi marketing season, beginning April 1 next year.

“The increase in MSP for Rabi Crops will be in line with the principle of fixing it at a level of minimum 1.5 times of the all India weighted average cost of production, which was announced in the Union Budget 2018-19,” said an official.

Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar reiterated the government’s stand to continue with the MSP-based procurement.

Underlining his government’s record of procurement of Rabi crops at MSP this year, Tomar shared that the payment of Rs 1.13 lakh crore for procuring wheat, oilseeds and pulses was made to farmers in 2020 which is 31% higher compared to last year – a point showing the Centre’s emphasis on procurement through MSP.

The ministry also issued a detailed note, seeking to clarify on several doubts raised on the Bills by the members during debate in the Parliament and by protesting farmers outside.





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