MSP panel a ‘farce’, no question of participating: Samyukta Kisan Morcha rejects Centre’s meeting

The SKM, an umbrella organisation of over 40 farm unions, will not be attending the August 22 meeting.

"Till April 24, a quantity of 136.93 lakh tonnes of wheat has been procured, benefiting over 11.99 lakh farmers with an MSP value of Rs 27,592.10 crore," it added.
Announcing the repeal of three farm laws in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to set up a committee to look into farmers' MSP issues.

Leaders of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions, on Tuesday rejected the upcoming meeting of the committee on Minimum Support Price (MSP) on August 22 as a “farce” and said that nothing conclusive will come out of the talks. The leaders said they have already rejected the “anti-farmers panel” and will not be attending the meeting called by the Centre next week.

The MSP panel is scheduled to hold its first meeting at 10.30 am on August 22 at the National Agriculture Science Complex (NASC) in Delhi to discuss future strategies, according to a PTI report citing official sources.

On agenda for the first meeting is an introduction of the committee members, deliberation on “future strategies” and a discussion on setting up sub-panels to cover the wide issues mentioned in the terms of reference.

Also Read: First meeting of Committee on MSP to be held on Aug 22

The Centre, on its part, is keen on making SKM a part of the proceedings of the committee and has been persuading the organisation to join the panel. However, the SKM’s rejection makes it tough for the Centre to get three of its members nominated to the panel, a requirement under the deal.

“We have already rejected the panel and we have clearly said that we will not be participating in the talks. So there is no question of participating in the upcoming meeting,” SKM leader Hannan Mollah said, rejecting the government’s suggestion, adding that the farm organisation is deciding on the future course of action.

“The government has inducted some so-called farmer leaders in the panel who didn’t have anything to do with our agitation against the three farm laws at the Delhi borders,” he told PTI.

Also Read: Government forms panel to make “more effective and transparent” MSP

“We will decide on the further course of action and decide how we will hold demonstrations against the farm laws,” he added.

Darshan Pal, another farmer leader, said that the farm organisation will decide the future course of action after a 75-hour protest in UP’s Lakhimpur against the 2021 violence case.

“We are not lending any support to the anti-farmer panel. Our protest is going on as the Centre is reneging on its promises made last year,” he said, demanding that cases registered against farmers during the anti-farm laws protest last year be withdrawn, and compensation be provided to the kin of farmers who lost their lives during the stir.

Announcing the repeal of three farm laws in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to set up a committee to look into farmers’ MSP issues. On July 18, the Centre set up a committee headed by former Agriculture secretary Sanjay Agrawal to “promote zero budget based farming,” to change crop patterns keeping in mind the changing needs of the country, and to make MSP more “effective and transparent.”

There are 26 members in the committee, including a chairman. Three membership slots have been kept aside for representatives of SKM. 

The members of the committee include Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand, agri-economists CSC Shekhar from the Indian Institute of Economic Development and Sukhpal Singh from IIM-Ahmedabad, and also Naveen P Singh, a senior member at the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Among farmer representatives, the committee has National award-winning farmer Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, and five members from other farmer organisations – Gunwant Patil, Krishnaveer Choudhary, Pramod Kumar Choudhary, Guni Prakash, and Sayyed Pasha Patel.

Two members of the farmers’ cooperative and group — IFFCO Chairman Dilip Sanghani and CNRI General Secretary Binod Anand — are also part of the committee.

Senior members of agricultural universities, five central government secretaries, and chief secretaries of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, and Odisha are also part of the committee.

(With PTI inputs)

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