Continuing to back the farmers’ demands after the Centre’s major climbdown on farm laws, BJP MP Varun Gandhi has piloted a private member’s bill seeking legal guarantee of MSP with financial outlay of Rs 1 lakh crore. This comes just days after the Samyukt Kisan Morcha announced withdrawal of protests after the Centre agreed to the pending demands of the agitating farmers.
The bill titled — The Farmers Right To Guaranteed Minimum Support Price Realization Of Agri-Produce Bill, 2021 — aims to provide legally guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) for 22 crops that should be set at a profit margin of 50 per cent over the comprehensive cost of production. Gandhi has submitted the bill in Parliament but it is yet to be introduced.
MPs can pilot private members’ bill in their personal capacity irrespective of their party affiliations. Since 1952, only about a dozen private members’ bills have been passed.
As per Gandhi’s proposed legislation, any farmer realising a price less than the above declared MSP shall be entitled to a compensation equal to the difference in value between price realised and the guaranteed MSP. It also proposes that payments should be made directly into the accounts of farmers within two days of the transaction.
The proposed legislation comes even as the Centre has withdrawn the three contentious farm laws through a bill in the Parliament and even agreed to the pending demands of farmers, including immediate withdrawal of cases against the agitating farmers and for a committee to look into the issue of MSP.
Gandhi, the Pilibhit MP, had been publicly supporting farmers’ and suggesting the government to engage with them. He was among the first to seek “strict action” against his own party leader and Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra for his son’s alleged involvement in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident that left four farmers dead.
A day after the Prime Minister had announced the repeal of three farm laws, Gandhi wrote to Modi that many “innocent lives” could have been saved had the decision been taken earlier.
On the issues related to farmers, Gandhi has been taking a stand in support of farmers that appears to be not in line with the BJP’s official stance. Giving rationale for the bill, Gandhi said the declaration of guaranteed MSP to farmers shall result in improved farm realisation for potentially 93 million agricultural households, leading to a resurgence in the rural economy.
(With PTI inputs)