Farmers’ organisation, Jai Kisan Andolan has slammed the Government’s current MSP hike and has said, the MSP given by Modi government in four years has been worse than UPA-2 government.
Reacting to the Central government’s Minimum Support Price (MSP) announcement for Kharif crops for marketing season 2018-19, Avik Saha, National Convenor of Jai Kisan Andolan, said, “While the announcement sounds grand and farmer friendly, let us not forget that announcing MSP and not doing anything to ensure that farmers get MSP, has become a political tool. The figures provided by the press release of Narendra Modi government shows that there is nothing historic or substantial about the MSP hike. It is in fact lower than the hikes given by UPA II government in respect of almost all crops; for paddy, while the average hike provided by the UPA II was 69 percent, the Modi government hike is only 41 percent.”
“In 2008-09, which was also an election year, the UPA government had announced a hike in MSP for paddy common by 20.8 percent, which is much more that the hike of 12.9 percent now announced by the government. Yet, problems remained during the UPA regime as no effort was made to ensure that farmers can sell their crop at MSP. Mere announcement brings nothing to the pocket of the farmer and if this government wants to seriously address the acute agrarian distress, it must immediately strengthen the market intervention and support schemes and ensure that such intervention is timely, adequate and well monitored, Saha added.
Ajit Singh Yadav, National Co-Convenor, Jai Kisan Andolan, said, “MSP was deliberately kept low for four years and is now being increased in an election year and therefore this is nothing but an election gimmick. The real proof of effectiveness of the announcement will be tested from October onwards when crops will be harvested and will come to markets for sale. This government had made a similar announcement for Rabi crops but not a single Indian farmer could sell all the produce at MSP. Agriculture markets have become graveyards for farmers and the government has been a silent by-stander to the day-light robbery of farmers.”
Col. Jaivir Singh, National Co-Convenor of Jai Kisan Andolan, said, “There is no budgetary provision for procurement of crops at the newly announced MSP and how procurement will take place and how funding for procurement at new prices will be done is not clear. Even with the BJP ruling in many of the states, MSP was not implemented in the last four years; so it is not clear how it will now suddenly be implemented. The opacity of intent of this government is worrisome and keeping in mind the track record of the government, one can at best be cautiously optimistic”.
Lingaraj, National Co-Convenor of Jai Kisan Andolan, said on the MSP hike, “Farmers have not been given MSP at 50 percent above C2 (comprehensive cost) which was the recommendation of the MS Swaminathan Commission and which was the promise of the BJP in 2014 election manifesto. Considering that the Modi government is a serial promise-breaker, the present announcement becoming reality for farmers is difficult to imagine.”
Yogendra Yadav, President of Swaraj India and founder of Jai Kisan Andolan congratulated all farmers’ organisations for the heroic and historic struggle they have collectively waged against the Modi government for last 4 years, that has compelled the government to admit that remunerative prices are not being given to farmers and agrarian distress is being neglected.
“Any increase in support price of crops is welcome but let us remember what this MSP announcement is not. It is not the price computed at 50 perent above comprehensive cost (C2) being demanded by farmers’ organisations. It is not the price promised by PM Modi in hundreds of election meetings and contained in the 2014 election manifesto of BJP,” Yadav added.
“It is not an immediate relief to farmers; it is merely a promise, the fulfilment of which depends on government procurement and intensive support, something that has been lacking till now. It is not a permanent and stable solution; without MSP being a legal right with a legal framework for enforcement, MSP remains discretionary and farmers are left at the mercy of the whims of the next government,” he further added.
Jai Kisan Andolan is a constituent member of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an apex body of 194 farmer organisations from across the country, that has been at the forefront of the struggle to ensure farmers get MSP and are freed from the debt trap that they have been pushed into by deliberately ensuring that they do not get remunerative prices. AIKSCC has prepared two bills for making remunerative MSP a legal right and one-time waiver of all agricultural debts of farmers. The bills have been submitted to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and are likely to be taken up for debate in the ensuing monsoon session of Parliament. On May 29 this year, AIKSCC had also met the President of India and requested him to convene a special session of Parliament to discuss the agrarian crisis and find solutions.