Farmer Body Didn’t Nominate Representatives for MSP Panel: Centre Amid Protests

New Delhi: In response to a second mass uprising within four years, farmers are demanding a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops. The government claims that the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a key organization behind the protest, failed to nominate representatives to a committee established in July 2022 to enhance MSP effectiveness and transparency.

The committee, proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aimed to promote zero-budget farming, alter crop patterns to meet evolving national needs, and enhance MSP transparency. However, only 25 out of 29 members were named in the initial notification, with three spots designated for Samyukt Kisan Morcha representatives.

The protests, known as ‘Delhi Chalo 2.0,’ began with over 200 farmer unions and an estimated one lakh farmers marching towards the national capital, echoing the violent clashes of 2020/21. Violence ensued almost immediately as police deployed tear gas and water cannons at the Shambhu border crossing between Punjab and Haryana to deter the amassed farmers.

The ruling BJP, cognizant of the negative optics ahead of an election, initiated dialogue with the farmers. Junior Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda emphasized the government’s commitment to farmers’ interests, urging patience while acknowledging unresolved issues such as MSP guarantees and farm loan waivers.

Notably, Padma Bhushan awardee and member of the MS Swaminathan Commission Dr. RB Singh advocated for a new MSP law, echoing the commission’s recommendation of fixing MSP 50 percent higher than production costs.

Rakesh Tikait, a prominent figure in previous protests, threw his support behind the ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation and issued a warning against government interference.

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