Turning down demands for the inclusion of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) as a mandatory provision in the agriculture bills that were recently cleared in the Parliament, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said on Wednesday that while the Centre was committed to the MSP regime it was “not a part of the law” earlier and it is not so “today.”
According to a report in The Indian Express, the Union Minister also criticised the Opposition and questioned as to why, despite bbeing in power for several years, they did not bring in the MSP as part of law.
“…I want to tell the people of the Opposition that all of you have been in government for many years, if the law was necessary for the MSP, then why did you not make it? MSP was not a part of the law even earlier and MSP is not part of the law even today,” Tomar was quoted as saying by the publication.
Hinting that the government would not cede to the Opposition’s demands on the MSP, Tomar said that the MSP is an administrative decision of the Centre and procurement has been taking place as a result of the same.”The Modi government had started declaring MSP by adding 50 per cent profit to the cost,” Tomar added.
Tomar further said that the NDA government took the key decision in the interest of the country and added that farmers would benefit from these legislations.“If any decision is to be taken in the interest of the country, then the Modi government is committed to take that decision regardless of votes…I am sure that agriculture and farmers will get a huge amount of benefit from these Bills,” he added.
The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, have been passed by both Houses and await presidential assent. Notably, SAD’s lone minister in the Narendra Modi government, Harsimrat Badal, resigned to protest these three agriculture bills when they were passed by a voice vote in the Lok Sabha.
Protests broke out in several states across the country after the bills were passed. Farmers fear they will no longer get paid at MSP, while commission agents are concerned that they will lose their commission. The Centre has, however, maintained that the bills would be beneficial for farmers and increase their income.