New Delhi: A day after the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) asked the farmers in Uttar Pradesh to ‘punish’ the BJP in the upcoming Assembly polls, the saffron party started the firefighting job with all seriousness. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh said Friday in the Rajya Sabha that the government is committed to forming a panel on Minimum Support Price (MSP). However, formation of the panel has been delayed as the Election Commission has said it can be done after the Assembly polls are over.
While announcing the repeal of three farm laws in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to set up a committee to discuss the farmers’ demand for a legal guarantee on MSP.
Replying to a supplementary question during the Question Hour, Tomar said the government had written to the Election Commission in view of Assembly elections in five states. The minister said the matter of forming the Committee on MSP is under consideration of the ministry and will be formed after the elections are over.
“The entire country knows that the prime minister has announced the formation of a committee to make crop diversification, natural farming and MSP effective and transparent. The government is committed to the announcement made by the PM. The matter is under consideration of the ministry,” Tomar said.
The minister’s remarks came day after the SKM accused the government of not fulfilling its promise of setting up of the committee on MSP. The Morcha also announced its Mission UP asking voters to punish the BJP for reneging on its promises to farmers.
Tomar said since the elections are on, the government had written to the EC for its approval. “The EC’s reply has come. It has said that the committee should be formed after the elections conclude,” Narendra Tomar informed.
Elections are scheduled in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab.
Replying to another query by Prasanna Acharya of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) who asked if the government is considering bringing a bill in this House to give a legal guarantee to MSP, Tomar said prior to 2018, there was no mechanism to define MSP and make farming profitable.
In fact, fixing MSP at 50 per cent higher than the cost of production was one of the 14 recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee that was rejected by the inter-ministry panel then, he said. With regard to bringing a law on giving MSP guarantee, the Minister said a committee on MSP will be set up after Assembly polls in some states. “Whatever the recommendations the committee will make, the government will examine them,” Tomar said.