Agri Business

AIKS floats model Bill on crop support price

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2021

All Indian Kisan Sabha leader Hannan Mollah (Centre) and farmer leaders address a press conference in New Delhi on Friday   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Assuring 50% over cost of production, it also hopes to set up a price stabilisation fund

Maintaining that a law to ensure Minimum Support Price at 50 per cent above cost of production (C2+50 per cent) is possible, the All India Kisan Sabha has come up with a model Bill to ensure fair and remunerative price for farm produce.

The AIKS hopes to get the Bill into Parliament as a private member’s Bill during the second part of the budget session.

The Bill suggests creation of social cooperatives of workers and peasants, which will supply agricultural products based on the quality standards to the “Primary Agricultural Self Help Groups” at MSP which is not less than C2 + 50 per cent. It also recommends a scheme to share certain fixed percentage of the surplus income earned by marketing the value-added products processed out of the primary agricultural products as additional price to the farmers. It will be calculated according to the proportion of the quantity of products supplied to the social cooperatives and additional wages to the workers involved in the production network.

Self Help Groups

Self Help Groups can be formed with the approval and under the direction of the respective ‘Block Agricultural Social Co-operative Processing and Marketing Centre’ comprising of not less than twenty and not more than forty farmers and agriculture workers residing in the designated local bodies and engaged in farming.

The model Bill also proposes establishment of Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) with the contribution of member farmers and others and the support of various schemes of the Centre and State Governments, interest free loans from the financial institutions with government guarantee and share from the surplus income of the social cooperatives.

“The PSF can develop as self-reliant fund from the share of surplus created out of the income from the processed, value added consumer products and extend assistance for developing crop insurance and compensation schemes to all member farmers,” the Bill said. It says procurement of agricultural products at rates lower than MSP should be treated as an offence.

Existing formula

“A system of authority to monitor and fix Minimum Support Price to all crops from time to time shall be ensured,” the Bill said.

Releasing the draft Bill, AIKS leaders Hannan Mollah and Ashok Dhawle said the existing rate of MSP based on A2+FL calculation (actual paid out cost plus imputed value of family labour) is not remunerative and according to reports only six per cent of the farm produce based on the estimate of Gross Value Added has been procured by the governments by providing this meager MSP. “Hence huge majority of the farmers are forced to sell far below support price, making MSP only notional for the vast majority,” they said.

Mollah and Dhawle added that the benefit of surplus created out of value addition of farm produce is amassed by the corporate companies. They cited the example of Basmati rice and said while farmers get ₹18 to ₹ 30 per kilo from the intermediaries for Basmati paddy, branded Basmati is sold at about ₹ 208 per kilo. “This sort of loot and exploitation by the corporate sector and their intermediaries in the market is one of the main reasons for the widespread indebtedness of the peasant households and the resultant massive peasant suicides. Every hour two farmers are committing suicide in India and 2,468 farmers per day are forced to give up agriculture,” they said.

Published on February 19, 2021

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