In the Union Budget presented on Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasized on the benefit of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to wheat and paddy farmers.
“The procurement of wheat in rabi 2021-22 and the estimated procurement of paddy in kharif 2021-22 will cover 1,208 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and paddy from 163 lakh farmers, and ₹2.37 lakh crore direct payment of MSP value to their accounts” she said.
The MSP was at the core of controversy during the farmers’ agitation against the farm reforms withdrawn by the government. Farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana have been demanding law on the MSP.
Anil Ghanwat, Shetkari Sanghatana leader and one of the members of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee on farm laws said to B usinessLine: “MSP is not a solution. It has become a problem for farmers and the government. Farmers are not diversifying to other crops because of MSP to wheat and paddy and the government has no place to store the procured wheat and paddy.”
Ghanwat said that it seems the government has completely abandoned the farm reform agenda which it wanted to introduce through the farm laws.
Last year the government had increased the MSP for all mandated kharif, rabi and other commercial crops with a return of at least 50 per cent overall India weighted average cost of production from 2018-19.
MSP payment to farmers for pulses has increased by 95.93 times during the last five years (2016-17 to 2020-21) as compared to the period from 2009-10 to 2013-14. While MSP payment to farmers for oilseeds and copra has increased by 10.80 times during the last five years (2016-17 to 2020-21) in comparison to the period from 2009-10 to 2013-14.