Diluting MSP will impact rural economy: Congress

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2015

Even BJP-ruled States are against move, says party

To fight the Centre’s policy for the agriculture sector, the Congress seems to be taking out a leaf from the experience of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

At a recent meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s top leadership discussed an internal note on ‘Dilution of procurement of foodgrains’ that said even BJP-ruled States had opposed the Centre’s decision to put an embargo on providing a bonus price for paddy and wheat other than the minimum support price (MSP).

The CWC apparently requested party president Sonia Gandhi to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, explaining the “negative impact” of the Centre’s decision on farmers and on the rural economy.

“A final decision will be taken by the Congress president. We need the guidance of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on launching protests against the decision,” a CWC source told BusinessLine.

The internal note, discussed at the meeting, said the Centre has also stipulated that it will limit the procurement for the central pool only to the requirement of the targeted public distribution system and other welfare schemes.

Adverse effect

“This decision will adversely affect the interest of the farmers immediately and in the long run, the foodgrains stocks will come down, which is dangerous,” the note said.

It added that the move may force farmers to switch over to other crops, as paddy and wheat cultivation will not be remunerative if the Centre decides to stop helping farmers.

The Congress had started protests against the Centre’s decision to bring an ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition Act. However, on the issue of MSP, it has not decided about launching protests.

The party, however, believes that in the future the issue could be used against the Centre.

The Congress has also criticised the Prime Minister’s pet scheme, the Adarsh Gram Yojana. The internal note urged the party leadership to talk to UPA allies and other like-minded parties to make a joint appeal to the Centre to highlight the difficulties and inherent impracticability of the scheme.

“One option would be that the government should exclusively earmark additional funds for the development of the adopted village,” the CWC note added.

Published on January 16, 2015

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