Farmers' Body Announces Nationwide Stir Against Modi Govt's MSP 'Betrayal' -Neha Mehrotra

-TheWire.in

Accusing the government of having deceived farmers by not fulfilling its MSP promise, and yet claiming that it has, the AIKSCC has announced a series of agitations over the next four months.

New Delhi:
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a coalition of over 180 farmer organisations across the country, has termed the announced hike in minimum support prices (MSP) a ‘historic betrayal’, and not a ‘historic increase’ as the Narendra Modi government has claimed. The group has announced a series of agitations over the next four months to express its dissatisfaction.

Calling the government’s claim the ‘MSP dhokha of the Modi government’, the AIKSCC plans to put forward two bills in the monsoon session of parliament beginning on July 18 – the Farmers Freedom From Indebtedness Bill and the Farmers Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Price For Agricultural Commodities Bill. Termed the Kisan Mukti Bills, they will be introduced in parliament as private member’s bills by Raju Shetti, Swabhimani Paksha MP from Maharashtra and K.K. Ragesh, Rajya Sabha MP from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Kerala.

Explaining the ‘MSP dhokha’, AIKSCC working group member and Swaraj India founder Yogendra Yadav said, “Modi has termed the MSP announced ten days ago as a ‘historic price’. This, however, is completely false. The Modi government claims that it has increased MSPs to 1.5 times the cost of production. But it is important to see which cost he is talking about.”

The MSP for eligible crops is declared by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The CACP has three different definitions of productions costs – A2 (actual paid out cost), A2+FL (actual paid out cost plus imputed value of family labour) and C2 (comprehensive cost including imputed rent and interest on owned land and capital). As is evident, C2 > A2+FL > A2.

“When Modi claims that he has raised MSPs to 1.5 times cost of production, he is referring to the A2+FL cost and not the C2 cost, which is the comprehensive cost of production referred to in the Swaminathan Commission report,” said Yadav. “So take the price of paddy. The A2+FL cost for paddy is Rs 1,166 per quintal. Its C2 cost is Rs 1,560 per quintal. The MSP per quintal announced for 2018-19 is Rs 1,750. However, according to the formula of the Swaminathan Commission, the MSP should ideally be C2+50%, which is Rs 2,340. So it is evident that the Modi government’s promise of increasing MSPs to 1.5 times cost of production is, in fact, a historic betrayal.”

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TheWire.in, 15 July, 2018, https://thewire.in/agriculture/msp-hike-narendra-modi-government-farmers-protest

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