After the withdrawal of all three agricultural laws, the farmers’ movement ended, but the fight between the farmers and the government continues over the MSP-Minimum Support Prices. In the coming days, the farmers’ organization and the government may come face to face with the legal guarantee of MSP. Despite the government’s request for a committee to be constituted for the guarantee of MSP, the United Kisan Morcha has not given the name of any of its experts to the government. Meanwhile, it is very important for the farmers and the public to know whether the BJP-led Modi government is ahead or behind the Congress-led Manmohan Singh government in giving MSP. If it is ahead, then how much amount has he given in return for buying the crops of farmers during his tenure so far.
Be it the farmers protesting or the leaders of the opposition…all have expressed their apprehension that the Modi government wants to end the system of minimum support price. But, is this apprehension true or is it politically motivated. It needs to be seen in the light of statistics.
MAC and Modi government
Actually, the truth is that the Modi government has made a new record of giving MSP. In the form of MSP, farmers have been given so much money that no government would have even imagined before. According to a report we received from the Ministry of Agriculture, farmers got Rs 4,60,528 crore as MSP from 2009 to 2014. Whereas, after the Modi government came, it was increased a lot. From the year 2014 to March 2022, about Rs 14.25 lakh crore has been given to the farmers as MSP.
Increasing the scope of MSP
Those who were saying that the system of MSP will end, they should be asked whether the beneficiaries are decreasing? Has the amount received as MMP come down? The truth is that in two years only 38.56 lakh beneficiaries of MSP have increased. The scope of MSP is getting bigger every year. The number of farmers taking advantage of this is increasing. There is a huge increase in the purchase of paddy, wheat, oilseeds and pulses every year. If MSP’s legal guarantee is necessary, then why delay in naming the committee to be constituted for it?
Can buying on MSP be stopped?
The Modi government has kept agriculture and farmers above its agenda. That is why for the first time, farmers are being given help for farming directly in their bank accounts. Farmers have been awarded Padma Awards for the first time. Since, 14 crore farmers are also a big vote bank, no government can take political risk by closing MSP or reducing its scope.
Agriculture expert Binod Anand is talking about something different from politics. He says that the apprehension of ending the MSP is baseless. No government can stop buying on MSP. There are some technical reasons for this as well. We cannot outsource the food grains we need for food security. The government will have to buy it from the farmers itself. The cheap food grains given to the poor under the Public Distribution System will also be bought from the farmers. Government procurement is also necessary to keep buffer stock for emergency.
Beneficiaries taking advantage of MSP increased
- Farmers benefited from MSP of paddy in 2015-16-7308416
- Number of farmers benefited from MSP of paddy in 2020-21 – 13112282
- Number of farmers benefited from MSP of wheat in 2016-17 – 2046766
- Number of farmers benefited from MSP of wheat in 2021-22 -4919891
how much did the purchase increase
- Paddy worth Rs 2,89,140 crore was purchased from 2009 to 2014
- Paddy worth Rs 8,91,557 crore was purchased from 2014 to 2021-22
- Wheat worth Rs 1,68,283 crore was purchased from 2009 to 2014
- Wheat worth Rs 4,50,789 crore was purchased from 2014 to 2021-22.
Story of MSP
- MSP is so that farmers get fair price for their crops according to their hard work and cost.
- Lal Shastri provided the facility of minimum support price to the farmers.
- For the first time in the year 1966-67, the minimum support price for wheat and paddy was fixed.
- To fix the price, the Central Government constituted the Agricultural Price Commission.
- Later its name was changed by the government to Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission in 1985.
- The MSP is decided by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). It does not have a statutory status.
- There is no compulsion of the government to implement the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.
- A-2: All payments made by the farmer, whether in cash or in the form of any commodity. Such as the cost of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, labor wages, fuel and irrigation.
- A2 + FL: In addition to A2, the wages for the hard work done by the family members in agriculture are also included.
- C-2 (Comprehensive Cost): This cost is above A2+FL. This formula for finding out the cost is universal. In this the price of the land is also added in which the crop was grown. Land rent, fixed capital used for agricultural work and interest on total agricultural capital are also added to this.
At present, the government is fixing the MSP by adding 50 percent profit over the cost. But the cost at which the MSP is paying is not based on the C-2 formula.
On which crops MSP is available
- The central government is giving MSP on 23 crops.
- Cereal crops: Wheat, Paddy, Maize, Bajra, Jowar, Barley and Ragi.
- Pulses Crops: Arhar, Moong, Urad, Lentil and Chana.
- oilseed cropsMustard, Soyabean, Sunflower, Sesame, Ram Til, Groundnut and Safflower.
- Commercial Crops: Sugarcane, cotton, coconut and jute.
The changing debate of MSP
Rural and Agrarian India Network (RAIN) President Prof. Sudhir Suthar says that before the Agriculture Act came, the debate about MSP was whether the money was being received according to the Swaminathan Committee or not. How much is the price increasing? But after the introduction of the Agricultural Reform Act, the debate changed. After that the farmers started feeling that if there will be no market then how will they get MSP. However, after the abrogation of all the three agricultural laws on 19 November 2021, the issue of MSP guarantee has now come to the fore. The system of MSP is so that the government gives the fixed price to the farmers despite the falling prices in the market. After getting this guarantee, the life of the farmers will become easier.