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Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

Govt forms panel for ‘more effective’ MSP, invites three names from SKM

The committee, headed by former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal, has 26 members including farmer representatives.

Ajay Vir Jakhar writes: While the committee has announced names of the representatives of other farmer groups, it has not mentioned the names of representatives of the SKM that led the farmer agitation against the three farm laws. (PTI/File)

Seven months after farmers ended their protest at the borders of Delhi after forcing the repeal of the new farm laws, the Centre notified a committee Monday to “promote zero-budget based farming” and to make the minimum support price (MSP) more “effective and transparent”. The terms of reference of the committee do not, however, mention any legal guarantee on MSP, one of the key demands of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha of farmer unions that spearheaded the protest.

A notification issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said, “As per announcement of Hon’ble Prime Minister that ‘A committee will be constituted to promote Zero budget based farming, to change crop pattern keeping in mind the changing needs of the country, and to make MSP more effective and transparent & that the committee will consist of representatives of the Central Government and State Governments, Farmers, Agricultural Scientists and Agricultural Economists.”

The committee, headed by former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal, has 26 members including farmer representatives.

According to the notification, the committee will provide “suggestions to make available MSP to farmers of the country by making the system more effective and transparent” and will also give suggestions on “practicality to give more autonomy to Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and measures to make it more scientific.”

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The committee will recommend measures to “strengthen the Agricultural Marketing System as per the changing requirements of the country to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic and export opportunities.”

According to the notification, the committee has been tasked to provide suggestions on 5 points regarding natural farming including “suggestions for programmes and schemes for value chain development, protocol validation & research for future needs and support for area expansion under the Indian Natural Farming System by publicity and through involvement and contribution of farmer organizations”.

The committee has also been asked to provide suggestions on 4 points related to crop diversification including “mapping of existing cropping patterns of agro-ecological zones of producer and consumer states; strategy for diversification policy to change the cropping pattern according to the changing needs of the country; arrangement for agricultural diversification & system to ensure remunerative prices for the sale of new crops; review and suggestion on micro irrigation scheme”.

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While the committee has announced names of the representatives of other farmer groups, it has not mentioned the names of representatives of the SKM that led the farmer agitation against the three farm laws. “Three members from Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (names to be added on receipt),” the notification stated.

Members of other farmer organisations are Gunwant Patil, Krishnaveer Choudhary, Pramod Kumar Choudhary, Guni Prakash and Sayyed Pasha Patel.

The other members of the committee are: Ramesh Chand, member (agriculture), NITI Aayog; agricultural economists Dr C S C. Shekhar (Indian Institute of Economic Development) and Dr Sukhpal Singh (IIM, Ahmedabad); national award winning farmer Bharat Bhushan Tyagi; representative of Farmers’ Cooperative/Group Dilip Sanghani, chairman, IFFCO, and Binod Anand, general secretary, CNR; Naveen P. Singh, senior member, Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices (CACP); senior member of agricultural universities/institutions: Dr P Chandrashekhar, Director General, National Institute of Agricultural Extension (MANAGE); Dr J P Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu; Dr Pradeep Kumar Bisen, Vice Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University, Jabalpur; Secretaries of 5 government departments/ministries including Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Department of Agricultural Research and Education and Director General (ICAR), Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Cooperation, Ministry of Textiles; and Additional Chief Secretaries or Principal Secretaries (Agriculture) of four states — Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha. The Joint Secretary (Crops) in the Ministry of Agriculture Ministry has been named Member-Secretary of the Committee.

First published on: 19-07-2022 at 04:44:58 am
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