Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala on Monday said most farmers in the country are in favour of the Centre’s new farm laws, and there is no need to bring the MSP under purview of law as demanded by the protesting farmers.
The BJP leader also urged the farmers, who are protesting at various Delhi borders since November 26, to return to the discussion table and find an amicable solution to the deadlock.
“The Minimum Support Price (MSP) is part of the government’s mechanism (to safeguard farmers from fall in agri produce prices) and it will remain in force in future too,” Rupala told reporters at the Gujarat BJP headquarters.
“In fact, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had first decided to introduce this MSP formula of agricultural cost plus 50 per cent profit as recommended by Dr Swaminathan,” he said.
Neither there is a need to bring a separate law for the MSP nor the provision is required to be included in the existing Acts, the minister said. “The MSP is being implemented by both the Centre and states, and there is no need to bring MSP under the purview of law,” Rupala said, when asked to comment on the demand for it from the protesting farmers.
He asked the opposition Congress why it did not make a law for MSP when the party was in power before 2014. “The recently introduced laws do not affect the MSP at all. These three laws were introduced for the benefit of farmers, not the government,” he said.
“Majority of farmers have welcomed these laws. I urge the agitating farmers to end the stalemate by holding discussion with the government to find an amicable solution,” he said.
The minister said the three farm laws were enacted “on the request of farmers and their organisations” and most of them are happy with it. “PM Modiji has taken many steps to double farmers’ income. As part of that endeavour, the Centre had deposited Rs 95,000 crores into farmers’ bank accounts,” he said.
There is no need for farmers to be skeptical about the PM’s intentions, he said. “Let the laws get implemented first. The government will take steps if something does not suit you afterwards. But, opposing the laws upfront is improper,” he said.
On one of the laws about contract farming, Rupala accused the Congress of “taking a lead in spreading false propaganda” that farmers would lose their land to big corporates due to provisions of the law.
This law is about the price and quality of the farm produce and about the tenure. There is no mention of land in the entire law, he said. “Yet, some people, led by the Congress, are trying to spread false propaganda that farmers will lose their land,” Rupala said.
He said the law about the APMC (agriculture produce market committees) only gives options to farmers and it does not eliminate the present system of mandis.
Farmers have been protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and
Farm Services Act, 2020; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.