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‘Dilli Chalo’ to be resumed from today as farmers reject Centre MSP proposal

Despite the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann at the meeting with Union ministers, farmer leaders expressed disappointment at the lack of concrete action on their grievances.

New Delhi, EW News: The protesting farmers have decided to continue their agitation from Wednesday after rejecting the Central government’s proposal for MSP on only three crops, specifically pulses, maize, and cotton, stating that it does not adequately address their demands.

Meanwhile, the Centre stated that the farmers’ demand for MSP for all 23 crops would cost the exchequer a hefty amount of Rs 1.75 lakh crore.

Following a meeting held on Monday evening, prominent figures from various farmer unions, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Sidhupur) and the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, announced their decision to resume the ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest on Wednesday at 11 am.
Jagjit Singh Dallewal, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Sidhupur), expressed dissatisfaction with the Centre’s proposal, emphasizing the need for a legal guarantee of MSP across all 23 crops. “We stand by our demand of legal guarantee for MSP on all 23 crops,” Dallewal affirmed during a press briefing, underscoring the unwavering stance of the farmer leaders.

Sarvan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the urgency of their demands. “We will start marching towards Delhi. We should be allowed to protest. We have every right to launch an agitation,” Pandher asserted, highlighting the determination of the protesting farmers.

The farmer leaders criticized the government’s intent, alleging discrepancies in the proposed MSP framework. Pandher accused the government of attempting to implement contract farming under the guise of diversification, a move perceived as unfavorable to the farmers.

This is a reflection of the intent of the government. We want the government to propose all crops,” Pandher stated, emphasizing the need for comprehensive MSP legislation.

The proposal put forward by the Centre, which includes MSP for pulses, maize, and cotton through cooperatives, failed to garner approval from the farmer leaders. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, highlighted the benefits of diversification during discussions but faced criticism from the farmer leaders who deemed the proposal insufficient.

Despite the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann at the meeting with Union ministers, farmer leaders expressed disappointment at the lack of concrete action on their grievances. Dallewal lamented the ongoing use of force against protesters in Punjab and called for accountability from state authorities.

The rejection of the Centre’s offer by farmer leaders underscores the deep-rooted discontent among agricultural communities regarding MSP and related policies. The demand for a legal guarantee of MSP on all crops remains a central point of contention, reflecting the enduring resolve of farmers in their pursuit of economic security and fair treatment.

Meanwhile, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a coalition of farmer unions, reaffirmed their support for the ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest and rejected the Centre’s offer as an attempt to divert attention from their core demand for MSP based on the ‘C-2 plus 50 percent’ formula, as recommended in the Swaminathan Commission report.

What is the C2+50% formula?

The MSP established by the government for major crops is determined based on recommendations from the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The MSP calculation involves three formulas: A2, A2+FL, and C2. The A2 formula includes the costs incurred by farmers in cultivating a particular crop, including expenses for seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, labor wages, land rent, machinery, and fuel. A2+FL extends to cover all components of A2 as well as the value of the unpaid labor contributed by family members on the farm. The C2 formula comprises A2+FL in addition to costs associated with land ownership, rent, and interest payments on fixed capital.

The Swaminathan Commission recommended setting the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops based on the ‘C2+50% formula’. This formula involves not only covering the cost of production calculated under the C2 category but also providing an additional 50 percent on top of it, which is considered the profit margin for farming. This formula aims to address the economic challenges faced by farmers and encourage agricultural growth and sustainability.

Govt Proposes MSP Set at Minimum 50% Above Production Costs

The government’s proposal to ensure that the MSP is set at a minimum of 50 percent above the weighted average cost of production underscores the complexities of the ongoing talks between farmers and the Centre. This divergence highlights the hurdles encountered in reaching a mutual agreement, suggesting that prolonged deliberations are inevitable.

Previous rounds of discussions conducted on February 8, 12, and 15 have not yielded a consensus, with disagreements primarily centered around the enactment of a legal assurance for MSP.

Govt Cites Financial Constraints

Protesting farmers at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders continue to camp after security forces halted their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march aimed at pressuring the Centre to address various demands, including a legal guarantee of MSP for all crops and the implementation of recommendations put forth by the Swaminathan Commission. Additionally, protesters are calling for pensions for farmers and farm laborers, farm loan waivers, no increase in electricity rates, withdrawal of police cases against farmers, relief for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence of 2021, and the reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

The farmers are advocating for the Centre to enact legislation to establish MSP for all crops. However, the government argues that extending MSP to all crops would place a substantial financial strain on the national exchequer.



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