New Delhi: The Central government has hinted at softening the demand for minimum support price (MSP) of farmer agitators and called for the setting up of a committee. For this, some names have been sought from the farmers' organisations that can be part of the Committee. The procurement of crops at the scheduled MSP has always been a big issue for the farmers. Farmers, especially from Haryana, Punjab and west UP, have always raised their voices about it. But is this issue of MSP so easy for the Government and if so, why are the previous Governments avoiding guaranteeing it?
Krishnamurthy Subramanian, the chief economic advisor to the Government of India, says in an article that the implementation of the MSP will threaten to eliminate crop diversity. This will focus on producing only the crops on which the Government is guaranteeing fair price and there will be no risk. It will be a kind of burden on the taxpayers. The Government will procure more ration than required on MSP, which will be consumed in food subsidy schemes and maintenance of the rest of the ration is also a major problem. Apart from wheat and paddy, there are many other crops that may reduce their yield. He says that this is one of the reasons why we see the price rise of pulses and oil today. If MSP is applied to some crops, it will increase further. This may further inflame inflation.
On the one hand, the urban poor and lower-middle-class people are suffering a big loss, while the policy is not beneficial for small and medium farmers. Not only this, but the water level is also continuously falling due to the production of crops like paddy and sugarcane. Anil Ghanwat, a member of the panel set up by the Supreme Court to study three agricultural laws, says that if the government accepts the demand for MSP on 23 crops, it will put the country on the verge of bankruptcy. He also makes it clear that mandatory law on MSP is not possible.