By increasing the MSP of many crops, the Modi government has won the hearts of the farmers of the country.

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The minimum support price is announced by the government so that the farmers can get at least the full value of their cost. For the first time in the country, in 1966-67, the minimum support price was announced for the government procurement of wheat.

The Central Government has once again given a big relief to the farmers by announcing the minimum support price of 16 crops including two varieties of paddy and jowar of Kharif crop. If seen, compared to a decade ago i.e. in 2010-11, the MSP has increased several times, and the cost of agriculture has also increased. Among Kharif crops, the MSP of Sesame has been increased by Rs.805 and Moong by Rs.803. It is also being said that the prices of paddy, jowar, bajra, ragi, maize, arhar, moong, urad, groundnut, sunflower, soyabean, sesame, ramtil and cotton have been increased by more than 50 percent over the cost. . It can be considered a good thing that now the central government fixes the minimum support price of the crops i.e. the minimum rate of government procurement even before the sowing starts. However, the question to consider and one of the main reasons for the movement of farmers’ organizations was that the way the government declares the minimum support price, such a system should ensure that the prices in the mandi come down from the minimum support price declared by the government, only then without government procurement. Let it start with someone’s servant.

If this type of arrangement is fixed in advance, then the food provider can get full benefit of MSP. In fact, the moot question has become as to when the government procurement should start and of which commodity. In fact, especially for the Kharif food grains i.e. Bajra, Ragi, Maize, etc., the farmers face the most difficulty in getting the minimum price. On stressing too much, sometimes the purchase of millet starts and sometimes the demand just goes away.

The question is that when the government declares the MSP, then on the same day this system should also be ensured that the farmer gets the MSP amount declared by the government. For this he did not have to look at anyone. The reason for the most important dispute during the farmer’s movement was the guarantee of continuing the MSP system. The government has been claiming that the MSP system is not getting affected in any way. In fact, there is a special situation of controversy regarding the MSP system.

The minimum support price is announced by the government so that the farmers can get at least the full value of their cost. For the first time in the country, in 1966-67, the minimum support price was announced for the government procurement of wheat. The then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri constituted a committee for this on August 1, 1964 under the chairmanship of LK Jha. After this, the government took steps towards fixing the minimum support price for other major crops. The minimum support price of agricultural commodities started being announced by the Central Government on the recommendation of CACP i.e. Commission for Agricultural Prices and Costs. Today the minimum support price of 23 crops is announced in the country. In this, the support price of 7 wheat, paddy etc. grain crops, 5 pulse crops, 7 oilseed crops, 4 cash crops is announced. In cash crops, the government purchase price of sugarcane is recommended by the Sugarcane Commission, then the purchase of sugarcane is also done directly by the sugarcane mills. Similarly, cotton is procured by CCI i.e. Cotton Corporation of India. Mainly food grains are procured through Food Corporation of India and pulses and oilseeds are procured by NAFED through state cooperatives and other procurement centres. The Kerala government has taken an initiative to provide major relief to vegetable producing farmers by fixing the base price of 16 types of vegetables, while the Haryana government is also taking steps towards fixing the base price of vegetables like Kerala.

There has also been a major emphasis on the implementation of the most popular recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Commission for the farmers. The MS Swaminathan Commission, in its recommendation in 2004, while suggesting a formula for declaring the minimum support price, suggested that the MSP be declared at least 50 percent more than the cost of production. While recommending the MSP, the CACP recommends the MSP of each crop after assessing the cost per hectare, other expenses during cultivation, storage conditions, availability abroad etc. according to the crop in different parts of the country. Keeping in view the recommendation of the Swaminathan Commission in 2004, the Central Government decided to declare a price of 50 percent more than the cost of production in 2018-19. It is also worth mentioning here that under the MIS i.e. Market Intervention Scheme, arrangements have been made by the Central and State Governments for the purchase of crops that do not come under the purview of MSP. Purchase of garlic, purchase of onion etc. is an example of this.

If we analyze the procurement system on MSP in most of the states of the country, till a few decades ago the situation was completely different. It is clear that the procurement of wheat and paddy has been done by the government on a large scale and the main reason for this has been the smooth operation of the distribution system under the public distribution system and control over the market. As far as other crops are concerned, the procurement of food grains in most of the states of the country has been done by the FCI through marketing federations of the states through cooperatives and the purchase of oilseeds and pulses by NAFED under the same arrangement. There was a time when due to Rajasthan being the major mustard producing state, almost every year except one year, the need for procurement of MSP was felt. If we study the market system, it was a general perception and reality that whenever the prices of any crop started falling below the MSP in the market, the marketing federations of the states announcing the purchase, a slight rise in the prices was seen immediately. . Similarly, at the time of starting the procurement on MSP, it was believed that with a maximum of 25 to 30 percent procurement, the price of that crop in the market would be equal to or more than the MSP, and the reality was that ten to 15 percent procurement would have taken place. In the existing mandis, the prices used to almost come around the MSP. But in the last decade, the situation has changed rapidly. Believe it or not, but it is true to a great extent that the participation of private buyers has now increased in the MSP procurement system. This allegation cannot be denied outright that by purchasing their crops from small farmers at low prices and selling them on MSP at purchase centers in their name, middlemen have started taking advantage of the same in the name of farmers. This is the reason why such instances are common that in many places procurement of more than the total produce in that area is seen at MSP. In fact, like Punjab, Haryana etc., now in some places purchases are being made through others and the direct result of this interference can be seen in the form of complaints.

The question is that the central and state governments should make sure to make the MSP system flower-proof and start buying immediately as soon as the prices in the mandis go down from the MSP announced by the government, then definitely the food giver can get full benefit of this system. Along with this, concrete efforts should also be made to stop the way in which this system has been breached. Somewhere once again the market system will have to be studied that until the entire crop of the farmer does not come out, then what is the reason that the price of that crop does not come equal to the MSP in the market. The time has come to save the farmers from the market forces which have become active behind this. In fact, it is the responsibility of the governments to provide the benefit of MSP to the food providers, then it becomes the responsibility of the governments to remove the market forces affecting the system from the system. In such a situation, it must be ensured that the benefit of the MSP purchase system should be given to the food giver. That’s why declaring MSP matters, otherwise the dispute between the farmers and the governments will continue, MSP also cannot live up to its objectives in true sense.

-Doctor. Rajendra Prasad Sharma

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