Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 7
Amid the ongoing agitation against the three agriculture Acts, the government is touching base with leading farmer representatives to put forth its point of view. Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday interacted with farmer leaders.
The meeting was moderated by Chairman of the Indian Chamber of Food and Agriculture MJ Khan. One of the key concerns expressed by them was that the MSP will go and their key demand was that there should be a law against purchase below the MSP. They wanted the two demands to be factored into the legislations, according to an official statement.
Responding to issue regarding making purchase below the MSP a punishable offence, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh however said it will hamper the functioning of the market and adversely affect the farmers. “If the quality of grains is not good the buyer will turn him back. But today the farmer is at least able to sell on negotiated price,” Singh was quoted as saying.
He added that “there is no reason for apprehension on this account and the MSP was never part of legislation”. Tomar added that the Centre has declared MSP after these legislations and the procurement is being done accordingly, hence there should be no confusion.
According to the statement, five Padma Shri awardees participated in the meeting along with five other leading farmer leaders. “All farmer leaders expressed confidence” that the legislations will be helpful to farmers and provide extra options as the current ‘mandi’ system is not adequate to serve them.
“In fact less than 20% farmers are able to access the current system of procurement by the mandi system and local traders. The current system is cumbersome and exploitative and as organised sector gets into the agri market, farmers will get more options to choose,” Padma Shri Kamal Singh Chauhan was quoted as saying. He was backed by Ram Saran and BB Tyagi from UP, Narendra Singh from Haryana and Jagdish Pareek from Rajasthan
Pushpender Singh, president, Kisan Shakti Sangh; Harpal Singh Grewal, Organic Movement; Man Singh Yadav, Chairman, Agri Board; and Bijendra Singh Dalal, president, Haryana Pragatisheel Kisan Manch also expressed confidence in the long term benefits of these legislations. They also hoped that farmer industry partnerships will actually benefit the farmers. Pushpender Singh, however, suggested that sale-purchase of MSP crops below the support price be made cognisable offence.
Agriculture Minister Tomar listed down benefits of the legislations in terms of private sector participation in procurements and partnerships for investments in infrastructure development, logistics, supply chain, processing, agribusinesses and trade, as per the statement.