The government on Monday formed a committee on Minimum Support Price (MSP), eight months after it promised to set up such a panel while withdrawing the three contentious farm laws.
Former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agrawal will be the chairman of the committee. The government has made a provision to include three members from Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) as part of the committee but the farm organisation has so far not given any names to be part of the panel. Under the umbrella of SKM, thousands of farmers had held around one year-long agitation at Delhi borders and forced the government to withdraw the farm laws.
While announcing the repeal of three farm laws in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to set up a committee to discuss the farmers’ demand for a legal guarantee on MSP. The Agriculture Ministry issued a gazette notification announcing the setting up of a committee in this regard. The panel will comprise Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand, agri-economists CSC Shekhar from Indian Institute of Economic Development and Sukhpal Singh from IIM- Ahmedabad and Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) senior member Naveen P Singh.
Among farmer representatives, the committee will have National award-winning farmer Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, three members from SKM, and five members from other farmer organisations include Gunwant Patil, Krishnaveer Choudhary, Pramod Kumar Choudhary, Guni Prakash and Sayyed Pasha Patel. Two members of the farmers’ Cooperative and group include IFFCO Chairman Dilip Sanghani and CNRI General Secretary Binod Anand are also part of the committee.
Senior members of agricultural universities, five central government secretaries and chief secretaries of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha are also part of the committee. According to the notification, the committee will look at ways to make available MSP to farmers by making the system more effective and transparent. It will also suggest the practicality of giving more autonomy to CACP that fixes the MSP of Agri crops, and measures to make it more scientific.
Further, the panel will look at ways to strengthen the Agricultural Marketing System as per the changing requirements of the country to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic and export opportunities. Besides MSP, the committee will look at ways to promote natural farming, crop diversification, and micro irrigation scheme and suggest strategies for making Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and other Research and Development institutions as knowledge centres.