While farmers from Punjab allege that the new farm laws will end the MSP regime, the union government has continued purchase of farm products paying the Minimum Support Price declared by it. As part of the same, during the Kharif Marketing Season 2020-21, the government of India purchased various crops like paddy, cotton, pulses, oilseeds, cotton etc from farmers across the country, benefiting crores of farmers.
Despite the protests in Punjab, paddy procurement for Kharif 2020-21 season has been going on smoothly in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Jharkhand. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, 412.91 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) of paddy were procured as on 19th December, compared to 337.74 LMT in last year. Thus, paddy procurement under MSP has gone up by 22.25% this year despite the Coronavirus pandemic and the so-called farmer protests.
Out of the procurements of 412.91 LMT in India this year, procurement from Punjab alone was 202.77 LMT. Which means almost half of the total procurement, 49.10% to be exact, was made from Punjab.
Around 48.56 lakh farmers have benefited from the procurement at MSP totalling around Rs. 77957.83 Crore.
Apart from that, 51 lakh matric tonnes of pulses have bee procured from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh under the Price Support Scheme (PSS). Sanction for procurement of 1.23 LMT of Copra for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala was also given.
Approvals for purchase of Pulses, Oilseeds and Copra under Price Support Scheme (PSS) are being given to other states after receipt of proposals. Purchase of these crops can be made at notified MSP for the year 2020-21 directly from the registered farmers, if the market prices of those crops go below MSP during the notified harvesting period in the respective states and UTs.
Upto 19.12.2020, the Government through its Nodal Agencies has procured 1,95,899.38 Metric Tonnes of Moong, Urad, Groundnut Pods and Soybean having MSP value of Rs. 1050.08 Crores benefitting 1,08,310 farmers in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Similarly, 5,089 MT of copra with MSP value of Rs.52.40 crore has been procured benefitting 3961 farmers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, it may be noted that copra purchase last year was only 293.34 MT.
During the season, 57,83,122 bales of seed cotton valued at Rs. 16,865.81 Crore has been procured benefitting 11,24,252 farmers. Cotton purchases have been made at Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka.
Congress instigating farmers by peddling blatant lie that MSP will be abolished
It almost becomes imperative to note here that opposition parties, especially the Congress has been consistently misleading the farmers in Punjab by sharing some blatant and outright lies against the new farmer laws. Amongst other things, the Congress has been instigating the farmers that the central government, through its news farm laws, would abolish the Minimum Support Price (MSP). Which is an outright lie as seen by recent procurement of Kharif crops as per MSP.
The farmers have been, in turn, agitating at the outskirts of the national capital against Modi government’s farm laws assuming that the new laws mean that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) would be abolished.
Mandis will remain, MSP will be unaffected: Modi government
The central government has clarified a number of times that they are neither abolishing Mandis not repealing MSPs. Both the claims are lies. In fact, the Congress, in its own 2019 election manifesto, had promised to abolish the APMC Act altogether. However, the Modi government has only amended the APMC Act.
Modi government has not repealed the APMC Act in its entirety. The new laws passed by the current dispensation provides the farmers with an additional avenue to sell their produce besides the state-run Mandis. The provisions in the bills exempt transactions done outside the physical premises of APMC (agricultural produce market committee) Mandis from any “market fee or cess or levy” imposed by state governments.
PM Modi, government ministers and BJP leaders have asserted again and again that MSPs will continue. Rahul Gandhi and Congress, however, have been peddling the same lies again and again.