While numerous misled farmers continue to protest against Central government’s new farm laws, assuming that the new laws mean that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) would be abolished, Modi government has continued to procure Kharif 2020-21 crops at its MSP from farmers as per its existing MSP Schemes.
For the current year, the centre has fixed the MSP of paddy (common grade) at Rs 1,868 per quintal, while that of A-grade variety has been fixed at Rs 1,888 per quintal.
The Centre on Wednesday said that paddy procurement for Kharif 2020-21 has progressed smoothly in the procuring States & UTs of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Odisha Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar with purchase of over 350.29 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMTs) of paddy up to 07.12.2020. There has been an increase of 19.81 per cent in the total procurement as compared to last year, which had recorded 292.37 LMT of Paddy purchase.
What is interesting is that out of the total purchase of 350.29 LMTs of paddy, Punjab alone has sold 202.77 LMT till the close of procurement season in the state on 30.11.2020. This is said to be 56.93 per cent of total procurement in the country. Punjab ‘farmers’ have been protesting against the Modi government’s new farms laws for weeks now claiming that the new laws are getting rid of the MSP and mandi system.
According to information provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, about 37.38 lakh farmers have already been benefitted from the ongoing Kharif Marketing Season 2020-21 procurement operations with MSP value of Rs. 67,248.22 Crore as on December 8, 2020.
Paddy procurement commenced in Punjab and Haryana from September 26 due to early arrival of the crop, while in other states it began on October 1.
More than 80 per cent of the country’s paddy crop is grown in the Kharif season. The central government through Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies undertake procurement of paddy at Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare also informed that along with the paddy crop, the government has successfully been procuring other crops like Pulse, Oilseeds, Copra, Moong, Urad, Groundnut Pods, Soyabean seed cotton (Kapas) under MSP.
According to the information provided on December 8, 2020, the procurement operations of seed cotton (Kapas) under MSP are going on smoothly in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka. Till 08.12.2020 a quantity of 4152628 cotton bales valuing Rs.12150.84 Crore has been procured benefitting 8,05,262 farmers.
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.
As the government is neither abolishing Mandis nor taking back the MSPs, the claims about Mandi workers being jobless and MSPs being repealed are thus completely false.
In fact, the Congress is opposing the very same reforms that it has been promising to the farmers over the years.