The central government had promised to form a committee to find a solution to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) issue with the withdrawal of three controversial farm laws to end the 13-month long historic farmers' agitation against the legislations. After that, the farmers who held the agitation under the banner of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha had left the borders of Delhi. But, while the present government at the Centre is in its final lap before the Lok Sabha polls after barely a few months, and farmer organisations are once again preparing for a Delhi march on the issue, the report of the committee headed by former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal is yet to come out.
It is difficult to say whether the recommendations of the committee will be implemented during the tenure of the present central government. A member of the committee told Rural Voice that so far 36 meetings of the committee members and groups and sub-groups constituted under it have been held. After this whole exercise, the committee can now finalise its report soon.
According to sources, the committee had largely agreed on the report a few months ago but it could not be finalized as some members differed in opinion. However, there are some members who did not participate in any meeting of the committee, while the posts reserved for the members of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha remained vacant as the Morcha did not join the committee.
A section of the committee members want that the monopoly of Agriculture Market Produce Committee (APMC) should to be abolished as a market opening exercise in marketing of agricultural products. But at the same time, the condition of not purchasing agricultural produce below the MSP should also be implemented. A penalty provision should be added in case of purchase below MSP. Along with the recommendation to enhance the role of Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) in government procurement is also the opinion of the members. The committee on the issue of MSP had been formed after agreeing to end the year-long peasant agitation against three agriculture laws.
The central government had formed an MSP committee headed by former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal. However, rather than limiting the scope of the committee to the MSP, it added topics such as the working methods of the CACP and natural farming. The committee was constituted on July 12, 2022 through a gazette notification. Its first meeting was held on 22nd August 2022. The committee has held several meetings in different parts of the country.
The committee's recommendations on MSP have not yet come but many farmers' organizations have demanded that the government not give legal status to MSP and add 50 per cent profit on C-2 cost for fixing MSP. The Morcha has announced a protest march to Delhi. It remains to be seen when the committee will submit its report. However, it is difficult to say whether the central government will implement the recommendations of the report.