Farmers MSP Issue: BJP MP Varun Gandhi will bring private member bill for legal guarantee of MSP, seeks suggestions from people by tweeting

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New Delhi
BJP MP Varun Gandhi, who has been vocal against his own party’s government regarding the farmers’ movement, has announced to bring a private member bill in Parliament regarding Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops. Gandhi, while tweeting the draft bill on Sunday, has also asked people for their suggestions on it. It has been said in the proposed bill that if a farmer is forced to sell his crop at less than the MSP, he will be entitled to compensation equal to this difference in price.

Varun Gandhi tweeted his proposed private member’s draft, writing, ‘The farmers and government of India have long debated the agrarian crisis within and outside the commissions. Now is the time for MSP Act. According to me, what kind of provisions should be in the law, I have prepared a draft and placed it in the Parliament. Any criticism on this is welcome.

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Highlights of the Bill

1. The Bill envisages guaranteed procurement of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for 22 crops. These crops are grown on a large scale in India with an annual financial outlay of one lakh crores in the country. This list of crops will be open for inclusion of agricultural products on need basis.

2. The Minimum Support Price (MSP) has been fixed on the basis of 50% dividend on the total cost of production. This value is based on the calculation of the actual cost of production, the equivalent value of unpaid family labor and the rent forgone for agricultural land and other agricultural equipment, as recommended by the Swaminathan Committee (2006). The Bill will provide that any farmer receiving a price less than the MSP is entitled to compensation equal to the difference between the price received and the guaranteed MSP.

3. The Bill provides for classification of different crops on the basis of quality parameters, which will ensure that farmers do not face distress sale if the crop does not meet the pre-determined quality. In addition, provision of agricultural credit against crop storage will be in addition to working capital for the next harvesting season and to reduce the risk of distress sales.

4. Farmers will be guaranteed to get MSP for their crops along with timely payment. The farmers selling the crop by the buyer will have to deposit this amount directly in the bank account within two days from the date of transaction. If for some reason the farmers do not get the MSP price, the government will have to pay the price difference between the selling price and the MSP within a week from the date of receipt of the matter.

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5. The Bill encourages crop diversification and recommends the most suitable crop for each block for cultivation so as to reduce the environmental cost to agriculture, especially in the case of groundwater. Obviously, this will help in promoting suitable cropping patterns for long-term ecological sustainability.

6. The price of the produce should be announced to the farmers two months before the start of the crop season so that they can plan their sowing in advance.

7. A separate department will be created in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to implement this proposed law. This department will be a separate decision-making body consisting of farmers’ representatives, government officials and experts in agricultural policy.

8. The Bill proposes to set up a well-organized procurement center at every five villages and creation of supply chain infrastructure (warehouse, cold storage etc.) so that farmers can uninterruptedly store their produce after harvesting. Make it easy to buy and sell them.

9. There shall be a provision for dispute resolution within 30 days from the date of registration of the complaint, with the aggrieved party reserving the right of access to the judicial system.

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