Farmers expressed their disappointment over the 2 per cent hike in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of rabi crops, increasing the wheat MSP by mere Rs 40 for the 2022-23 season. They rejected the new prices, terming them “grossly inadequate” and the lowest in the last 12 years.
The government decides the MSPs for the 23 crops in the Rabi season (winter) as well as the Kharif season (summer), which is a fixed rate at which it will purchase the grains from the farmers.
The unions remarked that this is actually a 4 per cent slash in the prices as compared to the previous year since the prices for Rabi crops have been increased to over 8 per cent in the past.
They added that this would not even meet the input costs of the farmers, hence the government has taken “revenge” for the protest. The increased price for wheat is Rs 2,015 per quintal and the MSP for mustard seed has been increased to Rs 5,050 per quintal, a Rs 400 hike.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting and decided to raise the prices. The MSP increase has been praised by the BJP leaders as they termed it as “another step taken towards doubling the income of farmers by 2022”.
A farm leader from Punjab, Jasveer Singh Burj Sema said that the Centre has been trying to fool the farmers. “It has increased the MSP of mustard, Masur, gram, and barley, but who purchases these crops on MSP as these are sold at very low prices.
So, until these crops are procured by the government, farmers won’t get any benefit. If the government wants to help farmers, it should guarantee MSP on all crops,” he added.
The senior vice-president of the Punjab Kisan Union (PKU) Gora Singh Bhainibagha dismissed the decision as well, saying that inflation, which is affecting every aspect of farming from urea to tools, is not reflected in the MSP. “In September last year, diesel was at Rs 70. It is now over Rs 91 a liter.
While the government did not increase the urea price, while last year we could get a 50-kg bag of urea for Rs 250, now we only get a 45-kg bag at the same rate. From Rs 250-300 per liter last year, the prices of insecticides and pesticides have shot up to Rs 350-450 a liter. Prices of tractors and other farming equipment have also increased,” he said. Gora Singh is a farmer from Mansa.
Many leaders from the Unions in the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) have come out to highlight the inconsistency in the comprehensive costs as used by the government. The inflation rate has been 6 per cent, and the leaders pointed out that the increase in the MSP of wheat has been 2 per cent.
In the case of safflower, it has been 2.1 per cent, 2.2 per cent for barley, and 2.5 per cent for gram. The calculations, according to the analysis of ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture), say that the actual MSP has been reduced by 4 per cent, 3.5 per cent, 3.8 per cent, and 3.5 per cent respectively.
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