MSP: Farmers threaten to be back on streets in support of their demands

MSP Was There, Is There And It Will Remain In The Future: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on February 8, 2021. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said the nation was proud of every Sikh and indirectly slammed those calling the protesting farmers as 'Khalistani' terrorists. (File photo : PTI )
One of the key demands of the year-long farmers’ protest was for a legally recognized Minimum Support Price for crop procurement.   File Photo : Reuters- Danish Siddiqui

We will force the BJP-led NDA Government to make a law that guarantees MSP for all farm produce, SKM Leader Darshan Pal said hoping that the MSP law would be in place before the 2024 general elections

By Prabhjot Singh

“Our agitation is far from over. We will not sit quietly till our demand of getting legal sanctity to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farm produce is conceded,” is the unanimous voice coming from farmers organizations especially those owing their allegiance to Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM).  They are contemplating to revive their agitation as they feel that the NDA Government at the center was dilly dallying on their demand for guarantying MSP.

Upset over ignoring their demand for constituting an exclusive committee to suggest ways and means of making MSP mandatory, the SKM has outrightly rejected the proposed 29-member committee by the Union Government on minimum support price. The issue came up before the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament where the ruling BJP refused to budge. AAP leader Raghav Chadha was on forefront in criticizing the 29-member Committee saying that by ignoring Punjab, the Government has played a cruel joke on the farming community in general and the food grain bowl of the country. Other parties, including Congress, took the Government to task over the discrimination with Punjab and its farmers in setting up the Committee. AAP and Congress leaders endorsed the stand of the SKM. The SKM leaders have been maintaining  that this committee as proposed was nothing  but a back door entry to corporates and yes men of the government to get the already repealed farm laws back in a new format. They held that they would not allow the government to serve “old wine in new bottles”. “We will force the BJP-led NDA Government to make a law that guarantees MSP for all farm produce,” SKM Leader Darshan Pal said hoping that the MSP law would be in place before the 2024 general elections.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha  leader also pointed that nowhere  in the proposed committee notification was any mention of providing  legal guarantee to MSP. “Even the agenda of the committee does not include provisions for making laws on mandatory MSP for all crops,” Darshan Lal said while  rejecting the committee downright.

The SKM had considered the proposal at its general house meeting on July 3 where it was unanimously rejected. Instead, the SKM said it was surprised at the Union Government proposal of loading the committee with those who had earlier supported the three disputed Farm Bills or were supporters of corporatizing the agriculture sector.

Even major farm states like Punjab and Uttar Pradesh were completely ignored in the proposed committee. The Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, however, questioned the SKM claims. He held that the government never told the SKM that it would constitute a committee to provide legal guarantees of MSP. Responding to a question in the Lok Sabha on whether the Government had assured the SKM for the constitution of such a committee in December 2021, Tomar  said: “The Government had assured the formation of a committee to make MSP more effective and transparent, to promote natural farming and to change crop pattern keeping in mind the changing needs of the country. Accordingly, a committee has been constituted consisting of representatives of farmers, Central government, state governments, agricultural economists and scientists, etc.”.

The government fixes MSP for 22 mandated agricultural crops and Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), after considering views of state governments and Central ministries and departments concerned and other relevant factors, Tomar said.

“The Government has increased MSPs for all mandated Kharif, Rabi and other Commercial crops with a minimum return of 50 per cent over all India weighted average cost of production from year 2018-19 onwards,” he added.

The Government on Monday, the opening day of the Monsoon session of Parliament,  set up a committee to look into issues related to agriculture, including making MSP more effective and transparent, crop diversification and natural farming, eight months after it promised to set up such a panel while withdrawing the three contentious farm laws.

The umbrella body of farmers’ organizations that organized an unprecedented  more than a year-long peaceful agitation to demand withdrawal of three central farm laws, also made it clear that it had no plans to nominate three representatives to the panel as suggested by the Union Government.

According to the notification, the committee will hold discussions on making available MSP to farmers by making the system more effective and transparent. It will also make suggestions to give more autonomy to CACP. The committee will also suggest  measures to make it more scientific; and strengthen the agricultural marketing system as per the changing requirements of the country to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic and the export opportunities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 19 last year had  announced  the repeal of the three controversial farm laws that triggered a massive farmer protest at Delhi borders. He also announced at  that  time that the government would set up a committee to make MSP more effective and transparent as well as suggest ways to promote zero budget natural farming. The SKM leaders held that they agreed to suspend  their agitation and return home after the government promised to fulfil their remaining demands.

The SKM wants those twenty-two crops  that include 14 Kharif crops—paddy, jowar, bajra, maize, ragi, tur (arhar), moong urad, groundnut, soyabean, sunflower, sesamum, niger seed and cotton—six Rabi crops—wheat, barley, gram, masur (lentil), rapeseed, mustard and safflower—besides  two commercial crops—jute and copra be brought under mandatory MSP control. In addition, MSP for toria and de-husked coconut be also fixed on the basis of MSPs of rapeseed/mustard and copra, respectively.

(Prabhjot Singh is a veteran journalist with over three decades of experience covering a wide spectrum of subjects and stories. He has covered  Punjab and Sikh affairs for more than three decades besides covering seven Olympics and several major sporting events and hosting TV shows. For more in-depth analysis please visit  or follow him on He can be reached at

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