Farmers protest at Delhi borders gets stronger as it crosses the three-month mark. Agitation shows no signs of abating.
Diversification in Punjab and Haryana Not Possible If MSP Not Extended To Other Crops
While supporters of the three farm laws claim that laws are necessary, keeping in mind the water crisis and farmers’ welfare, farmers argue that they were drafted in the commercial production of wheat and rice to ensure food sufficiency. That said, it is the government’s job to instil confidence among farmers to adopt crop diversification by giving them adequate subsidies and, more importantly, the Minimum Support Price.
Government Ready To Resume Talks
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government is ready to discuss with farm unions. On second anniversary of the PM KISAN Yojana, he said that government had been sympathetically holding talks with farm unions. The government is still ready to talk if the farm unions accept the proposal of suspending the laws for 18 months. The government and farm unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far. The last one was on 22nd January 2021
Highlighting the scheme’s achievements, he added that the government had transferred ₹1.15 lakh crore to more than 10.75 crore farmers till now.
MSP To Benefit Small Farmers If Properly Implemented
Devinder Sharma, food and trade policy expert, explains how farmers have been denied their rightful income for a long time. A study (2008) by OECD says that Indian farmers lost Rs 45 lakh crores between 2010 and 2016-17. Besides, another report by Economic Survey revealed that farming families in 17 states of India, on average, earn Rs 20,000 annually. About only wealthy farmers getting the MSP benefit, he explains that 86% of India’s farmers have less than 5 acres, whereas only 4% have large landholdings. Hence, small farmers will be the ones to benefit the most from MSP if implemented properly.
In all, there is a need to stop being contemptuous about the farming community. Like everyone else, farmers, too, need assured income. Taking the protest in some other direction has to stop. People need to understand why such a huge number of farmers have been camping at Delhi Border for more than 95 days now and call executives to make corrections. As a farmer from Punjab says, ‘We just want to sell our crops at a fair price. Is it too much to demand?’