Farmer leaders said that the recent increase in the minimum support price (MSP) for crops is "farcical" in the absence of a mechanism which will make farmers able to get a base price which covers their costs.
Darshan Pal, President, Krantikari Kisan Union said: "The Government of India's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today announced Minimum Support Prices for Kharif 2021 crops. Instead of using Comprehensive Cost (C2_ as the cost concept on which a profit margin of at least 50% will be added, the government continued with its old trickery of using Paid Out Costs+imputed value of Family Labour, which is known as the A2+FL formula."
"Further, increases ranged from as low as twenty rupees a quintal for Maize, compared to last year (which is not even equal to inflation rates). Importantly, while MSPs are announced, there is no mechanism that guarantees that every farmer can discover at least the MSP as the floor price in their market interfaces. Therefore, this is a meaningless concept as far as farmers are concerned, and that is why this movement has been asking for a statutory entitlement for all farmers so that a remunerative MSP can be ensured for all farmers," he added.
Meanwhile, farmers continue to protest at Delhi's borders against an "anti-farmer" establishment.Kanwaljeet Kaur is vocal and sharp as she goes on to narrate the journey of the farmers, from ordeals to their hopes. Kaur says that she and her friends campaigned in the scorching heat to mobilise farmers after the harvesting season in Punjab’s Amritsar district. After days of campaigning, she, along with 150 farmers holding red flags, reached Singhu Border, Delhi’s north-west entry point on Wednesday, where farmers have been campaigning for more than six months in protest against three central Farm Laws.
Speaking to Newsclick she says that the morale of farmers remains high despite them having been blacked out by news channels and the government using every means necessary to stifle their voice. "We are building permanent toilets and bathrooms here because we all know that it’s a long struggle now and we will have to go the extra mile to defeat this irresponsible government; the fight has gone beyond the question of agriculture. First they were privatising every single public sector undertaking which essentially means that there are no jobs for our children. Second, the plunder has not stopped even when people were literally dying during the pandemic. In Punjab too the private sector hospitals are fleecing people in the name of vaccinating them," she said.
When asked about PM Modi missing out on touching upon farmers in his recent address to the nation, she replied: "He is more interested in optics. He always assesses the situation and looks at the perfect time to push his image of a benevolent, saviour leader. Where did he hide when people needed him the most?”
Contingents similar to Kaur’s from the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Krantikari Kisan Union and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Kadian) kept arriving on the day. Samyukta Kisan Morcha – a collective of farmers’ organisations – came down heavily on the government where a senior Niti Aayog official suggested that the talks would resume when farmers specifically spoke of contentious provisions.
Prof. Ramesh Chand, in an interview, had reportedly said: "As long as they (farmers) stick to repealing those three farm laws, then what kind of talk can be held…So, there should be some signal from the farmer's side that they are willing to discuss all matters and they are willing to point out what are the deficiencies of these laws as the government has already asked them that whatever is wrong with these laws.”
Responding to the comments, Hannan Mollah from the SKM said: "It appears that Dr. Ramesh Chand, who works in an advisory role to the government, has not updated himself about the eleven rounds of talks that were held between the government and the farmers' representatives till January 22, 2021, wherein fundamental deficiencies with the laws have already been presented to the government. With such fundamental flaws, the laws cannot be improved here and there.”
"His statement is also in contrast to what Agriculture Minister Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar said, that talks can resume if farmers come forward with 'any proposal as an alternative to repeal'. This latter position is something that is not asking for deficiencies to be pointed out, since these have already been pointed out, but about a face-saving option to be provided for the government. At a time when this farmers' agitation is going to complete nearly 200 days of protests at Delhi's borders and when 502 farmers have sacrificed their lives, we condemn this attitude of the government. While the Prime Minister superciliously says that the government is just one call away, the real anti-farmer attitude of the government is very apparent. Protesting farmers repeat and reiterate once again that the government's attitude is unjustifiable and unreasonable, and is resting on ego and optics-games. Farmers demand a full repeal of the three central laws and a new legislation to guarantee MSP for all farmers," he added.