The coalition of agitating farmer groups All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has denounced the minimum support price (MSP) declared by the Central government as a diversionary tactic.
"The declaration is a raise of only 2.6 per cent and is too meagre to meet the needs of rising livelihood costs. Coming in the wake of bulldozing two anti-peasant pro-corporate, pro-MNC legislations through the Rajya Sabha, the MSP announcement is yet another diversionary tactic to camouflage the real anti Indian farmer intent of the Bills," the committee said.
According to AIKSCC, wheat which has an MSP Rs 1,925 per quintal is selling today at Rs 1,400 per quintal causing massive losses to farmers. "If the government is sincere to the farmers, it should come forward and offer to purchase wheat at its declared rate of Rs 1,925," they say.
In a statement, AIKSCC said that on two accounts, namely the diesel and petrol costs and electricity charges, the government has drastically increased the cost of living. "Taxes on fuel have been raised by more than Rs 11 per litre during COVID period and the new Power Bill, 2020 intends to withdraw all subsidies and charge all common consumers at Rs 10.20 per unit. Fertiliser subsidies have been withdrawn leading to rise in its cost and black marketing has increased. Other than that, costs of living, transport, education, health, etc have been rising with the government regularly invoking privatization. The peasant has to draw all expenditures from the earnings from his land. The 2.6 per cent increase is a cruel joke on the farmers," they allege.
The protestors, who have called for a national level lockdown on September 25, said that even the MSP announcement was done due to the pressure from the farmers. However, their long-standing demand to incorporate legal provisions to ensure compliance of procurement by the government at its declared MSP has been ignored.
"The MNCs will now purchase crops, bind farmers under contracts and force them to sell cheap. There is no legislation to protect the price of the crop or its sale at that protected price," AIKSCC leaders say.
The group reiterated its demand for immediate withdrawal of all anti-farmer legislations and a legal binding on the government to purchase crops at a declared MSP as calculated by the Swaminathan Commission (which is higher than the current MSP).