July 31, 2022

Samyukta Kisan Morcha Rejects the Govt Committee on MSP

SAMYUKTA Kisan Morcha, a front of a large number of farmers’ organisations, rejected the committee formed by the central government on MSP and other issues. The SKM said, “it will appoint no representatives in the committee.”

In a press release issued by the SKM, it stated, “There is no scope to discuss the MSP law in the agenda of this committee full of government representatives and its loyalists.” The SKM said that all its apprehensions about this committee turned out to be true; Morcha cannot have any association with such an anti-farmer committee.

SKM had made public its doubts about any such committee ever since it was announced by the prime minister along with the repeal of the three black laws on November 19. In the month of March, when the government had asked the Morcha for names for this committee, the Morcha had sought clarification from the government about the committee, to which it never got a reply.

On July 3, the national meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha unanimously decided that “unless the government clarifies the jurisdiction and terms of reference of this committee, there is no point to nominate a representative of the SKM to this committee”. All the doubts of Samyukta Kisan Morcha about this committee have come true with the notification issued by the government. “Obviously, there is no rationale for sending representatives of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha to such an anti-farmer and meaningless committee,” the Morcha asserted.

When the government had asked the Morcha for the names for this committee, in response to it, in an email sent to the agriculture secretary on March 24, 2022, the Morcha asked the government:

o What will be the TOR (Terms of Reference) of this committee?
o Apart from Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which other organisations, individuals and office bearers will be included in this committee?
o Who will be the chairperson of the committee and what will be its functioning?
o How much time will the committee get to submit its report?
o Will the recommendation of the committee be binding on the government?

The government did not respond to these questions. Yet the agriculture minister kept making statements that the formation of the committee was stalled due to the non-receipt of the names of the representatives from the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.

By announcing this committee before the parliament session, the government has tried to complete the paperwork. But the notification makes clear the ill-intentions of the government behind this committee and the irrelevance of the committee:

•        The chairman of the committee is former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal, who drafted all three anti-farmer laws. He is accompanied by Ramesh Chand, a member of NITI Aayog, who was the main advocate of these three laws. As experts, it is the economists who have been against giving legal status to MSP.
•        Space has been left for three representatives of Samyukta Kisan Morcha in the committee. But in other places, in the name of farmer leaders, the government has placed its five loyalists who openly advocated all three anti-farmer laws. All these people are either directly associated with BJP-RSS or support their policy. Krishna Veer Choudhary is associated with the Indian Farmers’ Society and is a leader of the BJP. Syed Pasha Patel is a former BJP MLC from Maharashtra. Pramod Kumar Choudhary is a member of the national executive of the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. Gunwant Patil, associated with the Shetkari organisation, is a WTO advocate and general secretary of the Swatantra Bharat Paksh Party. Guni Prakash has been a pioneer in opposing the farmers’ movement. These five people spoke openly in favour of all three anti-farmer laws and most of them have been spewing venom against the farmers’ movement.
•        There is no mention of making a law on MSP on the agenda of the committee. That is, this question will not be placed before the committee. Some items have been put on the agenda on which the government committee is already established. In the name of reforms in agricultural marketing, an item has been inserted through which the government can try to bring back three black laws.

“In the light of these facts, there is no rationale for Samyukta Kisan Morcha to send its representatives to this committee,” the SKM asserted.
“The struggle for the legal guarantee of MSP to ensure a fair price for the crop to the farmers will continue,” the Morcha claimed.
The statement was jointly signed by Darshan Pal, Hannan Mollah, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Yudhveer Singh, and Yogendra Yadav.