New Delhi: In what can be seen as a move to calm down angry farmers of Punjab and Haryana protesting against the Farm Bills 2020 while also trying to counter opposition’s charges of the bills and NDA government being “anti-farmer”, the Union Cabinet is likely to increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops in its meeting on Monday.Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Drives Tractor to Parliament to Protest Against Farm Laws | Watch
The two contentious bills – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 — were passed amid opposition protests in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday and are now set to be sent to the President for his assent. Also Read - Meenakshi Lekhi Apologises After Backlash For Calling Protesting Farmers 'Mawali'
The opposition has been claiming and farmers are afraid that the bills will eventually lead to ending the concept of MSP even though the Centre has repeatedly said that the MSP system will not be altered and farmers will continue to be able to sell their produce to the government. Also Read - Protesting Farmers End First Day of 'Kisan Parliament' at Jantar Mantar, Govt Invites Them For Talks | 10 Points
Hence, farmers’ protests are on despite government assurances and as per reports, the cabinet is likely to approve increased MSP for the 2020-21 Rabi season in an attempt to win their trust.
The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices has proposed an increase of Rs 85 per quintal for wheat in the MSP.
The MSP for wheat in 2019-20 was Rs 1,840 per quintal, which is now being raised to Rs 1,925 per quintal. Also, MSP for barley in 2019-20 was Rs 1,440 per quintal, which is now being raised to Rs 1,525. The MSP for gram in 2019-20 was Rs 255 per quintal, which is now being raised to Rs 4,875. The highest rise in MSP is expected to be in the category of lentils.
A large number of farmer bodies across Punjab and Haryana have called for multiple protests in the coming days, including a complete bandh on September 25, against the two agriculture bills despite the government saying that the bills will only make it easier for farmers to sell their produce directly to big buyers.