The Minimum Support Price (MSP) committee formed four subgroups on mandated topics including making “MSP more efficient and transparent” at its first meeting on Monday, but Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) remained absent.
The committee, led by former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agrawal, discussed ways to ‘promote zero-budget agriculture’, ‘change’ cropping patterns keeping in mind the changing needs of the countries and to make the MSP more “effective and transparent”.
The panel has 26 members, including the chairman, while three membership slots are reserved for SKM representatives.
“After a day of deliberations, the committee decided to form four subgroups or committees on three mandated topics,” committee member Binod Anand told PTI.
Mr. Anand, who serves as the general secretary of the NCRI Farmers Group, said the first group will study the Himalayan states as well as the pattern of cultivation and crop diversification and how to ensure MSP support in these states.
The second group on micro-irrigation – which will be led by Sukhpal Singh from IIM-Ahmedabad – will explore how to make micro-irrigation farmer-centric. Currently, micro-irrigation is being driven by government subsidies and the group will look at how to generate farmer demand for it, he said.
The third group – led by a representative of the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) – will study “zero-budget farming”, including organic and natural farming methods, and generate consensus among farmers.
The fourth group – to be led by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) – with the Central Research Institute for Arid Land Agriculture (CRIDA) based in Hyderabad and the National Bureau of Soil and of Land Use Planning (NBSSLUP) based in Nagpur and another institute will study crop diversification and cropping patterns across the country and submit a substantive report, he added.
“The four groups will hold separate meetings and the final committee meeting will be held at the end of September,” Anand said.
He said that the SKM representatives were not present at the one-day meeting. Niti Aayog member Ramesh was also not present due to other commitments.
The SKM, which necessitated the creation of this committee on July 18 after leading the protest of farmers against three agricultural laws and forcing the government to repeal them, has already rejected this committee and decided not to appoint its representatives.
In announcing the repeal of three farm laws in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to set up a committee to look into farmers’ MSP issues.
Other members who attended the meeting included Agricultural Economists CSC Shekhar from the Indian Institute of Economic Development, Sukhpal Singh from IIM-Ahmedabad and Naveen P Singh, Senior Member of the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission (CACP).
Among the farmer representatives who attended the meeting were national award-winning farmer Bharat Bhushan Tyagi as well as Gunwant Patil, Krishnaveer Choudhary, Pramod Kumar Choudhary, Guni Prakash and Sayyed Pasha Patel. IFFCO President Dilip Sanghani was present.
Senior officials from agricultural universities, central government secretaries and chief secretaries from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha were also present at the meeting.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)