Unless Centre acts, state govt helpless over demands of farmers in Rajasthan | jaipur | Hindustan Times
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Unless Centre acts, state govt helpless over demands of farmers in Rajasthan

While three organisations of farmers have warned the state government of agitation, there is little the government can do to meet their main demand of implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report as many of its recommendations come under the union government’s domain

jaipur Updated: Jun 11, 2017 23:28 IST
Manoj Ahuja
Women working  in their field in  Rajasthan’s Sikar.
Women working in their field in Rajasthan’s Sikar. (HT File Photo.)

While three organisations of farmers have warned the state government of agitation, there is little the government can do to meet their main demand of implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report as many of its recommendations come under the union government’s domain.

One of the main demands of the farmer unions is fixing the minimum support price (MSP) for procurement of crops at 50% above the cost price as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission. However, the MSP for crops is fixed by the union government. 

While some other recommendations such as improvement in irrigation facilities come under the state government’s domain, others such as the import duty issue is also a union government subject. “Ours is a sensitive government and we are open to the proposals of farmers, but the MSP is fixed by the union government,” said Prabhulal Saini, the state agriculture minister. 

Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, an organisation of farmers, has announced a statewide dharna from June 15 if the government does not meet its demands. Other farmer bodies including Kisan Mahapanchayat and All India Kisan Sabha have also warned of major agitation in the coming days. “Our agitation will be peaceful. We have written to both the prime minister and the state chief minister, but are yet to get any response,” said Kisan Mahapanchayat president Ramlal Jat. 

The main demands of the farmers are hike in MSP by 50%, pension for farmers aged 60 years or above, loan waiver, hike in milk prices and cash payment for their produce at mandis. 

Meanwhile, the Krishi Upaj Mandi in Pratapgarh, which borders Madhya Pradesh, is expected to open on Monday after remaining shut for a week. However, farmers have threatened to shut down the mandi and disrupt the supply of vegetables and milk if their demands are not met by June 15. Pratapgarh is 30 km from Mandsaur, where five farmers were killed in the police firing last Tuesday. 

Farmers in Jodhpur are also upset with the state government as the government agencies have not purchased mustard and groundnut crop at the MSP this season. 

The Swaminathan Commission report submitted in 2006 states that the major causes of the agrarian crisis are unfinished agenda in land reform, quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, access and adequacy of institutional credit, and opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing apart from adverse meteorological factors. It has also recommended formulation of a National Food Guarantee Act continuing the useful features of the Food for Work and Employment Guarantee programmes.