The state government’s plan to announce the formation of Krishi Upaj Mulya Ayog (Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices) has run into an objection.
The UP Council of Agricultural Research ((UPCAR), a government advisory body, has expressed its reservations over the proposed commission. It has said the commission will end up being just one more institution serving no purpose unless it is a full-fledged body constituted on the lines of the ones in Haryana and at the national level.
The government proposed the commission with the mandate to suggest remunerative prices for farmers by adding 50% profit in the cultivator’s input cost every year before the rabi and kharif seasons. The step was taken in the backdrop of the damage to crops caused by unseasonal rain and hailstorm, particularly in March and April this year.
“The state government had announced the current financial year as the ‘kisan varsh’ and the chief minister wants an announcement on the commission for farmers at the earliest,” sources revealed. According to government plans, the IIM-L director or the director of the Giri Institute of Developmental Studies may head the new commission as its chairman. An agriculture scientist, the director (agriculture) and a farmer may be among the members.
But in a dissent note sent to the government, UPCAR director general Rajendra Kumar has suggested that a noted agricultural scientist and not the IIM or Giri Institute director must head the commission that the government is planning to set up. Kumar pointed out that there already existed at least three similar bodies working for farmers under different names - the Price Advisory Council, the Farmers’ Profit Enhancement Commission (both headed by the chief minister) and the State Advisory Council (chaired by the agriculture minister).
“They work in isolation for the same cause,” says Kumar, suggesting, “Alternatively, all these bodies may be merged into one, putting in place an integrated commission for farmers with a wide range of powers and functions.”
Ironically, the government’s plan to set up the Krishi Upaj Mulya Ayog comes at a time when the farmers’ profit enhancement commission constituted by the same government a year and a half ago has not been able to hold even a single meeting so far.
“Headed by the chief minister, another body, the 16-member Kisan Aya Vriddhi Ayog (Farmers’ Profit Enhancement Commission) set up in January 2014 has not held even its introductory meeting,” said the sources. “Neither is a meeting scheduled at this juncture, though we have been regularly writing to the chief minister who is obviously not able to take time off his hectic schedule to convene the meeting,” they said.