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PM Modi’s Mann Ki Baat: Will ensure adequate returns to farmers, all input costs will be considered while fixing MSP

PM Modi sought to win over both sections in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat at a time when agrarian distress has been in sharp focus and a political realignment of opposition parties with Dalits, farmers and backward classes at the nucleus is being discussed.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2018 22:20 IST
Jatin Gandhi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mann Ki Baat,PM Modi Mann Ki Baat,Farmers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Mann Ki Baat address said while calculating the MSP, the input costs such as labour, expenditure on machines and animals, cost of seeds, fertilisers, irrigation, land revenue, interest on working capital, rent of leased land and even the labour cost of the farmer and his family will be considered. (ANI Twitter)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised on Sunday that the cost of every input will be factored in while calculating the minimum support price (MSP) for farm produce and said his idea of a New India by 2022 was aligned with Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s, signalling an effort to reach out to the Dalit and farmer communities ahead of next year’s general elections.

Modi sought to win over both sections in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat at a time when agrarian distress has been in sharp focus and a political realignment of opposition parties with Dalits, farmers and backward classes at the nucleus is being discussed.

The BJP suffered significant defeats in two Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur and Phulpur on March 14 when political rivals the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) came together.

Since the farmers’ protests in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur in June last year and a state-wide agitation by Maharashtra farmers for remunerative prices around the same time, different organisations across the country have been demanding that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) be calculated at 1.5 times the input cost as recommended by the MS Swaminathan Commission a decade ago.

NDA allies such as Ramdas Athawale of the Republican Party of India (Athawale) and Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party – both ministers in the Modi cabinet – have also demanded the government step in and challenge a March 20 Supreme Court judgment that ruled out automatic registration of FIRs and arrest in complaints under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.

Modi said he himself is an example of Ambedkar’s philosophy.

“Many people mocked Ambedkar, tried to pull him back and made every possible effort to ensure that the son of an impoverished and backward family does not progress in life, be something and succeed in life. But, the picture of New India is altogether different. It is an India which is Ambedkar’s India, of the poor and the backward,” he said.

“Today, the campaign of Make in India is progressing successfully in consonance with Ambedkar’s dream of India as an industrial superpower -- that vision of his has become our inspiration today,” the PM added, even terming the smart cities mission a “continuation” of Ambedkar’s vision.

Modi said his government has taken a decision in the budget to ensure the MSP is one and a half times the input cost for farmers. He said MSP calculations will include the labour cost of other workers employed, expenses incurred on own animals and cost of animals and machinery taken on rent, cost of seeds and the cost of fertilizer used.

Listing out the other costs factored in, he said these include “irrigation cost, land revenue paid to the state government, interest paid on working capital, ground rent in case of leased land and not only this but also the cost of labour of the farmer himself or any other person of his family who contributes his or her labour in agricultural work will also be added to the cost of production.”

“From Mahatma Gandhi to Shastri-ji, Lohia-ji, Chaudhary Charan Singh-ji, Chaudhari Devi Lal-ji – they all recognised agriculture and the farmer as vital aspects of the nation’s economy and also for the common man’s life,” Modi said.

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 12:39 IST