RSS-affiliated farmers’ group plans nationwide protest on Sept 8
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, on Thursday emphasised that the government must ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce to cover their production costs, which they are not getting in the existing system. With this demand, the BKS would hold a nationwide stir on September 8.
At a press conference, the Sangh outfit said the Narendra Modi government should either bring new legislation or make changes in the farm laws enacted last year to add a provision for the payment of minimum support price (MSP) for major farm produce in the country.
Explaining what it means by “remunerative price”, BKS national organising secretary Dinesh Kulkarni told mediapersons that it is the cost of production plus profit — something that the protesting farmers have been demanding as well. “Remunerative price is the right of farmers, which should be facilitated by the government,” said Kulkarni and pointed out that the MSPs announced by the government are not remunerative.
Farmers mainly from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and joined by those from other states, under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha, have been protesting at the borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three farm laws — Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Several rounds of talks between the Centre and the farm unions have failed to end the deadlock.
Kulkarni said a section of the farm leaders deviated from farmers’ interest for their personal agenda. “They should not close the door for dialogue with the government on MSP,” he said. Kulkarni said the nature of the agitation on the Delhi border changed after January 26, when the agitation turned violent. After that, dialogue with the Centre stopped, he said.
The BKS leader also said that the three new farm laws do not have any clause about ensuring MSPs or remunerative prices for agricultural commodities, and the government should make guidelines in respect of contract farming where crops are not purchased below MSP. This should be at least implemented for the 23 crops that currently have MSP cover, he added.
The BKS also expressed its reservation about changes in the Essential Commodities Act that offer huge exemptions to big companies by allowing them to stock some commodities as much as they want to promote business. This needs to be corrected, Kulkarni said.