Hitch in raising MSP for paddy at Rs 1000/qt unwarranted:Haque

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New Delhi, Jun 4 (UNI) Mr T Haque, until recently the Chairman of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) that determines the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for two dozen-odd crops, today accused the government of pursuing pro-industry policies and dole out any hike in MSP in a condescending manner without caring for farmers' economy, supporting 60 per cent of the country's population.

At the first public exposure at the protest rally of Punjab farmers at Jantar Mantar here after relinquishing his office a few weeks ago, Mr Haque said the MSP for paddy at Rs 1000 a quintal, which he had already recommended, should have been announced much earlier facilitating the farmers to plan the sowing of the crop presently underway.

Mr Haque, who had earned the ire of the government for recommending Rs 250 hike in the MSP of wheat for the outgoing harvest, said the MSP should be linked with the interantional price of the crop since India had opened up its agriculture market for global agricultural goods. The ongoing global price of even broken rice of Thailand is quoted at Rs 20 per kg, he added.

Obliquely speaking from his personal experience as Chairman, Mr Haque said there had always been differences among the various government ministries when the issue of determining the MSP for crops arose. "The MSP suggested by the Agriculture Ministry will be opposed by the Commerce Ministry and Finance Ministry so on and PMO continue to vacillate often", he said.

The former Chairman warned the farmers that the soft attitude of the government towards the multi-national companies and corporate houses would see one day the land slipped into the control of the big business and reducing of the farmers mere farm labour at their own lands." In fact, the ongoing scenario is reminiscent of British days when the farmers were made to grow same produce which are required as raw material for the industry", he said.

He said instead of demanding for a raise in support price of crops, the farmers should form their organisations to fight for linking the MSP with at least global prices, costs of production, and they should also struggle for the promised profit on the cost of proudction of crops.

Referring to the waiving of farm loans, Mr Haque regretted that the government had not taken into account the money lender's loan which was most torturous for the farmers and pushing them to suicide.

UNI JSS SV KN1717

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