Varun Gandhi to bring private member bill seeking law on MSP

New Delhi: BJP Lok Sabha member Varun Gandhi will bring a private member bill seeking legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP).

Varun Gandhi, Lok Sabha member from Pilibhit, on Sunday said that the time has come for a law on MSP.

Sharing the details of his private member bill on Twitter, Gandhi said, “India’s farmers and her governments have long debated the agricultural crisis, in and out of commissions. The time has come for an MSP law. I’ve created and submitted to parliament what I believe to be an actionable piece of legislation. I welcome any critique of it.”

Varun Gandhi’s private member bill envisages guaranteed realisation of MSP for 22 agricultural commodities grown extensively in India with an annual financial outlay of Rs one lakh crore and the list of agricultural commodities shall remain open for inclusions as needed.

The bill said that the MSP is set at a profit margin of 50 per cent over the comprehensive cost of production, which includes actual paid expenses on inputs, value of unpaid family labour, and foregone rentals on farmland and fixed agricultural assets, as recommended by the Swaminathan Committee (2006).

“Any farmer realising a price less than the above declared MSP price shall be entitled to compensation equal to the difference in value between price realised and the guaranteed MSP,” it said.

It provides for codification of various crops based on quality parameters, thereby ensuring that the farmers do not have to resort to distress sales if crops do not meet pre-defined quality criterion.

In addition, provision of agricultural credit in lieu of crop storage shall provide additional working capital for next harvesting season, further minimising distress sales. “Farmers will be guaranteed of realising MSP for their crops with timely payments. Payments shall be made directly to the bank account in two days from the transaction date (by the purchasing party). In case, MSP price is not realised, Govt to pay the difference in value between sale price and MSP within a week from matter is being reported,” it said.

The bill encourages crop diversification and recommends the most suited crop to be cultivated for each sub-district, thereby reducing environmental cost for agriculture (particularly with respect to groundwater) and promoting cropping patterns suitable for long-term ecological sustainability.

“Price announcements to be made two months before the start of the harvest season to help farmers plan their sowing in advance,” the bill said.

The bill suggests that a separate Department under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare shall be created for implementation of the said law. The Department is headed by a separate decision making body consisting of farmer representatives, public officials, and experts in agricultural policy.