Dear Chief Ministers (Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan)
I write to you today as you continue to negoitate with farmers to contain the rising protests in your respective states. While loan waivers, interest subvention, insurance and other forms of institutional credits, all of which deal with thousands of crores of money, are high on the government’s agenda, not much is being deliberated about the underlying issues the farmers are protesting about – remunerative prices for their produce.
I have anlaysed the prices for over a month now and found that certain states such as Maharashtra have been consistently low. The low prices are not just for the essential food crops but also for the commodities gauranteed under the MSP. Below is the data for June 14th 2017 as evidence for you to look into this further.
1) Cotton: MSP price is Rs 3860 per quintal and 12 markets across the country that had a minimum price less than MSP with the lowest as Rs 2500 per quintal in Tamil Nadu
2) Tur/Red Gram: MSP price is Rs 5050 per quintal and 79 markets across the country had a minimum less than MSP with the lowest as Rs 1109 per quintal in Karnataka
3) Paddy: MSP price is Rs 1470 per quintal and 104 markets across the country have a minimum pricec less than MSP with the lowest at Rs 1100 per quintal in Chattisgarh
Its just common sense, dear CM’s, that if the farmers can recoup their input costs, the farmers need not borrow and even when they do, they don’t have to depend on money lenders who are dealing with high interest rates. Please kindly look into
- Why the commodities in the MSP program are not gauranteed the minimum price?
- Why are the prices of vegetables like tomatoes, onions etc fall below Rs 5 per kg?
- Why is it that despite the low prices the farmers are paid, the consumers still pay a high price?
- Why is the focus not on food storage, distribution and transportation?
M.S Swaminathan, as you all know dear CM’s, had in his recommendations urged the need to fix the MSP. This was in 2006. So please don’t pretend ignorance and stop being indifferent to farmers issues and certainly don’t reduce the farmers to just mere vote banks.