वेळा पाहिला 233
We take up a three pronged question - How many farmers actually benefit from MSP? Do only farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh benefit from MSP-backed procurement? Do only large farmers benefit?
With us are Devinder Sharma, well known farm policies’ analyst, and Hamir Singh, senior journalist and activist with a close understanding of issues impacting rural development and the imbroglio surrounding the three farm bills.
The debate grapples with certain claims put forth by the government and the advocates of the three farm bills. Experts like Ashok Gulati, a former chairman of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (2011-14) and a major player in building the narrative in favour of the farm bills, claims that rationality has become a victim to anger and hatred.
The pro-bill experts claim that in the post-bills scenario, the mandi systems (APMC) and the MSP based regime will face competition in the open market but that this will favour farmers. Their oft-quoted argument is that MSP benefits only 6 % of the farmers, a figure derived by the Shanta Kumar Committee based on the NSSO’s Situation Assessment Survey (70th round) of 2012-13.
Gulati and his ilk also claim that the total value of agri-produce procured by the government at MSP, including paddy, wheat, pulses, oilseeds and cotton, during 2018-19, was also in the range of 6%. The debate also has a passing reference to Gulati’s proposal to have a Rs 25,000 cr Price Stabilisation Scheme fund, if MSP falls by more than 10%.
The 6% figure has been thoroughly trashed by the likes of Reetika Khera (IIT Delhi), Sudha Narayanan (Intl Food Policy Res Inst IFPRI, Delhi) and Prankur Gupta (Texas Univ) among many others who have quoted statewise procurement data of FCI & the NSS Agricultural household data for 2012-13 to prove that the 6% figure (2012-13) relates to only paddy and wheat, and it is actually 14% to 16%. Also, the geography of MSP has changed as a result of Decentralized Procurement (DCP) Scheme. Now, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have a 10% share each in the total paddy procurement while MP’s share in wheat is 20%, surpassing Punjab.
We also ask if MSP can be made legal for just two crops? And why, in the name of God, are we using outdated data? Also, there is the crisis of survival of all species on this planet. How is that linked to the entire debate?
This episode#270 was first telecast on January 10, 2021. Feedback, suggestions welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for watching. DALEEL WITH SP SINGH is ordinarily telecast every Sunday at 8 pm on PTC News. Please check listings as TV channels often change schedules without notice, and since it may still change, do not bet your money on it.
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