New Delhi: Amid ongoing farmers protest in the country, Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday announced that Congress will provide a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to every farmer on crops as per the Swaminathan Commission.
“Farmer brothers, today is a historic day! Congress has decided to give legal guarantee of MSP to every farmer on crops as per Swaminathan Commission. This step will change the lives of 15 crore farmer families by ensuring their prosperity. This is the first guarantee of Congress on the path of justice,” said the Congress leader in a post on social media platform ‘X.’
Tens of thousands of Indian farmers are marching towards Delhi to demand guaranteed crop prices, renewing a movement from two years ago that succeeded in getting the government to repeal farmer laws.
On Tuesday, police used tear gas, detained a number of farmers and heavily barricaded border points to block the protesters from entering the national capital.
Launching an attack on the BJP government, Rahul Gandhi said “Today, the farmers are marching towards Delhi. They are being stopped, tear gas shells are being used on them…What are they saying? They are just asking for the fruits of their labour. BJP Government announced Bharat Ratna for MS Swaminathan…But they are not ready to implement something which MS Swaminathan said.”
Why are farmers protesting again?
The main demand of the farmers is a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for all the crops.
The government sets the MSP for nearly two dozen commodities twice a year on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. Most of the crop procurement under MSP is from Punjab and Haryana which consists of wheat and rice produce.
The protesting farmers want a law that guarantees MSP on every crop. However, global prices, pressure on the government for procurement, export competitiveness and central expenditure are some of the reasons why the BJP-led government is hesitating in agreeing to the needs of the farmers.
Apart from MSP, farmers are demanding the passage of Swaminathan’s report. One of the main recommendations of the committee was to increase MSP to at least 50 per cent above the weighted average cost of production.
Other demands include better sugar cane prices, a pension of Rs 10,000 a month for every farmer above 60 years of age, stronger action against the accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and grant of land in Delhi for a memorial for the “martyrs” of the earlier farmers protest.