SKM calls Delhi’s proposal on MSP an ‘Eyewash’, an attempt to break the farmers’ movement


  • February 19, 2024
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SKM has out-rightly rejected the proposal on MSP by the Union Ministers as a complete “eye-wash” and alleged that the Union government is trying to create divisions within the larger farmers’ movement and has made the proposal to sabotage their unity.

 

 Groundxero|19 February, 2024

 

Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a platform of over 500 farmer unions from all over India, which led the historic farmers’ movement in 2020-21 to repeal the three pro-corporate farm laws enacted by the Narendra Modi government, has out-rightly rejected the proposal by the Union Ministers at Chandigarh to have a five years contract with farmers to procure 5 crops namely Maize, Cotton, Arhar/Tur, Massur and Urad at MSP of A2+FL+50%.

 

In the fourth round of talks held in Chandigarh on January 18 with the leaders of Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) and the SKM (non-political), the two platforms that are leading the current ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest, the Union ministers had proposed that government agencies such as NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers Federation) and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) will enter into five year contract with farmers who grow pulses – arhar/tur, masoor and urad, and maize. The procurement of these crops will be done at MSP only from those farmers who diversify away from paddy and wheat.

 

KMM and the SKM (non-political) are yet to respond officially to the draft proposal on minimum support price given to them by the Union Ministers. After the last meeting on Sunday, the leaders said they are keeping on hold the ‘Delhi Chalo’ program for two days till Tuesday, and will announce their decision after discussing the proposal internally.

 

In an online press conference on 19 February, the SKM leadership called the proposals a complete “eye-wash.” They alleged that the union government is trying to create divisions within the larger farmers’ movement and has made the proposal to sabotage their unity. The government’s attempt is to mislead the public and damage the credibility of the ongoing farmers’ agitation to achieve legally guaranteed MSP for all crops for farmers all over the country. Hannan Molla, Yoginder Singh Ugrahan, Darshan Singh, P. Krishnaprasad, Raminder Singh Patiala and other farmer leaders were present in the press conference.

 

Replying to a question from Groundxero, SKM farmer leaders at the online press conference said that the centre is trying to shift the focus from minimum support price of crops to crop diversification and the leadership of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ also seems to be giving importance to that. They said that as a result, the interests of farmers from Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumarika, Rajasthan to Imphal will suffer.

 

In reply to another question, they replied that the SKM is not opposed to the Centre’s talks with the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest leadership. But they emphasised that SKM will not budge from its core demands. “SKM has established farmers’ demands as political demands in the last three years. It is the largest platform of farmers’ organisations in the country. The current BJP government is afraid of SKM’s movement and is trying to break the larger united farmers’ movement” they added.

 

The Indian Express in a report quoted Darshan Pal, SKM national coordination committee member as saying, “I strongly feel that the proposal is meant to divert and dilute the focal demands of farmers. They have given a proposal to purchase five crops at MSP—maize, cotton, arhar/tur, masur and urad dal. However, this proposal seems to be Punjab-oriented. What about the rest of the farmers?”

 

The current ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest program has not been called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), and neither is SKM part of the talks with the Union Ministers. But, SKM has strongly condemned the BJP-led Haryana State government for unleashing brutal attacks on the farmers currently agitating on Punjab-Haryana borders and also on the farmer activists within Haryana. The Punjab chapter of the SKM has called for 3 days of Day and Night mass protest in Punjab against MPs, MLAs, Ministers and District Presidents of BJP on 20-22 February 2024.

 

In the view of SKM, the proposal by the Union Ministers is to divert and dilute the demand of MSP@C2+50% for all crops with guaranteed procurement which was promised in the BJP Manifesto in 2014 General Election and originally recommended by National Farmers Commission chaired by MS Swaminathan and submitted to the UPA government in 2006.

 

In a press statement issued on 19 February, SKM said that the Ministers have not clarified whether the MSP they proposed is based on A2+FL +50% or C2+50%. It alleged that there is no transparency in the discussion though discussions have taken place four times. SKM said this is against the democratic culture established by SKM during the 2020-21 historic farmers’ struggle at Delhi Borders, when every point of discussions in the negotiations and the stand of farmers were placed for the public information by the SKM.

 

SKM has declared through the  press statement that nothing below MSP@C2+50% for all crops with guaranteed procurement is acceptable to the farmers of India, and if the Modi government is unable to implement the promise made by BJP, then let the Prime Minister be honest to tell that to the people, said the SKM.

 

SKM has demanded the Union Ministers to clarify why the Modi government is silent on the demands of loan waiver, no privatisation of electricity, comprehensive public sector crop insurance scheme, Rs 10000 monthly pension to farmers above 60 years age, dismissal and prosecution of Ajay Mishra Teni, Union MoS (Home) the main conspirator of Lakhimpur Kheri massacre of farmers among others.

 

In order to intensify the farmers struggle, to expose the anti-farmer policies and corporate corruption of the Modi Government among the people, with the demand of end the brutal repression on farmers currently agitating at Punjab Borders and oppose the dictatorial mindset of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SKM has given the call to organise peaceful demonstrations / public meetings/ torch-light processions in the constituencies of MP’s of BJP and NDA across India on 21 February.

 

Cover Image taken from Tractor2Twitter (Official Group) 

 

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