Farmer stir: Now, RSS affiliate SJM wants legal guarantee for MSP

NEW DELHI: Farmers protesting against the newly-enacted agri laws on Sunday received support from RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) over their demand for a legal guarantee to make sure foodgrain purchase at minimum support price (MSP).

This is the second RSS-linked body after BKS to possess lent support to protesting farmers on the MSP issue. Unlike the agitating farm unions, though, these two bodies don’t want the laws repealed. The SJM passed a resolution at its annual convention on virtual platforms suggesting certain amendments, including a provision to form purchases below MSP illegal. The Centre has said it’s ready to provides a written assurance on the “continuation” of MSP.

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Sunday backed farmers’ demand for a legal guarantee on the continuation of minimum support price (MSP) for foodgrains, becoming the second RSS affiliate to do so. SJM co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan told that a legal guarantee on MSP might be given either through amending the prevailing farm law on agri markets or through a replacement legislation.

“We believe that legal guarantee to MSP are going to be not only important for farmers’ well-being but also crucial for the country’s food security. it’ll not increase inflation as certain economists have argued,” Mahajan said, adding, “We have examples of pulses whose procurement at higher MSP encouraged farmers to supply more, reducing the worth for consumers and also reduc ing the country’s import bill. So, legally guaranteed MSP are going to be a win-win situation.”

Experts, however, argue that the idea behind the reforms is to encourage private investment and trade, and official agencies cannot in any case procure all crops. The SJM also suggested establishment of ‘farmer courts’ on the lines of ‘consumer courts’ rather than empowering SDMs to resolve disputes arising from contract farming.

Though the govt in its draft proposal shared with farm unions has agreed to permit dispute resolution through an appeal mechanism in civil court, both SJM and BKS suggested a separate court to manage farming issues. The SJM’s resolution said the government’s intention in bringing new agricultural laws was good but some amendments were needed cover the drawbacks.