msp: Congress calls for law guaranteeing MSP for crops, says want to make farmers ‘debt-free’

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The Congress on Saturday called for enacting a law guaranteeing minimum support price (MSP) for crops and said its aim is to ensure that farmers are “debt-free”. Addressing a press conference on the second day of the ongoing ‘Chintan Shivir’, senior Congress leader and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also said the party would strongly oppose any move by the government to bring back the three farm laws that were repealed earlier.

Hooda, who is the convener of the group deliberating on agriculture and farmers’ issues at the shivir, said key issues before the committee included a law for guaranteeing MSP to farmers, climate change’s effect on agriculture, “poor” implementation of the government’s crop insurance scheme and institutional credit investment.

There is also a proposal to demand setting up of a national farm debt relief commission to suggest ways and solve debt-related grievances of farmers through conciliation and negotiation as done in the case of industrial loans, Hooda said.

Agriculture should be treated at par with industry as far as banking is concerned, he said.

“Our aim is to go from loan waiver to making farmers debt-free. How will we do that? …whether there should be legal guarantee on MSP. The consensus is that there should be legal guarantee for it. This is the demand from all kisan unions and as a farmer I also believe that it should be there,” Hooda said.

He said the NDA government promised to double income of farmers, but doubled their debt instead.

The debt of farmers that stood at Rs 9.64 lakh crore on March 31, 2014 is now Rs 16.8 lakh crore, he said, adding that no relief was provided to farmers by the Centre.

He said the Congress-led state governments provided loan waiver to farmers from time to time and mitigated their problems.

He said MSP should be based on the Swaminathan Commission’s C-2 formula and it has to be extended to all agricultural produce.

Chhattisgarh minister T S Singhdeo talked about various farmer-friendly measures of the Congress government in the state.

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