SKM refuses to nominate members for Centre's MSP committee, seeks clarifications

It said that SKM coordination committee member Yudhvir Singh had received a call from the agriculture secretary on March 22, inviting 2-3 names from the outfit for the committee.
Representational Image. (File | EPS)
Representational Image. (File | EPS)

NEW DELHI: The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Friday said it will not name its members for a committee to be set up by the Centre over the Minimum Support Price (MSP), unless its mandate is known.

The SKM, an umbrella organisation of farmers' unions, on March 21 had held a nationwide protest against Centre for its alleged failure to come good on its promises, including one on the formation of the committee on MSP.

"SKM declines to name its nominees for the committee unless its mandate and terms of reference are known," said a statement issued by SKM leaders.

"Unless we are fully aware of the nature and agenda of this committee, it would not be worthwhile to participate in any such committee," it said.

It said that SKM coordination committee member Yudhvir Singh had received a call from the agriculture secretary on March 22, inviting 2-3 names from the outfit for the committee.

However, the outfit said, the verbal communication failed to clarify crucial details about the committee such as its constituent members and its mandate.

In an e-mail to the agriculture secretary on March 24, the SKM had sought information about the committee's terms of reference, names of organisations and individuals who will be part of it, the name of the committee's chairman, and whether its recommendations will be binding on the government.

The SKM, which represents 40 farm unions, had spearheaded a year-long agitation against three farm laws which ended on December 9 last year.

The stir was suspended after the government revoked the contentious laws and agreed to consider its other demands, including MSP and withdrawal of cases registered against farmers during the protest.

Meanwhile, BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Friday introduced in Parliament a private member Bill to make MSP a legal right for farm produce while Congress' Shashi Tharoor came up in the Lok Sabha with a Bill to repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The Farmers' Right to Guaranteed Minimum Support Price Realization of Agricultural Produce Bill, 2022, was introduced by Gandhi to confer upon every farmer the right to realise a minimum price for their agricultural produce and matters connected with it.

The BJP MP from Pilibhit had publicly supported the farmers during their agitation last year had suggested the government engage with them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2021 announced the repeal of the three contentious farm laws -- Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 -- following protests by farmers for about a year.

Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (Amendment of section 2, etc.) was introduced by Congress MP Abdul Khaleque.

Tharoor moved the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Repeal Bill, 2022, to annul the UAPA.

He also introduced a Bill to provide for the protection, preservation, promotion and sustainable development of India's traditional knowledge and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

BJP's Rajendra Agarwal introduced the Population (Stabilization and Control) Bill, 2021.

It proposes measures and methods to control the population and a comprehensive policy toward stabilizing India's population, promotion of schemes that incentivise the small family norm, establishing a National Population Control Authority and creating awareness about family planning.

He also moved a private member Bill to amend the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.

C P Joshi of the BJP introduced a Bill to provide special financial assistance to the Government of Rajasthan to meet the costs of repair, renovations, rejuvenation, preservation and protection of water bodies in the state.

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