New Delhi: Demanding immediate intervention from the Centre, Hon’ble CM of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik pointed out that Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a Central Government prerogative and despite repeated requests to the Centre, it has been ignored. BJD demanded that this was in line with the Swaminathan Committee’s recommendation and should have been actioned as committed in its manifesto in 2014 to increase the MSP by at least 50%.
The sit-in Dharna was attended by all BJD MPs, MLAs, panchayat representatives and farmer leaders and farmers of Odisha.
“The farmer is the soul of the Indian economy,” the Odisha Chief Minister said, addressing more than 10,000 farmers gathered at Talkatora Stadium. “I have gone to the Centre many times with this demand, but it has been ignored. It was promised by the BJP also in 2014, but they have forgotten their promise after coming to power,” he said.
Criticizing the Centre, Hon’ble Chief Minister said, “The BJP Government came to power with assurances of increasing the minimum support price of food grain as per the Swaminathan formula. The Odisha state assembly in a unanimous resolution requested the Union Government to fix the MSP of paddy at Rupees 2,930/- per quintal. All section of farmers of our state are agitating over this continuously without any positive response from the Union Government.”
Hon’ble CM of Odisha also highlighted that the MPs and MLAs have raised this issue several times in various forums including the Parliament but it has been repeatedly ignored and the price fixed by the Central Government at Rs. 1,750 per quintal for the current Kharif marketing season is unacceptable to the farmers of Odisha. The price has been fixed without giving due consideration to the request from Odisha Government. As the Minimum Support Price being fixed by Government of India for paddy is not commensurate with the rising costs of inputs like seeds, fertilizers, manure, micro nutrient, irrigation charges and hiring charges for farm machineries, the farmers of Odisha are deprived of getting a reasonable price for their produce.
Keeping farmers’ welfare at the fore, the Odisha Government has launched the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme, which would benefit about 92% of the farmers in the State. The state government has earmarked Rs. 10,180 crore for KALIA in 3 years. The scheme will provide financial, livelihood, cultivation support along with insurance support to small, marginal and the landless farmers. The state government also plans to irrigate 10 lakh hectares of land under the scheme. While KALIA scheme has been receiving appreciation and rave remarks from the experts and agri-economists, BJD feels it is time for the Central government to walk to the talk and revise MSP to help the farmers.
Yesterday evening Chief Minister of Odisha also led a delegation of senior BJD leaders to submit its memorandum to the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind.
Speaking on the occasion, BJD Minister, Mr Pratap Jena said,
MSP is not only the key distress elevating device, but also an important tool for income generation to the farmers. The present Government’s stand is unclear. They came into power with the promise of increasing MSP of paddy by 50 per cent of the cost of production and then filed an affidavit in SC on 21st February, 2015, saying they cannot increase the price as promised. Senior Ministers have since then been promising to increase the price since 2015 – so we demand immediate attention and clarity on the subject. The farmers of Odisha are completely disillusioned and feel the step-motherly treatment to them is unacceptable.
Minimum support price of paddy is not only the key distress alleviating device, it is also an important tool for income generation of the farmers. The increase of prices like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, petrol and diesel have a considerable impact on the cost of cultivation. According to an analysis, INR 2344/- per quintal is the standard input cost incurred by the farmers.
Keeping in view the above facts, the State Government of Odisha proposed to fix up the minimum support price of common variety paddy at Rupees 2930/- per quintal i.e. minimum of 25% margin over the cost of production to save the farmers from distress.
Odisha is basically an agricultural state and paddy is the major crop of the state which is cultivated over an area of 40 lakh hectares in a year. The crop is grown over all types of Agro ecological situation. There are some low line flood plains where there is no other option of raising any other crop except paddy. Among paddy processing state Odisha position is 4th. Basically, Odisha is an agro economy and MSP is a critical element that determines the economy of the state.