AT HTLS 2020, Nirmala Sitharaman says MSP for farm produce will continue

Amid the raging farmers’ protests against the new farm laws, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government intends to continue the minimum support price (MSP) mechanism for farm produce.

At the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Friday, she said she is hopeful of a solution to current imbroglio.

“If there are some farmers who have doubts and want to speak about it, I am glad the agriculture minister is sitting and engaging in meaningful conversation with them with an open heart.I am sure something will come out of it,” she said during a conversation with Hindustan Times editor-in-chief Sukumar Ranganathan.

Asked whether the government should write MSP into law to pacify the farmers, she said, “The negotiations are going on so I am not sure it would be good for me to comment at all.”

But she stressed that the government takes MSP very seriously and has the farmers’ interests at heart.

“Between 2014 and 20, compared to a similar number of years previously, we have proven that we take MSP seriously. We procure under MSP, much more than what the earlier governments had done. We have given the farmers a lot more money under MSP than what was done before.”

Sitharam said the MSP mechanism would continue.

“The Prime Minister’s recent speech in Kashi elaborates on how MSP has been used by this government to the benefit of the farmers .. It proves the government’s intention that MSP continues and APMC continues,” she said.

The ongoing talks have not softened the farmers stand. They have called for a Bharat Bandh on December 8 if their demands are not met and the three farm laws – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 – are not withdrawn.

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