Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that the minimum support price (MSP) will continue. It will not be withdrawn under any circumstances. People are spreading unnecessary rumours.
Speaking to reporters in Chennai today, she said MSP had been introduced only for rice and wheat initially, despite the fact that about 20-22 commodities had been notified. The mechanism was later extended to other agricultural produce after the BJP Government took over in 2014. These included coarse grains, oil seeds and spices, as the intention was also to reduce dependence on imports.
It has brought a distortion in the agriculture sector as many farmers shifted from other crops to the cultivation of paddy and wheat, said the Minister.
Speaking about the three reforms of agricultural laws, Sitharaman said they would increase the prospects and welfare of farmers.
At present, farmers can decide the price of the produce and to whom they sell it to. They can also do inter-state sales. State agricultural markets have not changed. She noted that farmers were paying 8-8.5 per cent taxes and costs in various forms for inter-state sales, including mandis fees and payouts to intermediaries. Now these expenses will come down drastically, the Minister asserted.
She said, prior to the introduction of farm bills, the issue was extensively discussed with farmers and agriculture experts. These bills were introduced keeping the welfare of farmers in mind.