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Farmers' Protests Continue: SKM to Hold Nationwide Protest Over Non-Fulfillment of Promises & MSP Guarantee Week

The SKM said farmers had suspended the agitations relying on the centre’s letter assuring that it would take effective steps to mitigate the crisis faced by farmers, during the year 2021.

Shivangi Rai
SKM, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, had spearheaded a year-long agitation against the Centre's three farm laws
SKM, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, had spearheaded a year-long agitation against the Centre's three farm laws

Holding a nationwide protest on Monday over the ‘non-fulfillment of promises’, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) according to its functionaries included setting up a panel on MSP and withdrawal of cases against farmers.

At Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg earlier, the decision was taken after a day-long closed-door meeting held at the Gandhi Peace Foundation where SKM leaders and members had reviewed the progress made so far by the Centre on the promises made to farmers including a panel set up on MSP.

After the meeting, senior SKM member Abhimanyu Kohar told PTI that “By the Centre, there has been no progress in fulfilling the promises made to farmers on the issue of forming a panel on MSP to make legislation on it, withdrawal of cases against farmers and expulsion of Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni from the Cabinet.”

In addition to this, he also said, “On 21st March SKM has decided to hold a nationwide protest at district and block levels against the central government for the non-fulfillment of promises.”

SKM is an umbrella body of 40 farm unions that had led a year-long agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws.

Last year on 9th December, it suspended the stir after the government abolished the contentious laws and agreed to examine its six other demands, a legal guarantee on MSP, including the withdrawal of cases registered against farmers during the agitation, and compensation for kin of farmers who died during the protest.

MSP Guarantee Week

Later, in a statement, under its next phase of a nationwide campaign, the SKM said farmers from 11th to 17th April will observe ‘MSP guarantee week’.

The statement said that even after three months, the non-implementation of the promises made by the government to the farmer’s movement exposes its anti-farmer intentions.

As recommended by the Swaminathan Commission, the statement said that it was unanimously decided that between the 11th and 17th of April, a nationwide campaign would be launched by observing MSP Legal Guarantee Week. During this week, all the constituent organizations associated with the SKM will organize seminars and demonstrations, demanding a legal guarantee of MSP.

Last year on 9th December, the Morcha reviewed and said the written assurances given by the government to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and found that even after three months the government had not acted upon its key promises.

“There is no trace of the promise of forming a committee on MSP. Except in Haryana, the police cases registered against the farmers during the agitation in other states have not been withdrawn. Delhi Police has spoken of partial withdrawal of some cases but there is no concrete information about that as well," it said.

The SKM statement went on to say, “On March 21 (i.e. today), the SKM has decided to organize a nationwide protest, regarding the role of the government in the Lakhimpur Khiri incident, and the betrayal of the promises given to the farmer’s movement.”

While MSPs have been announced for some selected crops since the mid-1960s, under ‘Green Revolution’ strategies’, during the time when the country was chasing solutions to achieve food sufficiency there was no legal basis for the practice, which means that the government was not compelled to come up with MSP or procure all the different crops produced in the country.

MSP was the major key factor in the protests over the new farm laws as the rules they brought in paved the way for farmers to sell their yields outside mandis and engage in contract farming making no mention of buyers needing to pay the minimum price for farm yield.

While the centre maintained that the new laws would lead to price maximization for farm yields, the protesting farmers saw the absence of an MSP requirement as a direct threat to their income, claiming that it left them at the mercy of buyers who could offer prices to them in a good season.

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