To fight the Centre’s narrative on the minimum support price for crops, protesting farmers have released a “MSP loot calculator,” which uses official statistics to demonstrate how farmers are paying significantly less than the prices announced by the government.
The “calculator” is a project of the Jai Kisan Andolan, a division of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which is leading the farmers’ movement in India. It is largely targeted at the middle class, who the demonstrators believe is buying into the government’s propaganda that farmers are getting MSP and that their campaign is thus unjustified.
Yogendra Yadav of the Andolan, cited data from the daily procurement and modal price of Bengal gram in all mandis reported on agmark.net- a government website, between March 1 and 15, when announcing the calculator’s launch at a press conference. The MSP was set at Rs 5,100 per quintal, but farmers earned an average price of Rs 4,663, a loss of Rs 437 per quintal, according to Yadav. Similar data will be published on a regular basis through social media channels to demonstrate that the Bengal gram storey is replicated for the majority of the 22 other crops for which MSPs have been declared.
This loot isn’t brand new, according to Yadav. Farmers were cheated out of Rs 884 crore for their gram crop in 2020-21, according to him; they received Rs 800 less than the MSP. Farmers were cheated out of Rs 957 crore in 2019-20. Since the government has not made any provisions for the procurement of gram, this practise persists year after year. Farmers are up in arms over the latest requirements suggested by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for procuring food grains for the central tank, which have already enraged them.
An FCI committee recommended on Monday that the moisture content and foreign matter in food grains procured for the central pool be lowered, as well as marginally degraded grains and shrivelled and split grains, claiming that this would increase shelf life and marketability.
These suggestions, as well as the provision of supplying land records for the direct deposit of purchase payment into bank accounts, were debated by the SKM. The FCI’s actions were described as a “assault on the ongoing revolution, especially on Punjab, which is at the forefront of the struggle.” Since the FCI buys wheat and rice at MSP for the central pool, these policies would have the greatest effect on Punjab and Haryana.
In a sign of unity with the many farmers who just till the land and have no ownership records to show, the 32 Punjab farmer unions have agreed that the state’s farmers would refuse to send land-record-related papers.
Farmers in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and other states have been urged to fail to provide these documents to the FCI.