The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmer unions, on Tuesday rejected the Union government’s committee on Minimum Support Price, or MSP, reported PTI.

The body, which spearheaded the protest against the now-repealed farm laws, said that the “so-called farmer leaders” who supported the legislations are members of the panel. Farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar told PTI that the government has included leaders who did not have anything to do with the farm law protests.

The Minimum Support Price is the rate at which the government buys farm produce and is based on a calculation of at least one-and-a-half times the cost of production incurred by farmers. Market rates for many crops are usually well below the Minimum Support Price.

Farmer leaders have been demanding that the minimum support price guarantee be extended to all produce, not just rice and wheat.

The committee on Minimum Support Price was formed on Monday, eight months after the Centre promised to set up such a panel as it withdrew the three contentious farm laws.

MSP panel

Former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal will be the chairperson of the committee. The panel will include NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand, agriculture economists CSC Shekhar and Sukhpal Singh and Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices member Naveen P Singh.

Farmers will be represented by, 2019 Padma Shri award winner Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, three members from the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and five members from other farmer organisations.

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative chairperson Dilip Sanghani, Confederation of NGO of Rural India General Secretary Binod Anand, senior members of agricultural universities, five central government secretaries and chief secretaries of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha are also part of the committee.

Farmers’ protest

The three farm laws were withdrawn by Parliament on November 29 after year-long protests by farmer unions.

On November 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while announcing the withdrawal of the three farm laws, said that a committee would be formed to discuss the farmers’ demand for a legal guarantee on Minimum Support Price.

In February, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha had warned the government saying that farmer bodies would be forced to resume their agitation if the Centre does not fulfil its promises.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had then said that the government will form the panel after the elections in Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The results of the polls were announced on March 10.