Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the Centre will continue to support the minimum support price for crops, which is one of the key demands of farmers’ ongoing protests against the Centre’s farm laws, the Hindustan Times reported.

“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,” the finance minister said at the 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. “I am sure something will come out of it.”

Sitharaman, however, refused to comment if the government should write MSP into law, citing the negations with farmers but said the government was taking the matter seriously.

She said that the government has proved its intentions, which can be seen by the high level of procurement over the past six years. “Between 2014 and 2020, compared to a similar number of years previously, we have proven that we take MSP seriously,” the finance minister said. “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.”

She noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently spoke about the MSP in Varanasi on how it was used by the government for the benefit of the farmers and said that it proved “the government’s intention that MSP continues and APMC [Agricultural Produce Market Committee] continues”.


Farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against the Centre’s agricluture laws at Delhi borders. After failed attempts at negotiations with the Centre, the farmers have called for a country-wide Bharat Bandh on December 8. On Thursday, the talks between the Centre and representatives of farmers’ union remained inconclusive, with the two parties agreeing to meet again on Saturday.

At the end of Thursday’s talks, one of the farmer leaders expressed hope that the matter will be “finalised” in the next meeting, while the government said that it has “no ego” and was dealing with the matter with “an open mind”.

The farmers are protesting against the three ordinances – Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Assurance and Farm Service Ordinance 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 – that were passed in September. They were signed into laws by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 27.

The farmers fear the laws could pave the way for the government to stop buying grains at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.