ghanwat: Will bring 1L farmers to Delhi to back reforms, says SC panel member | India News


NEW DELHI: Underlining the importance of farm reforms, one of the members of the SC-appointed committee on farm laws, Anil Ghanwat, on Tuesday claimed that there were many farmers in the country who were in favour of the reform and said he would bring for a day around one lakh farmers from different states to Delhi after a few months to show their willingness for reforms.
He, however, said the reform-making process should be participatory, unlike what the central government did while bringing the three farm laws, as “reforms which affect a large number of people require broad-based consensus”.
“There are no shortcuts to good public policy. Had the government consulted with farmers and educated them systematically in advance of making the laws, the outcome would have been quite different,” said Ghanwat, leader of the Maharashtra-based farmer organisation Shetkari Sanghatana and president of the Swatantra Bharat Party.
He suggested that the government must this time set up a committee with representation of all views, and the committee should prepare a “white paper” that considers costs and benefits of options after wider consultations.
“The legislation resulting from such a process would be acceptable to India’s long-suffering farmers,” said Ghanwat while addressing a press conference jointly with former IAS officer Sanjeev Sabhlok who after resigning from bureaucracy helped in founding of the Swarna Bharat Party.
Sabhlok said both Swatantra Bharat Party, led by Ghanwat, and Swarna Bharat Party would merge into a single political entity and may contest the upcoming UP assembly elections.
On the question of legal guarantee to procurement of crops at minimum support price (MSP) as being demanded by Samyukta Kisan Morcha – a joint body of farmer unions agitating for the demand – Ghanwat said he was not against the MSP per se, but it won’t be practically possible to go for an ‘open-ended’ procurement and that too for all crops under a legal framework.
“It would also be discriminatory if you look at crops which are not in the list of the 23 crops being considered for MSP. What would happen to the farmers who would like to produce onion or other horticultural crops? There is no MSP for onion or many other crops which are being produced by farmers in different states. How would their interests be safeguarded? If MSP is legalised, all farmers will demand it. It will, therefore, not be realistic,” said Ghanwat.
He also noted that even at the current level of procurement, the government has procured nearly 110 lakh tonnes of food grains against the requirement of 41 lakh tonnes for buffer stock. “What would happen to the surplus? Where would you keep it?” asked Ghanwat.





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