Kavitha Kurunganti, founder convener of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), on Friday, said that there is a need for highly localised state government solutions to farmers’ problems.
At 9 am this morning Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation, announced the withdrawal of the three farm laws. The three laws largely aimed at encouraging corporate investment in the agriculture sector, giving farmers an alternative platform outside of the existing ‘mandis’ to sell their produce and strengthening the framework for contract farming.
Kurunganti was a part of the delegation of farmer leaders that held talks with senior government ministers last year.
“I certainly think that we need highly localised solutions, but what we are asking for when the farmers ask for a Union Government Act on minimum support price (MSP) guarantee is that the financial responsibility will be taken by the Central government,” Kurunganti said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.
“Implementation and little more space for some decision-making should be left to the state governments, but the fiscal responsibility should be with the Centre for a simple reason that most agricultural policies are getting decided by the Centre, whether it’s international trade policy or something about MSP calculations and announcements, whether it is related to crop insurance or agricultural credits. When all policy decisions that impinge on what happens to farmers’ profitability at the end of one season of their enterprise are taken by the Centre, they better take the fiscal responsibility for guarantee price that is remunerative for farmers,” she said.
On other pending things, Kurunganti said, “However, the Prime Minister, if he really wants to end this agitation whether it’s because he is walking into elections or because let us assume that the government still has a heart somewhere and do not want to see even one more life lost, then it’s imperative that the government realise that the 2-3 other pending things have to be taken care of. One is the minimum support price (MSP), the second is the Electricity Amendment Bill, which needs to be withdrawn, and there are pending matters in terms of numerous cases that have cropped up over the past 12 months. So, it’s a victory but only a partial victory and the government should take the next few steps as soon as possible and fulfil all the demands.”
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