Bharat Express

Government’s Five-Year Plan for Farmers Seeking Assurance on Crop Price Safety Net

Protesting farmers request two days to deliberate on proposal, while decisions on other demands are still pending.

MSP refers to a price fixed by the government to protect farmers against a steep fall in prices.

MSP refers to a price fixed by the government to protect farmers against a steep fall in prices.

A fourth round of negotiations between protesting farmers and a government delegation late last night appears to have resolved the deadlock that led to a significant standoff on the Punjab-Haryana border last week.

Following a meeting in Chandigarh that extended well past midnight, Union Minister Piyush Goyal announced that the government proposed to purchase pulses, maize, and cotton crops from Punjab farmers at the minimum support price (MSP) for the next five years.

The protesting farmers have requested two days to deliberate on the proposal within their forums, while decisions on their other demands remain pending. MSP, a price set by the government to safeguard farmers against drastic price drops, is a safety net to prevent losses.

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Goyal, accompanied by ministers Arjun Munda and Nityanand Rai, stated that government agencies would enter contracts with farmers for the next five years for the proposed procurement, with no limit on purchase quantities.

“Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who participated in the meeting, emphasized the necessity of assured pricing for farmers to consider crop diversification,” Goyal added.

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher indicated that they would consult experts before deciding on their next steps and expressed hope that their remaining demands would also be addressed within the next two days.

The ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, which witnessed thousands of farmers heading towards the capital with their tractors laden with provisions for months, will be paused. However, it will resume on February 21 if all their demands are not met.

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In addition to a law on MSP, farmers also call for a loan waiver, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pension for farmers and farm laborers, and withdrawal of police cases filed against them during the protests.

Having commenced their march to Delhi last Tuesday, farmers are currently encamped at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders between Punjab and Haryana, where barricades have been erected to impede their progress. No confrontations with security personnel have been reported since their last meeting four days ago.

Delhi’s borders are fortified, with Ghazipur, Singhu, and others partially sealed. Concrete blocks and nails have been placed on roads to deter tractors and trailers from crossing over.