Farmers’ protest: Congress rejected Swaminathan Commission’s report in 2010, here’s why

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge with party leader
Image Source : PTI Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge with party leader Rahul Gandhi at a public meeting during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

Farmers Protest: The farmers protest has once again taken the centre-stage as thousands march towards Delhi to press for their demands, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, due to be held in April-May this year.

One of the demands of the agitating farmers is the implementation of Swaminathan Commission’s report. While the government has said that it is ready to hold talks with the farmers, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said that the government needs more time as they (farmers) have added new demands.

A meeting between two Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Arjun Munda was held in Chandigarh on the eve of farmers protest but remained inconclusive.

Amid this, the Congress on Tuesday announced that it will implement Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations on MSP if it forms government at the Centre. It also assured Minimum Selling Price (MSP) gurantee.

Though the ‘grand old party’ has said that it will implement Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, Congress’ response on accepting report’s recommendations when it was in power in 2010 has surfaced.

It has come to light that Congress government in 2010, turned down the recommendations of Swaminathan Committee report which batted for a much higher compensation for farmers, in lieu of their farm produce.

Notably, Swaminathan Committee’s National Commission report, headed by renowned scientist MS Swaminathan, had submitted its recommendation on MSP before the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2010.

A questionnaire from Parliament, dated 16 April, 2010, shows that KV Thomas, the then minister in UPA government cited ‘distortion of market’ and ‘counter-productive’ aspect as the reason for turning down the recommendations.

KV Thomas, the MoS for Agriculture in 2010 during UPA rule, said in response to BJP MP Prakash Javadekar in Rajya Sabha that the recommendation was not accepted by the government because “MSP is recommended by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) based on objective criteria and considering a variety of relevant factors. Hence, prescribing an increase of at least 50% on cost may distort the market. A mechanical linkage between MSP and the cost of production may be counter-productive in some cases.”

Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that Congress, if voted to power, will give a legal guarantee on MSP to every farmer, based on the recommendations of Swaminathan report.

“This MSP guarantee will be a game-changer for more than 15 crore farmers and will bring a lasting change to their lives. This is our first guarantee while treading on Nyay Yatra,” Rahul announced.

With inputs from IANS

ALSO READ | Farmers protest: BKU-Ugrahan calls for ‘Rail Roko’ in Punjab tomorrow from 12 noon to 4 pm