"Rejected": Farmers' Body Dismisses Centre's 5-Year MSP Contract Offer

Protesting farmers and the government met in Chandigarh Sunday evening for a fourth round of talks, from which the five-year, C2 + 50 per cent contract emerged.

Delhi Farmers Protest: Farmers have been protesting the MSP issue since the 2020/21 agitation (File).

New Delhi:

Amid a tense stand-off between the government and farmers, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha - an umbrella organisation of farmer unions not directly linked to those leading this round of protests - has rejected a five-year contract to buy three types of pulses, maize, and cotton at the old MSP.

The SKM on Monday evening criticised the proposal as "diverting and the focal demands of farmers", and insisted on nothing less than the purchase of "all crops (23, including the above five) with guaranteed procurement (as) promised in the BJP manifesto (before the) 2014 general election".

This procurement, the SKM stressed should be based on the C2+50 per cent MSP, or minimum support price, formula of the Swaminathan Commission and not the existing A2+FL+50 per cent method.

NDTV Explains | Centre's 5-Year MSP Plan, And Why Farmers Are Not Convinced

The SKM also criticised the government - led in this instance by three union ministers, including Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda - for a lack of transparency through the four rounds of talks so far.

And finally, the SKM has also demanded the government make progress on other demands, which include loan waivers, no hike in electricity tariffs, and the withdrawal of police cases filed during the 2020/21 protests, when protesting farmers had violent clashes with security personnel.

There has also been no progress, the SKM said, on demands like a comprehensive public sector crop insurance scheme and a monthly pension of Rs 10,000 to farmers over the age of 60.

READ | What Are Key Demands Of Farmers That Remain Unresolved?

A demand to prosecute junior Home Minister Ajay Mishra Teni in connection with the deaths of farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri - has also not been resolved.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha is not the farmer body at the head of these protests, which are led by a non-political offshoot with the same name. Nevertheless, as a large federation of farmer unions, it can influence those farmers who participated in Sunday's meeting with the government.

In the overall narrative of the farmers' protests, this is crucial because those now at Shambhu on the Punjab and Haryana border - and speaking to the government - are seeking additional support, and getting the SKM on-board will add a good deal of muscle in attempts to bargain with the authorities.

Representatives of farmers leading this protest and the government met in Chandigarh Sunday evening for a fourth round of talks, from which the five-year, C2 + 50 per cent contract emerged.

The farmers asked for, and were given, 48 hours to decide on the offer, but the signs so far are not encouraging, with some telling NDTV the proposal has "no benefit to Punjab, Haryana farmers..."

At the heart of the farmers' protest - 'Delhi Chalo 2.0' - is the MSP issue.

MSPs, minimum support prices, have no legal backing, meaning the government is not obliged to buy, for example, 10 per cent of a farmer's paddy crop at the floor price.

It is this that the farmers want changed.

NDTV is now available on WhatsApp channels. Click on the link to get all the latest updates from NDTV on your chat.