The Centre must provide legal sanctity to ensure continuity of Minimum Support Price for agricultural produce as long as farmers desired it, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), an NDA constituent, said on Tuesday, flagging concerns of the farming community.
Farmers 'feared' that government procurement of agricultural produce would eventually end and the MSP regime shall also see elimination in due course with the passage of the farm bills in the Parliament, PMK founder leader S Ramadoss said.
"The apprehensions of farmers are reasonable," he said adding the bills that have been adopted offered no guarantee on the continuation of procurement and MSP.
"It is the duty of the governments (at the state and Centre) to allay farmers' fears and create a sense of security among them," he said.
Though the Centre announced in 2018 that the recommendations of M S Swaminathan Commission had been implemented, it did not benefit farmers in "any way" since the MSP formula adopted by the Centre did not fully incorporate all aspects of production cost, he claimed.
While "production cost" for a quintal of paddy stood at Rs 1,871.32 during the current year, the MSP announced by the Centre was only Rs 1,868, he said.
He wondered how the farmers would get profits when the MSP was below the production cost.
To make farming a profitable enterprise, the MSP should be 50 per cent more than the average cost of production as per the recommendation of the Swaminathan Commission, Ramadoss said.
Seeking more procurement centres across the country, the PMK top leader said: "The MSP should be fixed to ensure profits for farmers as per the Commission's recommendation. I urge the Centre to provide legal sanctity for its (MSP regime) continuation till such time the farmers desired it."
Opposition parties and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner Shiromani Akali Dal have been up in arms against farm bills passed by the Parliament. In Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK has supported the bills.
On Sunday, the Rajya Sabha passed the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that seeks to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion, and potatoes from the list of essential commodities and will do away with the imposition of stock holding limits, was adopted on Tuesday in the upper house.
These three bills have already been passed by Lok Sabha.