Delhi government to opt for either Swaminathan formula or Telangana model to help farmers

New Delhi: As part of its farmers’ outreach plan, the Delhi government is exploring the possibility, and will seek public opinion, about implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee Report for the Minimum Support Price (MSP) or giving primary support to the farmers based on the Telangana model ‘Rythu Bandhu’.

“The government will hold two farmers’ conclaves next month and will seek the farmers’ opinion whether the government should implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee Report, proposed in 2006, or should opt for the primary support to the farmers based on the Telangana model Rythu Bandhu,” Delhi Development Minister Gopal Rai told media after a conference on the implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee Report on Farmers’ Welfare in Delhi.

The Rythu Bandhu scheme is a welfare programme of the Telangana government to support farmer’s investment for two crops under which the state government provides Rs 4,000 per acre per season twice a year. Apart from holding the farmers’ conclave, the government will also seek public opinion in order to devise and implement the modalities of the proposed MSP and streamline the consultations (on Rythu Bandhu) through online and print advertisements.

Rai said there will be a conclave in Narela on February 5 and in Najafgarh on February 7. “The government will gather the public opinion by February 10.” Apart from this, the government will also constitute a committee of various stakeholders. “Based on the public suggestion and the report of the committee, a comprehensive report will be prepared and submitted to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal,” Rai added. Last month, the government had formed an expert committee comprising a senior scientist from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), farmers’ representatives and officers of the agriculture department for drafting the Agricultural Policy for Delhi.

The committee has deliberated upon various issues pertaining to agriculture in Delhi. “One of the important issues before the Committee was to give recommendations on separate Minimum Support Price (MSP), 50 per cent more than the weighted cost of production taking into the consideration the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee Report on farmers as well as the unique circumstances of Delhi,” Rai said. Based on the recommendations of the committee, the government re-calculated the cost of production of wheat at Rs 1,744 per quintal and paddy Rs 1,778 per quintal.

“The proposed MSP with 50 per cent margin at the cost of production, is Rs 2,616 per quintal and Rs 2,667 quintal for wheat and paddy respectively. The proposed MSP structure is higher than the Government of India MSP by Rs 776 per quintal for wheat and Rs 897 per quintal for paddy. It is likely to incur an additional liability of Rs 96.38 crore, if implemented. There will be a separate mechanism for vegetable growers in Delhi,” Rai added.

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