MSP: Maximum support policy
- Rural India needs Maximum support policy in the form of reforms that will revive the health of its soil and water resources, provide employment for people and enhance quality of life
- The issue of “minimum support price” (MSP) for key agricultural commodities has been a persistent sticking point in the negotiations between the government and the farmers.
Demand of farmers regarding Minimum Support Price(MSP):
- Making legalisation for MSP
- Increasing the support price
- Extending MSP to all crops
Suggestions for Policy support:
- A substantial and phased withdrawal from the Green Revolution model of promoting subsidised agriculture that’s based on the use of industrial chemicals
- A combination of regionally evolved and established sustainable agro-cultures, that can be tweaked to rid them of their social inequities (such as bonded labour and tenancies) and made amenable to the new climatic trends, is required.
- Policies to ensure equitable distribution of resources — land as well as water — and access to a range of alternative economic practices and support structures
- Payments to be made to promote the spread of “restorative agriculture” which will regenerate soil and water resources and promote seed and agro-biodiversity.
- A comprehensive programme to enable not only a transition to sustainable agriculture but also enable people to develop climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
- Supporting farmers to form collectives in which resources, labour, skills and knowledge are pooled for production, value addition and marketing
- Democratisation and decentralisation of agricultural planning for revitalising ecologically suitable cultivation, facilitating local collection and distribution and sustaining local food cultures that can alleviate malnutrition.
- A new seed policy which focus on enabling local seed banks to help farmers circumvent the problematic commercial seed industry
Suggestions for Unemployment and Migration:
- Promoting small-scale industries and processing centres that help rural areas to retain resources and skills
- Healthcare, education and other avenues that enhance the quality of life must be focussed .
- Public institutions such as panchayats, anganwadis, schools and primary health centres need to be reformed
- Policies for addressing caste, ethnic, gender and class inequities.
- Mere pricing, marketing and distribution of agricultural products cannot be the panacea for the ailments inflicted on rural India by the larger political economy of the country.
- Only holistic policies that address the structural inequities, institutional and administrative deficits and political distortions of rural India will provide it a new lease of life.
- Instead of going for corporatised and industrialised agriculture, the knowledge heritage while also eschewing the caste-based social system of our diverse agri-cultures should be retained.