S Bhupinder Singh Mann, a prominent farmer leader and former MP, issued a strong warning against manipulative elements within the Kisan movement. He emphasised that while demanding the Minimum Support Price (MSP) is legitimate, the methods employed by some groups are harmful and driven by ulterior motives.
Mann highlighted the staggering implicit tax burden placed on Indian farmers, estimated at USD 169 billion in 2022 by the OECD.
This indirect taxation manifests through high input costs, trade restrictions, and artificially low prices for agricultural produce. He further cited a 2004 study by the Sharad Joshi Task Force that concluded an annual burden of Rs 1.7 lakh crore on farmers through similar means. He further informed that, to a question raised by him in 1995 in Rajya Sabha then Commerce Minister Sh Pranab Mukherjee, who later became President of India, admitted that farmers are heavily taxed through indirect ways. These indirect ways are zonal restrictions, anti farmers laws like essential Commodities Act, 9th Schedule of Constitution.
He expressed concern about “homegrown farm organisations” lacking expertise in agricultural economics and fuelled by emotions, vested interests, or political agendas. He identified three primary groups: those with political ambitions, those with business interests (middlemen and processors), and those driven by communist, Maoist, or Naxalite ideologies aiming to destabilize society.
Ch Guni Prakash, President of Haryana BKU (Mann) and a Member of MSP Committee constituted by GOI slammed the farm leaders and the SKM for failing to give the names to in the MSP Committee constituted by Government of India. He said that the Committee has held about 21 meetings so far and had extensive deliberations on the issue. He said that he along with Sh Gunvant Patil, Shetkari Sanghathna, Sh Peer Pasha Patel farm leader from Maharashtra and Sh Binod Anand (bihar) have always given inputs in favour of the farmers. But it is very unfortunate that the SKM rather than giving their nominees to the Committee, ran away from discussions.
Mann criticised the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) for refusing to participate in the MSP Committee formed by the government. He emphasised that the committee has held 21 meetings and engaged in extensive discussions. However, the SKM’s absence, he argued, hinders progress and suggests they lack constructive arguments.
Mann further condemned the SKM’s approach during the 2020 farm agitation, calling it a missed opportunity for dialogue and reflecting poorly on their commitment to finding solutions. He stressed the detrimental impact this behaviour has had on Punjab’s image and economic well-being, leading to social unrest , financial losses, and deep economic hurt.”
S. Mann concluded by urging farmer leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with the government and avoid actions that cause public inconvenience and further damage Punjab’s reputation.
He urged the farmer leaders to indulge in discussions and talks rather than creating problems to general Public and once again tarnishing the image of Punjab. Let Punjab remain a pride of India and do not convert it to a land of perpetual Road Rail blocks, where no business can flourish except the business of Dhanas. Punjab should not be made to be known as a place of crazy lunatic simpleton or insane people where there is no space for discussion and dialogue
Mann informed me that a meeting of the KCC will be held tomorrow to discuss the situation arising out this trend of mania for dharnas.