: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday made a veiled attack on Congress vis-a-vis the new farm legislations, saying those who did not even provide Minimum Support Price (MSP) for commodities other than paddy and wheat were now raising 'unreasonable' apprehensions. Stoutly defending the new farm laws of the Centre, she said these legislations came under the ambit of the union government and it covered inter-state farm trade.
On apprehensions that MSP may be scrapped by the government, she said: "I find that absolutely unreasonable to keep speculating on it and say that this is the concern of the farmer." Addressing a press conference here, the minister said, "MSP is there, it was there and it shall continue to be there." Under "certain other governments" the focus was only on giving and increasing MSP for paddy and wheat and they did not 'bother' about other crops, she said.
Though 20-23 items were covered under the MSP regime,"those who gave" support price only for paddy and wheat andnot for other crops were today crying foul raising apprehensions that the government may do away with the system of MSP and it was surprising, she said, in an apparent reference to the Congress and others protesting against the Centre's measures.
Only after the BJP took over the reins of power in 2014,the MSP was extended to other crops beyond wheat and paddy byPrime Minister Narendra Modi. Though approximately 23-24 lakh tonnes of pulses were needed, only about 16 lakh tonnes were produced and the remaining was imported, she said adding MSP was given to other crops as well to reverse such a scenario by the NDA government.