SWAMINATHAN COMMISSION Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Economy)

News-CRUX-10     17th February 2024        

Context: The first of the 12 demands made by protesting Punjab farmers in their email sent to the government on February 6 was for a law to guarantee the procurement of all crops for all farmers at MSP, and for the determination of crop prices as per the recommendations of the Dr Swaminathan Commission.

Swaminathan Commission

  • Establishment of the National Commission on Farmers (NCF): On November 18, 2004, the Ministry of Agriculture formed the NCF under Prof Swaminathan, comprising various members.
  • Objectives: The commission was tasked with suggesting strategies for food and nutrition security, and enhancing the sustainability of farming systems.
  • Submission Period: Between December 2004 and October 2006, the NCF presented five comprehensive reports, totaling 1,946 pages.
  • Formula Omission: The commission did not provide the specific formula for MSP calculation, a demand currently advocated by farmers' unions.
  • National Policy for Farmers, 2007: Aimed to improve the economic viability of farming and increase farmers' net income. It is approved by the government based on the draft NPF.

Key Recommendations Of The Swaminathan Committee

  • MSP Recommendation: The NCF recommended that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production.
  • Addressing Agrarian Crisis and Farmer Suicides: The NCF identified incomplete land reforms, water quantity and quality issues, technological fatigue, adverse meteorological factors, and farmer suicides as key challenges.
  • Agriculture to the Concurrent List: The NCF proposed adding 'agriculture' to the Concurrent List of the country's Constitution to address agrarian crises effectively.
  • Protection of Agricultural Land and Forests: The commission recommended preventing the diversion of 'prime' agricultural land and forest to the corporate sector for non-agricultural purposes.
  • Regulation of Agricultural Land Sale: The NCF advised establishing a mechanism to regulate the sale of agricultural land based on specific conditions to safeguard farmers' interests.
  • Reforms in Irrigation Sector: The commission advocated for reforms to ensure sustained and equitable access to water for farmers.

oIt also recommended increased investment in the irrigation sector, previously allocated under the now-defunct five-year plans.

Key Difference

  • The government sets MSP at 1.5 times the Cost of Production (CoP), where Cop is A2+FL.
  • The Swaminathan Commission, however, suggests that CoP should be based on C2, proposing the 'C2+50 per cent' formula for setting MSP.
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