Karan Bhasin, came into limelight a few days back after exposing the lies of Shehla Rashid Shora, controversial JNU student leader and ‘comrade’ of ex JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar. Shora supports conversion to Islam and is well known for vehement opposition to Modi government. Now, Karan Bhasin has exposed another self-proclaimed intellectual, Yogendra Yadav on the matter of difference between market price and Minimum Support Price (MSP) of agricultural products. Yogendra Yadav has formed a new political organization called Swaraj Abhiyan and also is member of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an association of more than 150 organizations to take up the issues farmers to the government. However, in the name of leading social and political organization of farmers, the only agenda Mr Yadav seems to have is targeting Modi government. He does this by publishing articles on falsified data, through political activism, through Dharna against the government.
Let me nail his lie now! He claims that he's used the weighted average across mandis for every day and then used weighted average price across time to get 1583.13 as his price. That's a lie! He's taken a simple average and tried to pass it on as weighted average! pic.twitter.com/xq5OHYgkWU
— Karan Bhasin (@karanbhasin95) October 28, 2018
An article published in The Hindu, written by Priscilla Jebaraj, Deputy Editor of The Hindu quoted the ‘price realized by the farmers’ in the market and claimed that ‘government is looting the money’ from farmers’. “When the market price is more than 15% below MSP [which is the margin the Centre has offered to reimburse], why will any traders step in? They are not fools,” Yogendra Yadav, president of Swaraj India and a member of the AIKSCC told the Hindu. However, Karan Bhasin found that the market price calculated by Yogendra Yadav is grossly inconsistent and based upon a wrong methodology. The AIKSCC team intentionally used simple ‘average across mandis for the day’ while the correct way to calculate the market price is to use ‘weighted average across mandis for the day’. So, by using incorrect methodology, the AIKSCC has been able to show the market price lower than the real price.
As per the AIKSCC calculations, the price for Bajra for the state of Gujarat is 1583.13 rupees per quintal for 1st October to 24th October. But using correct methodology, Karan Bhasin found that the price for Bajra per quintal in the state of Gujarat is 1659.90 rupees for 1st October to 24th October. If we calculate the price of Bajra only for second half of the month, the price will be 1738.76 rupees per quintal. Further the price of products vary from Mandi to Mandi, the price of Bajra is higher in Bhavnagar Mandi in comparison to Jamnagar Mandi. The farmers will sell majority of the produce at the market where they get higher prices. Therefore one should calculate weighted average price on daily basis and through this calculation, the ‘market price’ of majority of produce is higher than MSP declared. For example, the MSP for Bajra was declared to be 1950 rupees but the weighted average of Mandi price is 2210.04 rupees.
Farm loan waivers and MSP increase are not the sustainable solutions to farmer’s distress in the long run. Hence, it is expected of the government to invest in irrigation facilities and for which Pradhan Mantri Sichai Yojna was brought. Investment on the output front like cold storage, infrastructure facilities, and marketing facilities will be more helpful to farmers of the country than MSP increase. But presenting false data due to ‘ignorance or intentionally to target a government’ is wrong. The critics should move toward constructive criticism which could lead to improvement in government policies rather than unnecessarily politicizing the research.