Farmer unions are miffed. They have threatened a week-long nationwide protest from February 7 to highlight the non-feasibility of the Market Support Price announced in the budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
They point out that the method for calculating the input cost of agriculture is not accurate: one, because, family members of the farmer are considered as unskilled labourers; two, the government does not take into account the land rent while calculating the cost, even though a sizeable chunk of the farmers have taken the fields on lease and pay money to the landlords.
The government offers subsidy to farmers but the amount of subsidy is subtracted while calculating the cost of agriculture. Farmer unions have demanded that subtraction of subsidies should not be made while calculating the cost of farming. So, they feel given the inaccurate methodology, the farmers will never be able to get 1.5 times of their farming cost under the MSP. Punjab farmer unions were the first to announce that they will organise a two-hour long protest on February 7, during which trains and buses will be stopped for two hours.