India-Bhutan Relations: A Tale of Enduring Friendship

Equal Partners:

Despite vast differences in size and population, India and Bhutan have maintained a strong partnership built on mutual respect and understanding. Both nations treat each other as equals, acknowledging the importance of sovereignty and identity.

Trust and Cooperation:

Over the past 50 years, India has respected Bhutan’s unique identity and supported its economic development, while Bhutan has looked to India for assistance and cooperation. This relationship is based on trust and shared goals.

Gelephu Mindfulness City:

Bhutan’s plans for a Mindfulness City in Gelephu, aimed at attracting foreign investment while prioritizing sustainability and well-being, underscore India’s role in Bhutan’s development. India is expected to play a significant role in this project, further strengthening bilateral ties.

Hydropower Cooperation:

Hydropower cooperation forms the cornerstone of India-Bhutan relations, with several successful projects contributing to Bhutan’s economic growth and India’s energy needs. However, there is room for improvement in the joint venture model for future projects.

Development Assistance:

India has been a major development assistance partner for Bhutan, focusing on projects aligned with Bhutanese priorities. This collaborative approach has been crucial for mutual prosperity and should continue in the future.

Future Measures:

India can further enhance its partnership with Bhutan by supporting the success of the Gelephu Mindfulness City through measures such as direct flights, technology transfer, and encouraging Indian businesses to invest in the city. The success of Gelephu will benefit not only Bhutan but also neighboring Indian states.

Win-Win Cooperation:

The Gelephu project exemplifies the win-win cooperation between India and Bhutan, showcasing the potential for further collaboration in areas of mutual interest and benefit. This partnership reflects India’s commitment to its Neighbourhood First policy and the prosperity of its neighbors.

Ensuring Farmers’ Rights: The Imperative of Legal Minimum Support Price (MSP)

Current Agrarian Distress:

Ahead of general elections, farmers from agricultural heartlands demand fair pricing and legal assurance of MSP. Despite government attempts to address concerns, core issues remain unresolved, leading to continued protests.

Role of MSP:

Minimum Support Price (MSP) serves as a crucial tool for ensuring food security and protecting farmers’ interests in India. It prevents farmers from being exploited in an inherently unequal market, where they lack significant bargaining power.

Challenges in MSP Implementation:

While MSP is announced annually for various crops, its implementation remains poor, with only a small percentage of farmers benefiting, primarily in states like Punjab. Most transactions occur below MSP, plunging
farmers into debt and driving some to suicide.

Call for Legal Recourse:

Farmers and experts advocate for a legal guarantee of MSP to protect farmers’ incomes and ensure their economic viability. Efforts to introduce such laws have been made at both state and national levels, with some states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka taking proactive steps.

Proposed Solutions:

Minor amendments to existing agricultural laws at state and national levels can ensure that no transactions occur below MSP. Additionally, investments in crop planning, market intelligence, and post-harvest infrastructure can
help manage market surpluses efficiently.

Supporting Farmers’ Income:

Enhancing MSP to provide a 50% profit margin over total cost is feasible and necessary to address farmers’ grievances. Effective procurement and distribution mechanisms, aligned with schemes like PM-AASHA, are
crucial for ensuring MSP and addressing hunger.

Challenges and Opposition:

Establishment of a legally binding MSP may face opposition from intermediaries and proponents of free market ideology. However, prioritizing farmers’ rights over market dogma is essential for resolving the ongoing
agrarian crisis and ensuring equitable outcomes.

Understanding Minimum Support Price (MSP) in India


MSP is a government-guaranteed price paid to farmers for their produce, determined by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The final approval on MSP levels is made by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).


MSP aims to ensure remunerative prices for farmers, encourage crop diversification, and provide stability to agricultural incomes.

Crop Coverage:

MSP is announced for 22 mandated crops and fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane. These crops include both kharif and rabi seasons, with considerations for various production costs like A2, A2+FL, and C2.

Rationale for MSP:

Factors such as declining commodity prices, economic slowdowns, and rising input costs necessitate MSP to alleviate farm distress, reduce poverty, and ensure fair returns for farmers.

Challenges and Concerns Associated with MSP

Limited Reach:

While MSP is announced for multiple crops, its effective implementation is limited to staple crops like rice and wheat, leaving many farmers without its benefits.

Ineffective Implementation:

Reports indicate that only a small percentage of farmers actually receive MSP, highlighting deficiencies in procurement mechanisms and market access.

Skewed Crop Dominance:

Overemphasis on rice and wheat due to MSP can lead to ecological and economic
imbalances, limiting farmers’ income potential and market alignment.

Middlemen Dependency:

MSP procurement often involves intermediaries, making it difficult for smaller farmers to access benefits directly and resulting in inefficiencies.

Burden on Government:

The government bears a significant financial burden in procuring MSP-supported crops, diverting resources from other agricultural or rural development programs.

Future Directions for MSP Reform


Gradual expansion of MSP coverage to include more crops can promote diversification and align cultivation with market demands.

Targeted Approach:

Prioritize MSP for crops essential for food security and impactful on farmer livelihoods, optimizing resource allocation.

Procurement Mechanisms:

Enhance procurement systems, reduce middlemen, and expand agency reach to ensure effective MSP implementation and farmer access.


Modernize procurement mechanisms to streamline processes and improve efficiency, ensuring farmers receive fair prices for their produce.