Centre hikes MSP; farmers get boost

Centre hikes MSP; farmers get boost

A farmer gathers saplings to be planted at a paddy field in a village in Nagaon district, in the northeastern state of Assam. (Reuters Photo)

In sops to farmers ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Government on Wednesday announced a hefty hike in support price for kharif crops, declaring that it would purchase paddy at Rs 1,750 a quintal, Rs 200 more than last year.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved minimum support price for 14 crops in the kharif season with coarse cereals such as ragi, jowar and bajra witnessing a sharp increase of up to Rs 900 a quintal.

In the pulses category, the support price for moong has been increased by Rs 1,400 a quintal – from Rs 5,575 a quintal to Rs 6,975 a quintal. The MSP of urad has been hiked from Rs 5,400 to Rs 5,600 a quintal and for tur by Rs 225 a quintal to Rs 5,675.

A battery of Union ministers led by Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Radha Mohan Singh and Harsimrat Kaur Badal made the announcement of MSP for 2018-19, claiming to have fulfilled the election promise of fixing support prices at 1.5 times the production cost.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to term the MSP hikes “historic”.

“I am very happy that the promise made by the government to our farmer brothers and sisters of giving minimum support price at 1.5 times the production cost has been fulfilled,” Modi said.

Burden on consumer

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan assured the farmers that the government would procure “every grain” produced by them and admitted that the consumers may have to bear some extra burden.

Among oilseeds, MSP of soyabean has been increased to Rs 3,399 a quintal (from Rs 3,050), groundnut (shell) Rs 4,890 (Rs 4,450), sunflower seed Rs 5,388 (Rs 4,100), sesame Rs 6,249 (5,300) and niger seed Rs 5,877 (Rs 4,050). The MSP raise for oilseeds is 50% over cost of production.

“This will send a positive message to farmers, boost their confidence and end farmer distress,” Singh said.

The ministers tried hard to impress that the new support prices were 1.5 times the production cost calculated by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

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