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Rajnath announces `historic’ hike in MSP of kharif crops, says it will boost farmers’ income


New Delhi, The Centre on Wednesday announced a record hike in the minimum support price of kharif paddy, pulses, edible oilseeds and cotton for 2018-19 season in keeping with its budget announcement this year that prices will be fixed at one-and-a-half-times of the production cost. This was the demand of farmers as well. Announcing the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs here, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said it was ``historic’’ and ``a step towards doubling farmers’ income by 2022’’. The hike in the MSP of over 50 per cent or more will bring an additional financial burden of an estimated Rs 15,000 crore on the exchequer. For now, the food security bill hovers around Rs 1.43 lakh crore. Briefing the media Mr Singh said, ``For years farmers did not get proper price for their produce. Today’s decision taken by the Modi government will remove sense of despondency and give confidence to farmers.’’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the CCEA which gave its approval to the hike over the cost of cultivation computed by the Commission for Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP). The CACP went by A2+ Fl formula which includes the actual paid out costs plus imputed cost of family labour. The MSP of Common variety paddy is hiked by Rs 200 per quintal over last year to Rs 1750 per quintal as against Rs 1550 per quintal for 2017-18. The MSP of Grade A variety of paddy too hiked to Rs 1770 as against Rs 1590 last year. In the previous years average hike has been to the tune of Rs 50 per quintal leaving farmers dissatisfied as it did not cover input costs. Urad MSP has been raised to Rs 5600 per quintal from Rs 5400 per quintal last year; tur to Rs 5675 per quintal from 5450 per quintal and moong to Rs 6975 per quintal from Rs 5575 per quintal last year. Previous year’s support rates for pulses included a bonus of Rs 200 per quintal. The CCEA hiked groundnut-in-shell MSP to Rs 4890 from Rs 4450 per quintal last year (including bonus of Rs 200 per quintal); soyabean price to Rs 3399 per quintal from Rs 3050 per quintal, sunflower seed to Rs 5388 per quintal from Rs 4100 per quintal, sesamum to Rs 6249 per quintal from Rs 5300 per quintal and nigerseed to Rs 5877 per quintal from Rs 4050 per quintal given last year. The MSP for medium staple cotton has been set at Rs 5150 per quintal from Rs 4020 last year and the price for long staple cotton was fixed at Rs 5450 per quintal from Rs 4320 last year.Kharif paddy, pulses, coarse cereals and cotton comprise nearly half of the country’s foodgrains production. During an interaction with sugarcane farmers last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to “approve” the implementation of 150 per cent of input cost as MSP for kharif crops during the “forthcoming meeting” of the Cabinet this week. Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the government had ``honoured’’ its promise of giving farmers MSP of 1.5 times more than production cost in kharif. ``Enhanced MSP will provide income support to farmers, boost production, encourage investment, reduce imports and improve nutritional security,’’ he added. Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said never before such a massive hike had been given in MSP and added that inflationary pressures will be kept under control as had been done in the last four years of the NDA rule.

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