In order to ensure that farmers get the minimum support prices (MSP) it fixed for the current kharif crops, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will adopt a two-pronged strategy. Central agencies like the National Agricultural Marketing Federation (Nafed) will be pressed into service in case of any fall in prices below MSP.
Business Standard reported that the Centre will continue the current price support scheme for coarse grains and pulses. For oilseeds, it would offer the state government the option of going for price support or Bhawantar Bhugtan Yojana of the Madhya Pradesh Government. Under the Madhya Pradesh scheme, a farmer will be compensated between the MSP and the price at which he/she sold the produce.
The Centre is toying with a couple of options and a decision is likely before the month-end when arrivals of kharif crop begin. Presenting his Budget proposal for the current fiscal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that farmers would be given 1.5 times their cost of production as MSP. Early in July, the Government announced the MSP for 14 kharif crops that are currently under cultivation.
The government has ensured through the hike in the MSP that farmers got at least 50 per cent more than their production cost. Coarse grains like maize, ragi and bajra have seen a hike of 40-50 per cent in their MSP, while paddy MSP was raised 13 per cent.
The Centre is getting ready its MSP payment strategy since globally, there is a glut in agricultural production and prices are under pressure. Going into an election year, the Narendra Modi Government wouldn’t want to risk earning farmers’ ire. The government usually procures wheat and rice under the MSP scheme to procure stocks for the central pool maintained by the Food Corporation of India. The central pool is maintained to meet any food emergency like drought and floods. Besides wheat and rice, the Centre has procured corn (maize), cotton, pulses and oilseeds, including copra, through agencies like Nafed when the prices had crashed below MSP.
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