New Delhi: The government Monday hiked the minimum price for buying six rabi crops, including wheat, by up to six per cent. By increasing the price of the rabi crops, the government is seeking to send a strong message to farmers on continuation of MSP-based procurement system.
The MSP (Minimum Support Price) of wheat, the biggest crop of rabi season, has been hiked by Rs 50 to Rs 1,975 per quintal, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in Lok Sabha. Besides, MSPs of lentil (masoor), gram, barley, safflower and mustard/rapeseed have been increased.
The move came a day after Parliament approved two agriculture sector-reform bills. The passage of the bills were bitterly opposed by the opposition parties like Congress and the Trinamool Congress as well as from within ruling NDA alliance. There are apprehensions that the new legislations might virtually end MSP-based procurement by the government.
Farmer groups in Punjab, Haryana and some other states are also protesting the two bills. Both ‘The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 have been passed by Parliament.
Tomar said the MSPs of six rabi crops were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired Monday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a move aimed at encouraging farmers ahead of the sowing operations of winter crops.
Tomar said MSP of gram has been increased by Rs 225 to Rs 5,100 per quintal while for barley it has been hiked by Rs 75 to Rs 1,600 per quintal. Lentil MSP has been hiked by Rs 300 to Rs 5,100 per quintal. The MSP of mustard/ rapeseed have been raised by Rs 225 to Rs 4,650 per quintal, while that of safflower has been hiked by Rs 112 to Rs 5,327 per quintal.
Tomar said the government has been maintaining that the MSP mechanism will continue. The approval of new support price ahead of rabi season attests to this fact as against a false propaganda spread by Opposition parties.
Some Congress MPs walked out of the House after Tomar made the announcement about the MSPs.
Citing various data, Tomar said the procurement has been significantly higher under this government in the last six years compared to the UPA regime. Tomar said Rs 7 lakh crore has been paid to farmers as MSP in the last six years, which is nearly double than the UPA government.