New Delhi: Government on Wednesday made a sharp increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy– the key kharif crop, by 13 percent to Rs 1,750 per quintal for the 2018-19 crop year.
To woo distressed farmers ahead of 2019 general polls, the government has also accepted the MSP of the 14 kharif crops.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) at its meeting approved the MSP of 14 Kharif (summer-sown) crops.
The MSP of paddy (common grade) has been increased by Rs 200 to Rs 1,750 per quintal, while that of Grade A variety by Rs 160 per quintal to Rs 1,750.
The MSP of cotton (medium staple) has been increased to Rs 5,150 from Rs 4,020 and that of cotton (long staple) to Rs 5,450 from 4,320 per quintal.
In pulses, tur MSP has been raised to Rs 5,675 per quintal from Rs 5,450, and that of moong to Rs 6,975 per quintal from Rs 5,575. Urad MSP has been hiked to Rs 5,600 from Rs 5,400 per quintal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last week announced that the the Cabinet will approve the hike in MSP to at least 1.5 times of the production cost in the forthcoming meeting.
In this year's general budget, the government had announced that it would fix a support price at least 1.5 times of the cost of the production. This was the BJP's poll promise in 2014 general elections.
Normally, the MSP is announced just before the start of the sowing to help farmers choose the crop they want to sow. Sowing of kharif crops begins with the onset of southwest monsoon and harvesting from October.
Farm experts are of the view that the sharp increase in the paddy MSP could further boost India's rice production, which touched an all-time high of 111 million tonnes in 2017-18 crop year and the output is much more than the domestic demand.
The cultivation of paddy, which is a water guzzling crop, needs to be discouraged and not promoted, they said, adding that higher rice production will lead to increase in government procurement and swelling of the food subsidy bill.
With PTI Inputs