Seeking to fulfil the poll promise of the BJP, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to hike Minimum Support Price (MSP) by 50 per cent for 14 crops for the Kharif sowing season.
Announcing the Cabinet decision, Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh said that the Wednesday decision is not an ordinary one as he had never imagined that a government could give such a hike in one go.
The paddy has been given a hike of Rs 200 per quintal, with the government stating that the decision translated to 50 per cent increase to the input cost determined by the Commission for agricultural costs and prices ( CACP). The input cost is inclusive of the family labour cost, added Singh.
Incidentally, the MSP for the 2017-18 Kharif season was Rs 1550 per quintal which has now been enhanced to Rs 1750 per quintal.
Singh also stated that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has also approved the proposal to pay the farmers price difference between the MSP and market in the event of the procurement agencies failing to procure crops.
“This will translate into Rs 6000-8000 per acre gain for the farmers,” said Singh, who added that the decision would have a positive impact on the economy with the help of the purchasing powers of the people in the rural areas getting a significant boost.
The highest increase in the MSP has been for Bajra which will now fetch Rs 1950 per quintal against Rs 1425 last Kharif season.
Kharif crops including Jowar, Ragi, maize, Tur, Moong, Urad, Groundnut, Sunflower seed, soya bean, Sesamum, Nigerseed, and Cotton have also been given around 50 per cent hike in the MSP for the 2018-19 Kharif season.
The CACP, while determining the input cost for crops, has factored in costs on account of hired labour, bullock and machinery costs, rent paid on lease, expenses on inputs like seeds, fertiliser, manures, irrigation, depreciation on implements and imputed value for family labour.
The Congress managers felt the government’s move to hike MSP of Kharif crops was a desperate attempt to placate the agitating farmers and saw it as a hint that the 2019 national polls may be advanced by a few months.
“This is a move to please the farmers which they knew were unhappy with the BJP. The centre will try to derive political mileage from the misleading announcement by advancing the Lok Sabha polls to February next year,” said a Congress insider.