Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday announced the highest-ever hike in the minimum support price of wheat for the coming rabi season, gave an incentive bonus on the support price for kharif rice and banned the export of non-basmati rice. Substantial hike in the support price of barley, gram masur, rapeseed/mustard and safflower were also declared.

The government also announced a relief package for the sugar industry, particularly to benefit the farmers. The package includes extending moratorium from two to five years on outstanding term loans.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved a Food Ministry proposal for setting the minimum support price of wheat at Rs. 1,000 a quintal against Rs. 850 a quintal (including a bonus of Rs. 100 a quintal) last year, in the face of criticism for importing wheat at Rs. 1,600 a quintal.