Budget

Swaminathan calls for clarity on MSP hike

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Paddy, millet growers may not benefit

Agriculture expert and former Rajya Sabha member M.S. Swaminathan welcomed Thursday’s Union Budget announcement to keep the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all unannounced kharif crops at least at one and a half times of the production cost. However, he said the government should clarify whether the proposed hike was the same as the formula for MSP recommended in 2006 by the National Commission on Farmers, which he headed.

The M.S. Swaminathan Committee report had recommended a minimum support price of 50% profits above the cost of production classified as ‘C2’ by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.

Speaking to The Hindu, Prof. Swaminathan said that since the Finance Minister had announced the proposed hike for only unannounced crops, most important crops such as paddy or millets are not up for any hike.

In a statement, the agricultural scientist suggested that if price in the market drops below the MSP, the government should purchase either at MSP or work to provide the MSP through an alternate mechanism. If income is less than the support price, the government has said that it will make efforts to buy the surplus produced by the farmers.

Given the significant impact of climate on farm produce, Prof. Swaminathan said while the Budget provides for greater use of clean and renewable energy sources, it does not deal with the management of climate change in relation to farming. “It is important to set up climate risk management R&D centres — at least one at every block level. Such centres should be supported by trained Climate Risk Managers, one woman and one man from each Panchayat.”

He welcomed the increased allocation for building warehouses and upgrading 22,000 rural haats (shandys) into Grameen Agricultural markets. The decision to integrate fisheries and animal husbandry with Kisan Credit Cards and restructure the National Bamboo Mission to enhance the cultivation and consumption of bamboo products was also welcomed.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 1:54:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/swaminathan-calls-for-clarity-on-msp-hike/article22625302.ece

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