Government announces hike in MSP for Kharif season

Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi increases rates for all varieties of 14 kharif crops

June 08, 2022 08:42 pm | Updated 08:46 pm IST - New Delhi:

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur addresses media, at National Media Centre in New Delhi, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur addresses media, at National Media Centre in New Delhi, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday hiked the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy by ₹100 per quintal for the 2022-23 Kharif season. The rates for 14 Kharif crops have been increased, the hikes ranging from 4% to 8%.

This is similar to the MSP hike given in 2021-22, which was in the range of 1% to 7%.

At a press briefing after a meeting of the Union Cabinet, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said that Indian agriculture had scaled new heights in the last eight years because of the Modi government’s beej se bazar tak (seed to market) vision. “In today’s Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it has been decided that MSP rates for all varieties of 14 kharif crops have been increased.”

Mr. Thakur also pointed out that the hiked rates had been announced before the beginning of the sowing season, for assured returns to the farmers and to increase their morale. Announcing the MSP hike before the sowing of kharif crops, he added, would give farmers an indication of the price they would get and help them decide which crops to grow.

Paddy is the main kharif crop, the sowing of which has already begun. The MSP for both Paddy (common) which was ₹1940 per quintal and Paddy (Grade A) which was ₹1960 per quintal has increased by ₹100. The highest hike has been for two varieties of Jowar at the rate of 8%. And the lowest has been for Maize whose price in 2021-22 was ₹1870 has been hiked by ₹92.

The present hikes comes in the backdrop of spiralling input rates, especially due to sharp increase in fertilizer rates. Mr. Thakur said that the government’s fertilizer subsidy bill had also simultaneously increased. “In spite of the global increase in prices of fertilizers, this year we are giving subsidy worth ₹2.10 lakh crores. This is double what the government was paying last year, which was ₹1 lakh crore. We haven’t let the burden pass on to the farmers,” he said.

Unions sceptical of announcement

The announcement did not generate positive sentiment among the farm unions. All-India Kisan Sabha leader Hannan Mollah said that such incremental increase in prices would not make a difference. He dismissed the announcement as an effort to hoodwink the farmers. “Fertilizers are selling at the price of gold and such marginal increases will not make a dent,” he said.

Krantikari Kisan Union leader Darshan Pal Singh said the fundamental problem still remained, that the MSP was not a statutory compulsion. “The government, at the end of day, only procures four crops and that too from select States. We have been saying that the minimum bidding for the crop should begin from MSP onwards. We shall begin the second round of our agitation for this soon.”

The hikes have been announced at a time when the government is struggling to procure crops in the wake of a high demand because of global supply disruption. Farmers are selling crops in the open market since they are getting better rates.

Not enough, says Congress

The Congress, meanwhile, said the rate of increase of MSP by the Narendra Modi government was far lower than what was done during the UPA regime. Sharing comparative statistics, Rajya Sabha MP and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “The Prime Minister promised to double farmers’ income by 2022…that has remained a jumla. All he has managed to do is increase their costs. This chart shows how the UPA government consistently stood by the farmers and exposes the hollow claims of the BJP.” 

According to the chart, the hike for paddy, for example, from 2005-06 to 2013-14 was 130%, while the hike from 2014-15 to 2022-23 under the BJP government is 50%. In all the 14 crops that were compared, the rate of hike during the UPA was higher than that of the BJP government.

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