Cabinet approves 4-5% increase in MSP of several kharif crops

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The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved an increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of several kharif crops, in line with the Centre’s efforts to allay fears over the contentious farm laws.

MSPs for crops such as paddy, cotton, jowar, bajra, maize, groundnut, and soyabean have been increased by 4-5% from the rates last year.

“As per the MSP policy announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, farmers are certainly benefitting greatly from the scheme,” agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said at a press briefing.

He reiterated the government’s stance that the MSP procurement policy will not be withdrawn, despite widespread apprehensions from the farmers protesting at Delhi’s borders since November 2020 to repeal the three farm laws introduced by the Centre.

“In the past, when talks of reform were ongoing, both I and the PM had in the House (Parliament) had reassured everyone that MSP is currently implemented and will continue to be implemented,” Tomar said.

MSP for common paddy has been increased to Rs 1,940 per quintal from Rs 1,868, while for medium-staple cotton it is upped to Rs 5,726 from Rs 5,515 per quintal last year.

The government has guaranteed at least a 50% hike in the returns over the average cost of cultivation for the farmers.

The biggest beneficiaries from the announced prices will be growers of bajra, whose return over average cost of production at the MSP rate would be 85%, followed by growers of urad (65%), and tur (62%). For all other crops such as paddy, cotton, soyabean, ragi, and maize the returns will be 50%.

The government announces the revision of MSPs twice a year — once each prior to the rabi (winter) and kharif (monsoon) seasons.

All these crops are water-intensive crops that are to be sown before the monsoon winds arrive across the nation.

The monsoon, after reaching India three days late, continues to make rapid progress in the country. The weather bureau has forecasted a slightly above-normal monsoon this year, which should cheer the agricultural sector, which directly or indirectly employs nearly half of India’s population.

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