In­dia set to reap mon­soon bo­nanza with bumper crop

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Zia Haq zia.haq@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Sow­ing of most sum­mer crops has risen higher than nor­mal on the back of good rains, lat­est gov­ern­ment data show, point­ing to a plen­ti­ful har­vest af­ter a dev­as­tat­ing two-year drought.

A good har­vest, key to prosperity for half of all In­di­ans, could lift ru­ral in­comes for the first time in three years. An im­prove­ment in ru­ral in­comes is likely to pro­vide a tail­wind to the Modi gov­ern­ment’s growth agenda by boost­ing spend­ing on con­sumer goods.

The area un­der pulses is nearly 40% higher than the nor­mal, yet another sign that In­dia’s mostly poor farm­ers re­spond promptly to pol­icy mea­sures. Pulses, a scarce item, have roiled house­hold bud­gets over two years be­cause In­dia has had to rely on costly im­ports.

The in­crease is mainly be­cause of higher min­i­mum sup­port prices (MSPs) and the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to build a buf­fer stock. MSPs, which act as a floor price for farm­ers, help avoid less-prof­itable sales when the gov­ern­ment builds a buf­fer by buy­ing the pro­duce.

Data till Aug 26

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