Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Cabinet clears hike in kharif crop MSPS
New rates will offer farmers returns up to 62% over cost of cultivation, says agri minister Tomar
NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet has raised minimum support prices (MSP) of summer-sown crops, increasing them by 1.8% and 6.7%, in keeping with a policy to offer farmers at least 50% returns over the cost of cultivation, farm minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Wednesday.
The new rates come amid ongoing protests by farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, who want the government to scrap three agricultural laws passed in September 2020 and offer a legal backing for MSPS.
The MSPS announced Wednesday are geared toward nudging farmers to shift away from plentiful cereals, by setting higher prices for oilseeds and pulses, whose output and supply are relatively scarce. For instance, India imports up to two-thirds of its vegetable oil to meet domestic demand.
“We have been saying all along that there should be no doubt over MSP. The MSP system has been there and will be there,” Tomar said. The new rates will offer returns of between 50% and 62% over cost of cultivation, he said.
MSPS are federally-fixed floor prices for crops aimed at avoiding distress sale by farmers and signaling a benchmark rate for private traders.
The agriculture minister said the government had not closed the doors on negotiations with protesting farm unions. “We are willing to talk and are committed to farmers’ welfare. We had 11 rounds of talks. We have appealed to the farmers to point out specific objections in the legislation. Neither any opposition leader in the House (Parliament) nor the protesting farmers have come up with any specific objection,” Tomar said.
The government buys large quantities of cereals from