Thursday, November 30, 2023

Govt hikes wheat MSP by Rs 150

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PNS | New Delhi

Ahead of the assembly polls in key wheat growing states, the government on Wednesday announced an increase in the minimum support price of wheat by Rs 150 to Rs 2,275 per quintal for the 2024-25 marketing season. This is the highest quantum of increase in MSP for any marketing season since the Modi government came to power in 2014.

Besides, the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for five other rabi crops — gram, barley, lentil (masur), rapeseed-mustard seed and safflower — have been hiked. A decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Currently, the MSP of wheat stands at Rs 2,125 per quintal for the 2023-24 marketing season (April-March). Wheat is the main rabi (winter) crop and its sowing begins in October while harvesting starts from April.

MSP is the minimum rate at which the grain is purchased by the government procurement agencies. Briefing media after the cabinet meeting, Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said the CCEA has approved the increase in the MSP of six mandated rabi crops for the 2024-25 marketing season.

“Based on the CACP (Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices) recommendation, we have increased the MSP of six rabi crops. Wheat MSP has been increased by Rs 150 per quintal,” he said.

The MSP of wheat has been raised to Rs 2,275 per cent quintal for 2024-25 marketing season from Rs 2,125 per quintal in 2023-24. The increase in wheat MSP comes ahead of the assembly polls in the key wheat growing states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan even as consumer prices of wheat and wheat flour have been under pressure since last one-and-half years.

The ban on wheat exports to control prices of wheat and wheat flour (atta) has been in place since May 2022. The current increase in wheat MSP is the highest since 2015-16. The previous increase was in the range of Rs 100-110 per quintal announced for four marketing seasons — 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2023-24.

Asked about the impact of wheat MSP increase on food inflation, the minister said India has kept the inflation under check during and post pandemic period. According to the Minister, the MSP of barley has been increased by Rs 115 per quintal to Rs 1,850 for 2024-25 from Rs 1,735 per quintal this year. Among rabi pulses, the MSP of gram has been increased by Rs 105 to Rs 5,440 per quintal for 2024-25 as against Rs 5,335 per quintal in 2023-24 while that of lentil (masur) has been hiked by Rs 425 to Rs 6,425 per quintal from Rs 6,000 per quintal. In order to promote oilseeds cultivation, the government increased rapeseed-mustard seed MSP by Rs 200 to Rs 5,650 per quintal for 2024-25 marketing season, from Rs 5,450 per quintal in 2023-24 season.

The MSP of safflower has been increased by Rs 150 to Rs 5,800 per quintal for 2024-25 from Rs 5,650 per quintal, Thakur said. The minister also mentioned that the increase in the MSP of the rabi crops is in line with the Union Budget 2018-19 announcement of fixing the MSP at a level of at least 1.5 times of the all-India weighted average cost of production.
In the last few years, the government has been promoting crop diversification towards oilseeds, pulses and millets to enhance food security, increase farmers’ income, and reduce dependence on imports.

The government has undertaken various initiatives such as the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) and the National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) with the objective to provide financial support, quality seeds to encourage farmers to cultivate oilseeds and pulses, the minister said. The agriculture ministry has kept a record wheat production target of 114 million tonne for the 2023-24 crop year (July-June), higher than the actual output of 112.6 million tonne achieved in 2022-23.

As per the ministry, there is enough supply of seeds for wheat planting. According to official data, the availability of wheat seed is about 123.43 lakh quintal which is higher than the requirement of 102.63 lakh quintal for the ensuing rabi season. The ministry has also asked the wheat growing states to promote and increase the area under the climate resilient wheat varieties this year, amid the challenges of climate change.

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