NEW DELHI : The Centre on Wednesday offered a bonus of Rs 200 per quintal on pulses over and above the new minimum support price (MSP) to incentivise farmers grow more. MSP is the rate at which government buys the grain from farmers.
It has been frowning over any state trying to give any bonus to farmers for better procurement, but it justified the bonus decision for pulses as an exception in view of huge deficit of pulses in contrast to a large surplus of cereals.
While approving a modest increase of Rs 50 per quintal in the MSP for the Kharif crops like paddy, cotton, moong and sunflower seeds, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Modi hiked the MSP of Tur (Arhar) and Urad pulses by Rs 75 per quintal as recommended by CACP (Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices) and added Rs 200 more as bonus.
Moong pulse will also get the bonus as the government’s purchase price for it has been hiked from Rs 4600 in 2014-15 to Rs 4850 per quintal, including bonus, while Tur (Arhar) and Urad will be bought at Rs 4625 per quintal instead of Rs 4350 per quintal. “This (increase in pulses MSP) is expected to give a strong price signal to farmers to increase acreage and invest for increase in productivity of pulses,” an official statement said, adding that MSP would be effective from October 2015.
The CCEA also decided to put into operation a credible procurement mechanism for pulses and oilseeds and strengthened procurement in the eastern parts of the country so far neglected.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that the government last week decided to import pulses and the decision now to encourage farmers grow more pulses by offering bonus over and above MSP would help in keeping a check on the price rise in pulses. Among cash crops, the MSP of cotton has been raised by Rs 50 to Rs 4,100 per quintal for long staple and Rs 3,800 per quintal for medium staple cotton for 2015-16.
The new prices for procurement effective from coming October 1 include the MSP of jowar and soyabean raised by Rs 40 per quintal, that of groundnut by Rs 30 per quintal, Ragi and sesamum by Rs 100 per quintal, bajra by Rs 25 per quintal and maize by Rs 15 per quintal.
With retail prices of pulses breaching Rs 100 per kg mark in most parts of the country because of short supply, an increase in MSP of lentils may encourage farmers to sow pulses.
Prices of pulses have risen by more than 64 per cent in the last one year as the domestic production fell by nearly 2 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year due to unfavourable weather conditions.
India imports about 4 million tonnes of pulses, largely through private trade, to meet domestic shortfall.