Govt likely to provide Rs50 bonus over paddy/quintal

Govt likely to provide Rs50 bonus over paddy/quintal

New Delhi: The government may provide a bonus of Rs50 to paddy farmers over and above the minimum support price of Rs850 per quintal this year.

The hike in procurement price is likely to be announced next week, a top government official said on Monday. The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council had earlier suggested that the MSP be fixed at Rs900 per quintal.

The move is aimed at extending a helping hand to farmers, the official added.

The Cabinet, in its meeting on 21 August, approved the support prices for various kharif crops, including paddy.

The Cabinet had, on 12 June, announced an ad-hoc MSP for paddy at Rs850 a quintal. However, it referred the matter to the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council as southern states, major producers of rice, had been demanding a hike in the MSP to Rs1,000 a quintal, on a par with that of wheat.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), which recommends MSP for various crops, had suggested the government to raise the paddy MSP to Rs1,000 a quintal for the 2008-09 season.

Last year, the MSP of paddy, including bonus, was Rs745 per quintal and Rs775 for common and Grade A varieties.

The MSPs for maize, jowar and bajra have now been fixed at Rs840 per quintal each, while cotton is Rs2,500 a quintal for medium staple and Rs3,000 for long staple.

Meanwhile, areas under paddy cultivation in the ongoing kharif season rose to 373.51 lakh hectares till September 19, compared with 361.81 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.

An official source said the acreage would surpass the five-year average of 389.66 lakh hectares (LH) this year, as there are some more days left in this season. Last year, farmers had sown paddy in 393.83 LH.