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Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday that the government has constituted a committee to look into ways to strengthen the minimum support price (MSP) system for farmers. The minister said, “a committee has been formed regarding diversification, natural farming and MSP," adding that this would includes farmer representatives, state government representatives and central government officials, according to news agency PTI report.

The committee formed by the government will look into ways to strengthen the MSP system and how farmers can take benefit out of the support price mechanism, the minister further highlighted, and that the government will consider the recommendations of the committee. The minister, while responding to a question from Tiruchi Siva (DMK) who asked whether the government has any plans to increase the MSP to 200% of the production cost of the farmers.

Notably, former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agrawal is the chairman of the committee. While responding to a separate query from KR Suresh Reddy (TRS), Choudhary said the budgetary allocation for agriculture has been increasing year on year and has already touched 1.32 lakh crore mark, the report said.

"The agriculture budget, which stood at 27,000 crore in 2013-14, has gone up to 1.32 lakh crore," the minister said. He noted that India is among the top ten countries in terms of fund allocation to the agri sector. Choudhary also informed the House that Telangana received 15,985 crore as part of the agricultural infrastructure fund in 2021-22, according to the PTI report.

Meanwhile, earlier this week on Wednesday, the government raised the minimum price that mills have to pay to sugarcane growers by 15 to 305 per quintal for the 2022-23 marketing year starting October. The decision will benefit around 5 crore sugarcane farmers and their dependents, as well as about 5 lakh workers employed in sugar mills and related ancillary activities, news agency PTI report said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for the 2022-23 sugar marketing year (October - September) at " 305 per quintal for a basic recovery rate of 10.25 per cent", an official statement said. The cost of production of sugarcane for the 2022-23 marketing year is 162 per quintal, the report said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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