Cabinet to take up rice bonus issue today

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 29 2009, 05:58am hrs
As the rice procurement during the current marketing season, which started in October, remains low as compared to last year, the Cabinet on Thursday is likely to discuss a food ministry proposal to declare a bonus of Rs 50 over and above the minimum support price (MSP).

The bonus is aimed at speeding up the procurement process, which till now has lagged behind last years level. As on October 28, state-run agencies procured around 73.70 lakh tonne of rice as against 75.05 lakh tonne in the same period last year. The government aims to procure around 294 lakh tonne of rice this year for the central pool.

The Centre on August 20 had announced the paddy MSP at Rs 950 a quintal for average quality and Rs 980 a quintal for higher grade for the 2009-10 season (October- September).

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Cabinet is also expected to discuss amendments to the Essential Commodities Act 1955 and Sugarcane Control Order 1966, which will enable it to fix the benchmark sugarcane price for 2009-10 season.

Sources said the Cabinet is likely to discuss a proposal for fixing the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane at about Rs 130 a quintal that mills will be mandated to pay to farmers for buying it.

The food ministry has proposed the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane at about Rs 130 a quintal for this season (October-September), up from Rs 107.76 a quintal from the statutory minimum price (SMP) announced by the Centre earlier for this season.

Last week, the Centre has replaced the SMP with FRP. Under FRP, the government has taken into account risk factor and profit element along with the cost of production.