MSP bonus, trickery lead to jump in wheat procurement in MP, Rajasthan

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 3 2014, 09:47am hrs
A bonus of R150 per quintal over the Minimum Support Price (MSP) announced by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the last few marketing seasons has led to a huge jump in procurement of wheat. But a chunk of grain from the bordering states of Punjab and Haryana is also finding its way into the purchase drive.

Although the bonus on MSP is meant only for farmers from the two states, people use loopholes in the system to transport grain from nearby states to get extra bonus, a food ministry source said. The Centre has announced R1,400 per quintal as MSP for the 2014-15 season.

Food ministry sources told FE that because of inadequate infrastructure in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the excess grain being procured has to be put in temporary storage.

Districts such as Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Abohar, Ferozepur and Fazilka in Punjab border the Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan. Officials from the latter state's food and civil supplies corporation are aware that the bonus offered to farmers has attracted farmers from Punjab, Haryana and UP as well.

"It's mandatory for farmers to produce an identity proof prior to selling their produce to government agencies. This is to prevent farmers from neighbouring states from availing of the bonus. But many farmers from neighbouring states sell their grain to our farmers, and we can't track that, a Rajasthan official said.

What is compounding the problem is that excess wheat put in temporary storage was recently damaged in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh because of unseasonal rains, an official said. The two states are part of the decentralised procurement system, where the state government-owned agencies purchase grain from farmers and get the money reimbursed from the food ministry through FCI.

Agriculture minister reviews farm insurance schemes

Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Monday reviewed schemes relating to farm insurance with the agriculture secretary and other officials. According to an official release, Singh took stock of the infirmities in agricultural insurance schemes and explored how a more farmer-friendly scheme could be devised. He also met home minister Rajnath Singh to discuss modalities of the proposed Krishi Amdani Bima Yojana, launched during the earlier NDA rule. fe Bureau