Yechury calls for MSP review of wheat, paddy

Written by Commodities Bureau | New Delhi, Jan 27 | Updated: Jan 28 2008, 05:48am hrs
Expressing serious concern over the alarming increase in suicide cases among farmers, the CPI (M) leader and polit bureau member, Sitaram Yechury called for a review of minimum support prices (MSPs) of wheat and paddy, immediate ban commodity futures trading in agri products, revamping of the public distribution system (PDS) and substantially hike public investment in agriculture.

He suggested extension of institutional credit to farmers with an interest rate of not more than 4%.

On proposed move of the government for hiking petrol products prices, he warned that the Left would oppose it tooth and nail and suggested that the government should first cut excise and other taxes on crude oil and extend the benefits of ad volerum duty to oil company to offset their losses.

Releasing the Assocham studyAgricultural Scenario: Agenda for Farmers Prosperityhere on Sunday, Yechury sought MSP for wheat at Rs 1,250 per quintal and that of paddy at Rs 1,000 per quintal to ensure the farmers are able to cover the cost of production and get some legitimate returns.

He argued that the central government had already paid more than Rs 1600 a quintal more for importing wheat, while not being prepared to pay the farmers more than Rs 1,000 a quintal for wheat. "This makes for a good logic that the MSPs for wheat and paddy is increased without any delay," he said.

Left parties, including CPI (M) are supporting the ruling UPA coalition led by the Congress at the Centre. Yechury's demands may, therefore, have some bearing on the decisions the government is likely to take in the future.

On commodities futures trading in agri commodities, Yechury sought imposition of a ban as it promotes speculative trading, hoarding and consequent rise in prices. On the issue of recent incidence of bird flu in West Bengal, he said that the state government reacted timely to curb the menace.

Yechury informed that as a result of massive culling of chicken in the state, the poor people losses have multiplied and therefore, the state government had asked the Centre to come out with a package of Rs 3,000 crore for those victims that suffered on this account.