Farmer suicides: Maharashtra task force wants special bonus

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Pune | Published: June 4, 2016 7:05:36 AM

The task force’s chairman said it would, through the state government, move a petition before the Centre to seek a bonus of at least around Rs 500 a quintal

Maharashtra’s state-sponsored task force on agrarian crisis, Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalambi Mission (VNSSM), has welcomed the Centre’s decision to give the final nod to the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) for the kharif season 2016-17 to hike the minimum support price (MSP) of arhar, urad and moong by up to R425 per quintal, starting September. The task force, however, has sought a special bonus for cotton and soya, stating that the MSP hikes for both the commodities have been negligible and the bonus should prove helpful to farmers in the distressed districts of Maharashtra where farmer suicides and the agrarian crisis have become a serious issue. Farm activist Kishore Tiwari, also chairman of the task force, VNSSM, said that the task force, through the state government, would move a special petition before the Union government to seek a special bonus of at least around R500 per quintal. The Centre should reconsider the CACP recommendations in order to address farmers distress in cotton-growing region of Maharashtra, he said.

“Over and above the MSP, the government has decided to give a bonus of R425 per quintal for pulses and R100-200 per quintal for oilseeds, aiming to motivate farmers to grow more pulses and oilseeds to encourage more of production of pulses to meet the demand supply gap situation stable At the same time there has been a very low increase of R60 in paddy and cotton MSP,” he said. Tiwari pointed out that the Maharashtra government launched a special pluses and oil-seed promotion programme in 14 drought-affected districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada to tackle the ongoing agrarian crisis to curb prevailing farm distress, replacing rain- sensitive cash crop like Bt cotton and sugarcane this kharif season. This hike in the MSP of arhar, urad and moong, along with the bonus, would certainly boost pluses and oil-seed production in the state. The state government’s assurance of 100% procurement of pulses at the MSP is an added advantage and would make farmers comfortable to go for more pulses production. However, soya has not been included in the list of oilseeds, he pointed out.

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