In a major boost to pro-farmer initiatives, Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took a number of decisions for welfare of farming community. The cabinet approved a new procurement policy today that compensates oilseeds farmers if rates fall below the minimum support price (MSP) and also allows private companies for procurement.
Under the new policy ‘Annadata Maulya Samrakshana Yojana’, the state governments will be given an option to select from the multiple schemes to safeguard farmers when prices fall below the MSP. Here are the major decisions:
Ethanol price hike: A hike in ethanol price by 25 percent by the Union Cabinet today. The latest move is likely to help the sugar mills divert their production to the manufacturing of ethanol from sugar. Recently, the sugar industry has witnessed a crash in sugar price due to over-production causing huge losses to the producers. A target of 10 percent ethanol blending in petrol was set up as target by the government by 2022. However, in 2016-17, blending was 3.5 percent in the sugar season and 4 per cent in the 2015-16 season.
The new Umbrella Scheme PM-AASHA (Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan) includes the mechanism of ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers and is comprised of:
Price Support Scheme (PSS): Physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds, and copra to be done by Central Nodal Agencies along with state governments. The central government will bear procurement expenditure and losses due to procurement up to 25 percent of production.
Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS): Under ‘Price Deficiency Payment (PDP)’, oilseed farmers will get a difference between the MSP and monthly average price of oilseeds quoted in the wholesale market.
Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS): Participation of private sector in procurement operation to be piloted under the scheme. For oilseeds, the states have the option to roll out the scheme on pilot basis in selected district/APMC(s) involving private stockists.