More than 16 lakh of Madhya Pradesh’s 64 lakh farmers have registered themselves under the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana or the price deficit finance scheme, where the state government would pay the farmers the difference between modal rate (the average prices in major mandis) and the minimum support prices (MSPs) for the kharif crops if the latter prices could not be fetched by them.
More than 16 lakh of Madhya Pradesh’s 64 lakh farmers have registered themselves under the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana or the price deficit finance scheme, where the state government would pay the farmers the difference between modal rate (the average prices in major mandis) and the minimum support prices (MSPs) for the kharif crops if the latter prices could not be fetched by them. According to a state government official, more than half of the farmers who have registered for the maiden initiative to deal with farm crisis have sown soyabean in the ongoing kharif season. The benefit of the price deficit finance scheme is available to other kharif crops like pulses (moong, urad and arhar), oilseeds, groundnut and maize.
Around 6 lakh farmers who have sown urad and tur have registered themselves with the Madhya Pradesh Civil Supplies Corporation (MPCSC) and Madhya Pradesh State Cooperative Marketing Federation (Markfed) for the payment. More than 2.5 lakh farmers registered have sown maize in the current kharif season. A state government official told FE that the total likely expenditure incurred for the scheme for the ongoing kharif season would around Rs 4,000 crore. “Currently the farmers are still selling their commodities to buyers or purchasers and the total expenditure or payment to farmers would probably be around Rs 4,098 crore,” the official said.
The state government has also approached the Centre for financial assistance to run the scheme. As mandated in the scheme launched recently, farmers had to upload details like Aadhaar numbers, bank account details, details of the crop cultivated and average yield with websites of two state government agencies for availing the benefits. The state government had asked around 3,000 primary agricultural cooperative societies to help farmers register with the portal, which was open during September 1 to October 22. The amount given to the farmers will be the difference between the MSP and a modal price based on the average selling price in the big mandis in key producing states including Madhya Pradesh over a two-month period. The ‘differential’ payment to soyabean farmers would be made after December 31 when the sale window is closed. Similarly, farmers who have sown maize will be paid by January 31 and for pulses it would be after February. According to the official, the key aim of the scheme is protect farmers against a sharp fall in prices and curb losses incurred by state agencies in procurement of agricultural commodities and disposal later in the market.
Earlier, the Madhya Pradesh government had purchased around 9 lakh tonnes of onions at Rs 8 per kg from farmers in June this year following a protest. The farmers protests took a violent turn on June 6, when five persons were killed in police firing at Mandsaur. However, subsequently, state agencies like Markfed found it difficult to sale the stocks in the open market, thus incurring huge loses. A few years ago, Goa had initiated a similar scheme in a limited way for paddy and betel nuts (supari).