Madhya Pradesh support for below-MSP sales triggers doubt over efficacy

New Delhi | Published: October 20, 2018 2:22:04 AM

Just before the announcement of the assembly election schedule, the Madhya Pradesh government had announced up to `500 per quintal reimbursement to soyabean and maize farmers under the Bhavantar (price differential) scheme if the mandi prices fall below their respective MSPs.

farmers, madhya pradeshThe Madhya Pradesh government had announced that the Bhavantar Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana would be implemented for 90 days beginning October 20.

By Prabhudatta Mishra

Just before the announcement of the assembly election schedule, the Madhya Pradesh government had announced up to `500 per quintal reimbursement to soyabean and maize farmers under the Bhavantar (price differential) scheme if the mandi prices fall below their respective MSPs.

Average mandi price of soyabean in Madhya Pradesh was down by nearly `500 per quintal from the MSP level during October 1-17, which creates doubt over the efficacy of such a system to guarantee the minimum price for the farmers.

According to the official data maintained with the agmarknet portal, the average mandi price of soybean was Rs 2,920/quintal, against MSP of Rs 3,399 while maize was Rs 1,219/quintal compared with MSP of `1,700 across the state during October 1-17. The maize price in Davangere, Karnataka, a major producing and trading centre in the country, was Rs 1,275/quintal during October 1-17.

The Madhya Pradesh government had announced that the Bhavantar Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana would be implemented for 90 days beginning October 20. The notification, issued on October 5, said the registered farmers will receive the price differential between their selling price and MSP at “up to Rs 500/quintal flat”.

Sources said while the chief minister had announced “flat” R500 as price differential amount to be paid to farmers, the notification added the term “up to” and it needs further clarity. Traders and farmers assume that the government would pay them `500/quintal irrespective of the selling price and that is the reason for the mandi prices of both these crops to be hovering around `500 below their respective MSPs.

“As a ceiling of R500 has been fixed, the state government may have realised that operating the price differential scheme in Indian condition is unworkable. It would have also considered the last year’s experience,” said former union agriculture secretary Siraj Hussain.

Since the fixed payment will be made during the next three months, the prices of maize and soyabean are unlikely to rise even in December-January when arrival of crops reduces, he added.

“The state may announce a flat payment for all the farmers so that no one complains against any discrimination made by the government because of the assembly election next month,” a source said. The payment may be any amount within `500 limit fixed, he added. There are 27.98 lakh farmers in Madhya Pradesh registered for different price support schemes. The state has received the Centre’s approval to undertake price support scheme (PSS) for groundnut, sesame, niger and moong crops while soyabean and maize crops will be under Bhavantar to get the benefit of MSP.

 

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