Under PM-AASHA, the price deficiency support has to be paid within one month of sale of crops in mandis.
By Prabhudatta Mishra
While procurement of kharif 2018 crops under PM-AASHA, the reinforced price support scheme for pulses and oilseeds, continues to be low, Madhya Pradesh seems to have done relatively well as it has reportedly ensured minimum support price (MSP) benefit for 25.25 lakh tonne of soybean and maize.
But FE has learnt that not a single rupee has been paid yet to farmers under the state’s Bhavantar scheme, while price support for such crop volume would entail a payout of over `1,260 crore if the ‘flat’ amount of `500/quintal promised was to be disbursed.
Under PM-AASHA, the price deficiency support has to be paid within one month of sale of crops in mandis. By that norm, at least a section of farmers in MP should have got the amounts in their bank accounts by last week of November as the Bhavantar operations officially started on October 20.
Outgoing CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced a ‘flat Rs 500/quintal bonus’ for soybean and maize if mandi rates fall below their MSPs.
The notification in this regard, however, indicated that farmers would only receive the actual difference between ‘modal’ (mandi) price and MSPs, which would be capped at Rs 500/quintal.
There still exists ambiguity over the quantum of support.
According to the state government’s data, the modal (average) price of soybean was Rs 3,097/quintal and that of maize was Rs 1,269/quintal between October 20 and December 3. If the differential between the modal prices and MSPs are to be paid, then the amount to be disbursed under the Bhavantar operations conducted during the period is estimated at Rs 890 crore.
The payout will be more as the Bhavantar scheme is to continue until January 19.
The state government is implementing the scheme for three months from October 20 for kharif 2018. “Total cost for the scheme is estimated at about Rs 2,000 crore out of which the state expects to receive about Rs 700 crore as Centre’s share,” a state government official said.
The MP government had paid Rs 1,570 crore to farmers in kharif 2017 under Bhavantar. It aborted the plan to undertake the operations during rabi 2017-18 season for chana, masur and mustard crops after mandi prices dropped over 30% against their MSPs as it could have cost the state government around Rs 3,500 crore.
Finally, the Centre undertook procurement of these crops though Nafed. According to the PM-AASHA guidelines, the Centre will re-imburse the states if they get its approval before carrying out the market operation under the price deficiency support scheme. The guidelines prescribe a formula to calculate the market price on the basis of the modal price in the mandis and it is not on the actual market rate a farmer sold his produce.