The Government of Maharashtra is working on a framework to bring non-MSP crops in the state under Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) under the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitating) Act, 2017, Maharashtra cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh said on Monday. The Minister said that the cabinet members had, on August 21, discussed a proposal to impose penalties for violation of the SMP and this was misinterpreted as an amendment to sentence traders to a one-year jail term and a fine of Rs 50,000 for purchasing below MSP.
The SMP is announced by the Central government based on the cost of cultivation estimated by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. This is the basic price that sugar mills must pay sugarcane growers. The decision concerning the SMP would be tabled before the Maharashtra Assembly for deliberation before any call was taken on it. “We have just proposed to include the fines and jail term on the SMP for those found not paying the State Advisory Price (SAP) and SMP,” a senior official said.
This is limited to cane so far, he added. The Minister said that the issue is yet to be taken up and it could be over a year before it comes up before the cabinet and this is being confused with. The minister said that according to their plans, the SMP could in future be declared for some crops via an ordinance for fair sale of their specific produce in the market,” the minister said. The existing Acts and rules already have provisions for violation of the MSP, the minister said.
“Maharashtra Cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh met around 300 trader representatives from across the state in Mumbai on Monday morning where he has given an assurance to traders that the government has no intention of harassing traders. The minister clearly stated that the government will not go ahead with the proposed amendment and shall continue with the Maharashtra APMC Act 1963,” Walchand Sancheti, president, Federation of Associations of Traders ( Maharashtra) said. Pasha Patel, chairman, Maharashtra state commission for agriculture cost and prices said the state