Punjab farmers on Thursday said that the Centre’s increase in the minimum support price (MSP) for kharif crops was peanuts at a time when the state’s agricultural sector was faced with an economic crisis.
On Wednesday, the cabinet committee on economic affairs announced revised MSPs for summer-sown crops amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation for scrapping the three farm laws and offering a legal backing for MSPs.
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With an increase of ₹72, the MSP of paddy (common) has been revised from ₹1,868 to ₹1,940, while grade-A paddy will be bought for ₹1,960 as compared to last year’s ₹1,888. Effecting an increase of ₹20, the MSP for maize has been increased from ₹1,850 to ₹1,870. Last year, the MSP for maize was increased by ₹90 and by ₹53 for paddy varieties.
This year, the Centre has also mentioned ₹1,239 as cost of paddy production per quintal, while it is ₹1,246 in case of maize production.
Formula adopted by Centre faulty: BKU leader
BKU general secretary (Dakaunda) Jagmohan Singh said the committee adopts an outdated method to determine the MSP that ignores the formula recommended by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
“The formula adopted by the Centre is faulty as it has failed incorporate cost of labour, increase prices of diesel and rent of agriculture land while announcing fresh MSP,” Singh said.
Terming the hike in paddy and maize prices a “mere joke”, he said it will not help farmers as the ground reality is different. “Though the government buys wheat and paddy on MSP, but farmers are getting nearly 50% of the MSP in the case of maize. This year, the maize was sold for ₹900- ₹1,000 per quintal against the MSP of ₹1,850,” he said.
Manjit Singh from BKU’s Ugrahan faction said farmers have been asking the Centre to adopt the formula recommended by the National Commission on Farmers chairperson MS Swaminathan.
“The production cost is much more than what’s mentioned by the Centre. Instead, the government should have provided an MSP that accounts for the basic cost incurred on production and an additional 50% profit,” he said.
Economist calls for scientific approach
Lakhwinder Singh Gill, a former professor of economics at Punjabi University, said that the Centre has come up with a meagre increase as the paddy MSP has been hiked by 3.85% but at the same time, the prices for diesel are up by 19% in the recent past.
“The Centre has not adopted a scientific approach while proposing the pricing for different crops.The government has not fulfilled its poll promise of offering MSP on the C2 (comprehensive cost) and 50% profit,” he said.
The C2 formula of calculating cost of cultivation includes the input cost of capital and the rent on the land to give farmers 50% returns.