The government on Wednesday increased the minimum support price MSP for rabi crops by up to 21%, including a 6% hike in the support price of wheat to Rs 1,840 a quintal, for the 2018-19 season, in a move aimed at quelling the farmers’ protest and growing agrarian distress, a key political imperative ahead of elections in key states this year and the parliamentary polls next year.
Ahead of crucial assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and just a day after a Kisan Kranti Yatra rally was stopped from entering Delhi by police using water cannons and tear gas, the government announced significant hikes in the minimum support prices MSP for rabi crops, the season ensuing from November. The MSP for the 2018-19 wheat crop has been fixed at Rs 1,840 per quintal, a 6.05 per cent increase over last year’s level of Rs 1,735. The Union Cabinet also approved hikes in MSP for rabi season crops: From Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,200 per quintal for rapeseed-mustard; from Rs 4,400 to Rs 4,620 per quintal for chana or chickpea; from Rs 4,250 to Rs 4,475 per quintal for masur or lentil; from Rs 1,410 to Rs 1,440 per quintal for barley; and, Rs 4,100 to Rs 4,945 per quintal for safflower. Few months back, the government had announced higher MSP for Kharif crops, to fulfill its promise of giving farmers 50% more price than their cost of production.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved higher Minimum support Prices MSP for rabi crops which are sown in Winter. Addressing reporters after a Cabinet meeting, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the decision, which is part of the government’s effort to double farmer incomes by ensuring they get at least a 50% return over their cost of production, would help farmers earn an additional income of Rs 62,635 crore. The support price has been increased based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, the farm advisory body