Naveen Patanik led BJD-Govt Meets President Ram Nath Kovind on MSP Hike

New Delhi: The Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik and his BJD government met the President Ram Nath Kovind today at New Delhi and had put their points for the hike of MSP of paddy.

The members of Biju Janata Dal drew attention of the President Ram Nath Kovind to the fact that Paddy is the major crop of Odisha which is cultivated over an area of nearly 40 lakh ha (37 lakh ha. in Kharif and 3 lakh ha in Rabi Season) in a year. This occupies nearly 47% of Gross cropped area. The crop is grown over all types of agro-ecological situation. In fact in some of the land situations in the State (low lying flood plains) there is no other option of raising any other crop except paddy. It will be very pertinent to mention that the State is frequently exposed to cyclone and floods. The climatic and topographical conditions further make it more vulnerable to drought especially in inland districts. As a matter of fact, during the last 55 years, Odisha has witnessed severe natural calamities for 42 years (cyclone/flood 31 years, drought/ moisture stress 26 years, both drought and flood 8 years) in some or the other way. The maximum impact of these natural calamities is borne by the paddy farmers and they are at the receiving end of the unpredictable weather conditions because of the fast changing climatic conditions.

The in-depth analysis done by the Odisha Government of the cost of cultivation of paddy in Odisha reveals that an expenditure of Rs 2344 per quintal is incurred by a farmer who is adopting the standard package of agricultural practice. The Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) while preparing Price for Kharif and suggesting Minimum Support Price (MSP) price indices has relied on the price indices of the Triennium ending 2015-16 for the estimates like Gross and Net Retum of Kharif Crops, which are dated. Further, the mouth wise and State-wise average Daily Wage Rates for Agricultural Labour used for preparing the estimates are also not in sync with the actual wages paid for various farming operations.

Keeping in view the aforementioned facts, the Government of Odisha had proposed to fix up the Minimum Support Price of Paddy (common paddy) at Rs.2930 per quintal [ie. minimum of 25% margin CRs 586) over the cost of production] to save the fumes from distress because of the low pricing of the produce.

The proposal of the Odisha Governmient for fixing of MSP of Common grade Paddy at Rs.2930 per Quintal is also supported by an unanimous resolution of the Odisha Legislative Assembly Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Govenment of Odisha has also requested the Central Government to fix up the MSP of paddy at Rs. 2930 per quintal on several occasions. Besides, Hon’ble Minister, Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment of the State had also taken up this issue with his counterpart in the Union Government for his personal intervention in fixation of MSP of paddy (Common Paddy) at Rs. 2930 per quintal.

Analyais of Price Poliey of CACP recommendations reveals that the recommended MSP is based on A2+FL (Actual paid out cost plus imputed value of family labour). However, the M.S. Swaminathan Committee report had recommended a minimum support price of 50% profit above the cost of production classified as ‘C2’ by the Comission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. It could have been more appropriate and remunerative for the State farmers, if the C2 cost (Comprehensive cost including imputed rent on owned land & interest on capital) was taken into consideration while arriving at the suggested MSP.

Odisha Government also said that they have always accorded highest priority to the cause of farmers and has come up with various measures and policy initiatives for their benefit. To effectively accelerate agricultural prosperity further in the State and to reduce poverty, its government has come up with a unique initiative “KALIA” to cover 92 percent of the farmers with a direct cash support and proposes to spend more than Rs.10,000 crores. This is a revolutionary initiative of the Govemment that is being appreciated by reputed economists of the Country as it is not a one time intervention but support to farmers for 5 cropping seasons spanning over three years. It also specifically covers landless and the share croppers.

Further the State Government had promised in 2014 to create 10 lakh hectares of additional irrigation potential by 2019 and the Hon’ble President would be happy lo know that they will very soon surpass the target. The State has spent more than Rs.30,000 crores in this regard It has also formulated a strong procurement mechanism involving Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies and linking them to a wider IT network and electronic mode of payment. Because of this intervention, there has been remarkable improvement in the procurement of paddy in last 5 years.

BJP in its manifesto of 2014 had promised to increase the MSP by 150 percent as suggested by the Swaminathan Committee, but the BJP led Union Government has failed to implement the same in the last 4 years and 10 months. MSP is not only a key distress alleviating device but also an important tool for the incoming generation of the farmers.

The proposal of Odisha Government was made keeping in view the fact that it would also add to the efforts in doubling farmers” income which is a priority agenda both for the State and the Central Government. Considering the gravity of the situation, Biju Janata Dal urged the Hon’ble President of India to intervene in this most sensitive issue by issuing appropriate instructions to the Central Government to have a relook into the entire approach of the Commission (CACP) with regard to recommendation of MSP in view of the above facts and take immediate steps for declaration of MSP at the rate of Rs 2930 per quintal to safeguard the interest of paddy farmers of Odisha.

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About the Author

Upasana Bidika
Upasana Bidika has completed her Master Degree in Law from KIIT School of Law. However she has carved a niche for herself as a journalist. She can be contacted at upasna.bidika@gmail.com
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