Govt fixes MSP for farm produce at 1.5 times of production cost
New Delhi: Aiming to address the agrarian distress, the government on Thursday opened its coffer for the welfare of farmers. In a first, the Centre decided to increase minimum support price (MSP) for all 24 crops by at least 1.5 times of their production cost and assured procurement of crops at MSP price even if there is price crash due to bumper production.
In another major decision, the government has decided to upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs). The Centre has allocated Rs 2,000 crore for strengthening physical infrastructure in all 22,000 GrAMs using MGNREGA and other government schemes.
As sudden rise in the prices of tomatoes, onions, potatoes always bring criticism for the ruling parties, the governments has decided to launch a new initiative titled "Operation Green" on the lines of 'Operation Flood'.
The move would help farmers in getting right price and consumers would also get all the price-sensitive products at suitable prices. A fund of Rs 500 crore has been allocated for this first of its kind initiative.
"I am confident that this historic decision will prove an important step towards doubling the income of our farmers," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while announcing the Union Budget 2018-19.
Giving a major push to agriculture, the government increased its budgetary allocation for agriculture from Rs 51,576 crore (2017-18) to Rs 58,080 crore for the financial year 2018-19, which is 12.5 per cent increase from the last year.
On procurement of crops at MSP, Jaitley said, "Our government works with the holistic approach of solving any issue rather than in fragments. If price of agriculture produce market is less than MSP, then in that case government should purchase either at MSP or work in a manner to provide MSP for the farmers through some other mechanism."
"Niti Aayog, in consultation with centre and state governments, will put in place a foolproof mechanism so that farmers get adequate price for their produce," the Finance Minister said, adding that agricultural credit has been increased to Rs 11 lakh crore.