New Delhi: The Union cabinet Wednesday approved revised minimum support prices (MSP) for various crops for the upcoming rabi marketing season 2022-23. The decision was taken in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rabi crops are sown at the beginning of October, after the harvest of kharif (summer) crops. Major rabi crops include gram, masur dal, wheat and mustard.
The maximum absolute increase in MSP against last year has been announced for masur and mustard, at Rs 400 per quintal. The absolute hike in gram MSP is Rs 130 per quintal from the earlier mark of Rs 5,100.
In percentage terms, the maximum hike over last year is in the MSP for mustard (8.6 per cent), followed by masur (7.84 per cent) and gram (2.54 per cent).
According to a government release issued after the meeting, the MSP hike is expected to provide 100 per cent returns to farms on the cost of production of wheat, rapeseed and mustard, while for masur and gram, the expected returns are 79 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.
The increase in MSP comes at a time when farmers have been protesting against the Modi government’s three agriculture laws for over a year now.
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Why bigger jumps for oilseeds, pulses
The increase in MSP for rabi crops represents an effort to encourage crop diversification in favour of oilseeds and pulses and away from wheat. This is clear from the fact that the increase in the MSP for wheat is the smallest (2.02 per cent) — to Rs 2,015 per quintal from Rs 1,975.
The MSP hike comes on the back of surging food inflation, especially in pulses and oilseeds, this year, as India battled the ferocious second wave of Covid.
Mustard oil prices have skyrocketed beyond Rs 200 per litre, while pulses too have seen an exponential increase, forcing the government to withdraw them from its pandemic relief free food scheme.
The government had already announced some measures to contain this inflation — it reduced import duty on masur while cutting down agri cess on the commodity to half earlier this year. There was also an imposition of a stock limit on pulses, along with free import permission after a hiatus of three years. It also reduced import duty on edible oils such as palm, sunflower and soybean.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)
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