NEW DELHI: With crucial state elections knocking around, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a hike in the minimum support prices (MSPs) for rabi crops.
On Wednesday, Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government had approved enhanced MSPs for rabi crops for 2018-19. Earlier, the Centre has enhanced the MSPs for the kharif crops, with the government having stated that the farmers had been given 50 per cent more than the cost.
The minister stated that hiked MSPs translated to 112.5 per cent more than the cost for wheat. Pegging the cost of production of wheat at Rs 866 per quintal, its MSP for the 2018-19 rabi season would now be Rs 1,840 against Rs 1,735 last year, which means an effective increase of Rs 105 per quintal.
“The hikes in MSPs translate to 67.4 per cent more than the cost for barley, 75.2 per cent for gram, 76.7 per cent for masur, 89.9 per cent for rapeseed and mustard, and 50.1 per cent for sunflower,” said Prasad, while briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
The government claimed that the decision would translate in additional return of Rs 62,635 crore to the farmers by way of increased MSP of notified crops —at least 50 per cent return over the cost of production — and will aid in doubling farmers’ income.
The government has also approved Metro rail projects for Bhopal and Indore in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh. The two Metro projects are likely to be completed in four years’ time. MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is currently in the midst of his Jan Ashirvad Yatra to connect with all the 230 Assembly constituencies in the state. Both Bhopal and Indore regions have about 50 Assembly seats and the BJP is likely to try and cash in on the decision to approve the Metro project during electioneering.
The Cabinet decisions have come as a big help to the BJP to beat the electoral challenges in poll-bound states. The party is sensing agrarian distress emerging as a key poll issue, with farmers hitting the streets to protest against the government.
On Tuesday, farmers from several states, including poll-bound Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, were stopped by police from completing the final leg of a ten-day Kisan Kranti Yatra by crossing the UP border into Delhi.