Odisha to fork out Rs 6,300 crore per annum for paddy bonus

The state had set a target to procure 65 lakh tonne of kharif paddy and 14 lakh tonne of rabi paddy.
Representative image
Representative image

BHUBANESWAR: With the Center enhancing the minimum support price of paddy by Rs 117 per quintal to Rs 2,300 for the kharif marketing season 2024-25, the state government will have to make an additional budgetary provision of over Rs 6,300 crore to keep its promise made to the farmers for a support price of Rs 3,100 per quintal of paddy.

This excess budgetary provision per annum is calculated on the basis of the paddy procurement target fixed by the state government for 2023-24 kharif marketing season (KMS). The government had set a target to procure 79 lakh tonne paddy for the current KMS ending June 30.

The BJP in its election manifesto had promised to provide Rs 3,100 per quintal of paddy as against the current minimum support price of Rs 2,183 per quintal. A bonus of Rs 917 per quintal over the current MSP is about 42 per cent and after increase in the MSP by Rs 117 per quintal, the state government will have to fork out a bonus of Rs 800 per quintal which is 36.6 pc of the existing MSP.

“Any further increase in the paddy procurement target for the 2024-25 KMS, the financial burden to the state government will be more. The more the target, the government will have to pay an additional Rs 800 per quintal,” sources in the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department said.

The state had set a target to procure 65 lakh tonne of kharif paddy and 14 lakh tonne of rabi paddy. The kharif paddy procurement has already crossed the target as the government has already purchased about 71 lakh tonne. The rabi paddy procurement will continue till June 30. A final figure will be available after the procurement is over, the sources said.

“At a time when the government is encouraging farmers to go for non-paddy cash crops as the state is already paddy surplus, an offer of a lucrative bonus of Rs 800 per quintal will affect production and productivity of pulses, oil seeds, sugar cane and other farm products,” a senior officer of the Agriculture department said.

The state government will also need the approval of the food ministry for procurement surplus paddy beyond the target fixed for Odisha to contribute the central pool, the sources added. The inflated cost of the food grain will have spill-over effect on the market which will be difficult to sustain in a long run, said an officer of the directorate of economics and statistics.

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