To woo farmers ahead of state elections, the Madhya Pradesh government has announced a special incentive of Rs 265 per quintal on wheat and Rs 100 per quintal for chana, masoor and mustard sold in the 2018 rabi marketing season. This is in addition to the Rs 200 per quintal incentive announced for wheat and paddy sold in the previous kharif and rabi marketing seasons.
According to an official order, wheat and other crops including chana, mustard and masoor, will be eligible for the cash incentive irrespective of the rate at which it is sold in the market.
“All crops, whether sold below the minimum support price (MSP) or above it — at mandis or otherwise — will be eligible for the incentive,” a senior official said.
The state hasn’t termed the scheme as a bonus and hence it won’t fall within the ambit of a central order, which curbs state governments from declaring a bonus over MSP.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in a recent interview to Business Standard, had said that as farmers in Madhya Pradesh suffered due to drought and low rains in some parts and also to encourage them to grow more, the state had formulated a special package which didn’t have any link with the MSP lead procurement process.
The order comes days after the Centre directed its agencies to purchase 390,400 tonnes of mustard and 136,808 tonnes of masoor from Madhya Pradesh following the state’s decision to remove the two commodities along with gram from the price deficiency payment scheme (Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana).
For direct purchase of gram or chana, which has seen a massive crash in prices in the past few days due to a bumper harvest, an official order is expected in the coming few days.
Madhya Pradesh which goes to the polls in the next few months, has faced a series of farmers’ agitations in the past few years due to crashing prices. The protests turned violent in June last year, when six farmers were killed in police firing.