The rice-growers in Chhattisgarh would be the biggest beneficiaries among states of the new minimum support price (MSP) announced by the Centre.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had last year announced a bonus of Rs 300 per quintal for the paddy sold by the farmers at MSP. The bonus was disbursed in the last kharif season and the budgetary provision has been made for the current season.
The new MSP for paddy had been fixed at Rs 1,750 per quintal. With the bonus, farmers in Chhattisgarh would be eligible to get Rs 2,050 for a quintal of yield that they would sell to the government. Chhattisgarh is among few states in the country procuring paddy at MSP.
Despite severe drought last year, over 1.2 million farmers sold paddy in the government societies while Chhattisgarh ranked sixth among top states contributing rice to the central pool. State’s contribution was 3.2 million tonnes despite over 60 per cent of its tehsils were declared as drought-hit.
The new MSP would have a significant political significance more in Chhattisgarh as compared to other states going to the polls later this year. Over 1.5 million farmers in the state had been registered in the primary cooperative societies procuring paddy at MSP while the other states are not procuring in the same quantity.
Sensing the political impact, opposition parties had swung into action to grill the BJP government on the issue. “During Congress regime, MSP increased by Rs 890 in 10 years while it is just Rs 490 in 11 years of BJP rule including Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government,” State Congress President Bhupesh Baghel said.
Agriculture scientist and AAP state President Sanket Thakur said even with the conventional method, the MSP of paddy would have been Rs 2,100 per quintal. With the C-2 formula, it would have been Rs 4,200, Thakur said, adding that the BJP government cheated the farmers.
The BJP does not want to miss the opportunity and plans to launch a campaign at village-level to “celebrate” the hiked MSP.