The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved 4% to 9% increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) of kharif crops for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) with sowing just starting on the onset of the monsoon. The benchmark rates have been fixed to increase farmers’ income as the guiding principle of 50% profit over cost has been maintained while the overburden of global price rise in fertilizer has been absorbed through subsidy hike, the government said.
Though, some farmers and experts said the increase in MSP was not enough to keep pace with inflation and the rise in the cost of key inputs. The MSP of soyabean has been increased 8.9% to ₹4,300 per quintal, while sunflower seed gets a 6.4% hike up to ₹ 6,400 per quintal and groundnut by 5.4% to ₹5,850 per quintal.
Against a sanctioned quantity of 45 lakh tonnes (lt) of kharif pulses and oil seeds in 2021, the government had collected only 2.66 lt. Out of 30.92 lt of total oil seeds sanctioned in kharif 2021, 13.81 lt was soyabean, where mandi prices have been ruling above the MSP the past few years. Even in the case of groundnut, the agencies could purchase only 2.84 lt at MSP against the 13.76 lt sanctioned.
Briefing media after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said that while there has been a 47-131% increase if the new MSP is compared with the purchase price in 2013-14, the last year of the UPA government, the procurement in pulses has raised 74 times. From only 1.51 lt of pulses procured during 2009-14, it has increased to 112.63 lt in 2016-21, the Minister said.