BJP seeks three-fold hike in support price of paddy

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) The BJP Tuesday asked the central government to review its decision to hike the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy by Rs.60 per quintal, saying the hike should have been at least Rs.175 to cover the cost of production to farmers.

Party spokesperson Captain Abhimanyu said here that farmers spend an average of Rs.1,400 to produce a quintal of paddy at current prices.

The union government last week hiked the MSP of paddy from Rs.1,250 per quintal to Rs.1,310. It also announced support prices for 13 other agricultural items.

“With the current rate of inflation, the hike should have been at least 14 percent as against about five percent. The government has given seven percent dearness allowance to government employees twice in the last one year. By that standard, the hike (in MSP) should have been at least Rs.175,” Captain Abhimanyu said in a release.

He said with an input cost of about Rs.1,400 per quintal and MSP at Rs.1,310, farmers would lose Rs.90 per quintal.

The BJP spokesperson said while the government intended to spend Rs.1.3 lakh crore towards subsidy for the food security programme, it was being “miser and dishonest” with farmers.

He said input costs to farmers have gone up and farming was becoming unremunerative.

“Our farm productivity is amongst the lowest in the world. India is second largest producer of food but we rank 20th in terms of food trade,” he said.

He said workforce was dwindling in agriculture and there was lack of adequate facilities for storage and transportation.

“The BJP demands that the government immediately review its decision on MSP for paddy,” he said.

Abhimanyu said that “hike in MSP of cotton by Rs.100 was meagre”.

“We demand that MSP for cotton be Rs.4,200 and Rs.4,500 (long staple variety) instead of the current Rs.3,700 and Rs.4,000 respectively,” he said.

He said the government must also consider hiking the MSP for barley and corn and take it to the level of the price fixed for sorghum at Rs.1,500 per quintal.

He said the government should implement Swaminathan Commission report and give remunerative price at 150 percent of the cost of each crop.

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