Paddy procurement at minimum support price (MSP) in Punjab, the food bowl of India, rose nine times to 15.99 lakh tonnes in the first 13 days of the ongoing kharif marketing season from 1.76 lakh tonne in the year-ago period, according to the Union Food Ministry. Paddy procurement commenced in Punjab and Haryana from September 26 due to early arrival of the crop, while in other states from October 1.
More than 80 per cent of the country's paddy crop is grown in the kharif season. The government through Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies undertakes procurement of paddy at MSP. "In the ongoing kharif season, Punjab registered an unprecedented increase of procurement from 1.76 lakh tonnes last year to 15.99 lakh tonnes this year as on September 8, which is more than 900 per cent of the Kharif procurement so far as compared to last year," the Ministry said in a statement.
As on September 8, total procurement of paddy across all states has increased by 48 per cent to 26.3 lakh tonnes this year from 17.7 lakh tonnes last year, with much of it purchased from Punjab, it said. Paddy buying in Tamil Nadu also increased to 9,517 tonnes from 320 tonnes, while that in Uttar Pradesh it increased to 4,423 tonnes from 92 tonnes in the said period, it added.
Similarly in Uttar Pradesh, paddy procurement rose to 4423 tonne so far this kharif season as against 92 tonnes in the year-ago, it added. For the current year, the centre has fixed the MSP of paddy (common grade) at Rs 1,868 per quintal, while that of A grade variety has been fixed at Rs 1,888 per quintal.
Besides, the government through nodal agencies is buying pulses and oilseeds at MSP under the Price Support Scheme (PSS), which gets operationalised when market rates fall below the support price. Till September 8, about 455.60 tonne of moong at MSP value of Rs 3.28 crore has been procured from 324 farmers in Haryana and Tamil Nadu.
Similarly, 5,089 tonnes of copra at MSP value of Rs 52.40 crore has been procured from 3,961 farmers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the said period. In respect of copra and urad, rates are ruling at or above MSP. Respective state governments are making arrangements for commencement of procurement in respect of Moong.
The Centre has given nod for procurement of 30.70 lakh tonnes of kharif pulses and oilseeds this year under the PSS in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as well as 1.23 tonnes of Copra in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Approval for other states will be given on receipt of proposals for procurement as per PSS norms, the ministry added.
In case of cotton, state-run Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has procured 11,755 bales at MSP value of Rs 3,314.55 lakhs from 2,404 farmers till September 8. Unlike before, the government is releasing the daily procurement data to send a message to farmers protesting against new farm laws that it has no intention of scrapping procurement at MSP.
Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and several other states are protesting against the new farm laws, which they feel will lead to procurement in the hands of corporates and the end of MSP regime.