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Punjab Leads States in Centre’s Paddy Procurement in Current Kharif Season: Govt Data

By: Rajiv Kumar

News18

Last Updated: February 12, 2021, 19:49 IST

Representative image.

Representative image.

According to figures shared by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for government procurement, till February 8 this year, Punjab saw 25% rise in paddy procurement under Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime.

Amid the ongoing farmers agitation, the Centre has procured record paddy from Punjab during the current Kharif Marketing Season (KMS), as per government data.

According to figures shared by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for government procurement, till February 8 this year, Punjab saw 25% rise in paddy procurement under Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime.

In the current Kharif Marketing Season, government has so far procured 202.8 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) of paddy from Punjab farmers, surpassing last year’s (2019-20) record of 162.3 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT), as per the latest FCI figures.

Besides Punjab, Uttar Pradesh — home state of Rakesh Tikait, one of the leader steering the farmer protests — is also witnessing rise in MSP paddy procurement during the ongoing Kharif season.

Central agencies have so far purchased 64.6 LMT paddy from UP farmers in the current Kharif Marketing Season compared to 56.57 LMT procured in the 2019-20 KMC, a rise of 14%.

Over 52% of the overall procurement of 616.4 LMT paddy in the ongoing Kharif season has been done from just three states — Punjab (32.9%), Uttar Pradesh (10.5%) and Haryana (9.1%). Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh’s share stands at 9.6%. Both Punjab and Chhattisgarh governments have passed bills in their respective assemblies to negate the Center’s farm laws.

While replying to the motion of thanks to the President’s address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha on Wednesday defended the three farm laws saying, “Not a single mandi has shut since the enactment of three farm laws, nor has the MSP stopped. In fact, the MSP procurement has gone up.”

Explaining farmer’s dependence on government procurement of crops in Punjab and Haryana, a report in The Hindu said over 75% of rice and wheat produced in Punjab and Haryana was procured by the government.

“In the last two years, close to 45% of all the rice and wheat procured by government agencies came from just two states — Punjab (28.9%) and Haryana (15.9%). Madhya Pradesh was a distant third at 10.4%,” according to The Hindu report.

As of February 10, 2021, a total of 625 LMT paddy has been purchased by the government agencies. The figure is 17% higher than the corresponding figure for last year. Rs 1.18 lakh crore has been paid to farmers for procurement on MSP during the current season so far.

The Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) for paddy/rice procurement usually begins in the beginning of October and continues till February end. However, in Punjab and Haryana ‘mandis’ it commenced on September 26, 2020 because of early arrival of crops and to reassure agitating farmers about the MSP safety net.

Since September last year, farmer unions, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh have been protesting against the three farm laws passed by the Narendra Modi government. Many of them have pitched their tents and are camped on various borders leading to capital New Delhi. Their main worry is that the new laws will dismantle the decades old MSP regime, a government guaranteed minimum price for 22 farm produce including paddy, wheat, Jowar, Bajra, Maize, pulses and others.

In line with BJP’s promise to double farmer’s income by 2022-23, the NDA government under Prime Minister Modi has increased the MSP on various crops.

Between FY 2014 and FY 2021, MSP for paddy has been revised by 43% and wheat by 41%, the two principal crops procured under the MSP regime by the government. Besides, MSP on Jowar and Bajra saw an increase of 75% and 72% respectively, between FY 2014 and 2021.

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first published:February 12, 2021, 19:49 IST
last updated:February 12, 2021, 19:49 IST