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PM Modi, Shah And Ministers Get Into Huddle to Counter Fuel Price Rise Ahead of Rabi Season

The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved a proposal to hike the minimum support price (MSP) for Rabi crops.

Updated:October 4, 2018, 5:01 PM IST
New Delhi: In light of retail prices of fuel surpassing new highs every day and the Rabi crop season fast approaching, Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Thursday had Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) president Amit Shah participating in hectic parleys with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Government sources informed News18 that PM Modi is concerned over rising fuel prices as the Rabi season is due soon. As the cropping season arrives, use of diesel spikes as irrigation and other machine-led practices are diesel-fueled. The Rabi cropping season is from October-March.

The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved a proposal to hike the minimum support price (MSP) for Rabi crops.

The Centre announced a 6 percent hike in wheat support price to Rs 1,840 per quintal and up to 21 percent increase in other Rabi crops, a move that will give farmers Rs 62,635 crore additional income and help contain their simmering discontent over high input cost and low returns.

MSP is a price at which the government buys crops from the farmers.

The announcement came a day after a huge protest by farmers in Delhi-NCR region to seek high support prices and loan waiver.

Meanwhile, fuel prices crossed Rs 90 per litre in more than 15 districts in Maharashtra and inched close to Rs 85 a litre in northern parts of India, especially affecting residents in the rural parts who are having to cut down other expenses to deal with the sharp rise in fuel bills.

Rising fuel costs, especially during the cropping season, raises the cost of transporting labour that negatively affects the already skinny margins.
Consequently, cost of transporting produce such as vegetables also hikes.

To address distress in the farm sector, the government had in July increased the paddy MSP by a record Rs 200 per quintal and gave a steep hike in other Kharif (summer-sown) crops.

Last month, a Rs 15,000 crore scheme was announced to ensure that farmers get MSP. The announcement of the increase is significant for the current season since the monsoon rainfall witnessed a 20 percent deficit in September, leading to lower water levels.

The move also comes months ahead of the general elections and with only a few weeks to go for Assembly elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which had seen farmer protests in recent months.
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