• The Centre has announced a Rs. 15,053 crore scheme to ensure that farmers growing oilseeds, pulses and copra actually get the minimum support prices (MSP) they are promised for their crops every year.
• The umbrella policy — Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)
• It was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday.
• It clubs together an existing procurement scheme with newly introduced options meant for oilseeds only.
• The need of additional procurement by private traders or a cash payment scheme.
• Apart from the Rs. 15,053 crore to be spent over a two-year period to implement the scheme, the Cabinet approved an additional government credit guarantee of Rs. 16,550 crore for agencies undertaking procurement.
• The government is working with a holistic approach.
• Increasing MSP is not adequate and it is more important that farmers get the full benefit of the announced MSP,” said the statement.
MSP hiked by 50%
• The government announces minimum support prices for 23 crops every year.
• This year, these rates were set at 50% higher than the farmers’ production costs, including labour cost.
• The rates are meant to give remunerative prices to the farmers.
• About one-third of the harvest of the two major foodgrains, rice and wheat, are procured by the Centre at the MSP for sale in ration shops.
• However, most of the 21 other crops are sold at market prices, often below the MSP, as the government’s procurement operations are temporary.
• Over the last two years, the government has increased the procurement of pulses and oilseeds at MSP under the Price Support Scheme.
• In 2017-18, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India said it bought 31.9 lakh tonnes of pulses and oilseeds at the MSP,
• It benefiting 20 lakh farmers. But the total production of pulses was estimated at 240 lakh tonnes, while oilseed production was 300 lakh tones.
Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints;
Prelims level: Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan
Mains level: How new procurement policy improve Indian agriculture sector?