By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, June 10, 2022: The ruling Biju Janata Dal once again stirred up a hornets’ nest by raising the issue of ‘negligible’ increase of Rs 100 in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of common grade variety of paddy by demanding to fix the MSP of paddy at Rs. 2930 per quintal.

The Centre on Wednesday hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy by Rs 100 to Rs 2,040 per quintal for the 2022-23 crop year. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had approved the increase in MSP for all mandated Kharif (summer) crops for the 2022-23 crop year.

“We have demanded to make the MSP for paddy Rs 2950. As opposed to that, they are increasing it by Rs 100 every year. While we welcome the decision, it is not encouraging at all,” Agriculture Minister Ranendra Prata Swain told media persons.

The Odisha Assembly on March 25, in 2017 had unanimously passed a resolution recommending that the MSP of common paddy be increased to Rs 2,930 per quintal.

“All MLAs including those from BJP, Congress and BJD had unanimously supported this. But even after five years of the passage of this resolution and numerous demands placed by the BJD MPs in the Parliament as well as in the Odisha Vidhan Sabha, the Centre has not implemented it,” BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said while addressing a press conference on Thursday.

Recalling a resolution passed by the Odisha Assembly for the increase in the MSP for farmers, the BJD leader alleged that the Centre has not fulfilled the demands in the resolution, though the state leaders of the BJP had unanimously supported it.

“The Centre had increased the MSP of common grade variety of paddy yesterday by Rs 100 per quintal, Rs 1,940 in 2021-22 to Rs 2,040 per quintal for 2022-23 crop year for common variety. This increase of merely Rs. 100 per quintal is not sufficient and the BJD has been demanding for increasing the MSP for paddy to 1.5 times of the Cost of Production at C2 value; as per the Swaminathan Commission Report recommendations but the Centre has not done it so far,” Patra said.

He further alleged that the Centre has also decided to stop lifting surplus parboiled rice from Odisha.

Speaking to the reporters, Swain had earlier said, “The cost of farming has grown up in the last year including the labour cost, pesticide cost and fuel price. So it is already hard for the farmers to sustain farming. A hike of just Rs 100 in the MSP would not help our farmers taking the growing cost into consideration.”

Mentioning the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Agriculture minister further said, “If we calculate the current CPI (7.79%) with the current MCP, the hike should have been Rs 140. So essentially, farmers will get no profit this year too.”

The BJD also took strong exception to the centre deciding to stop lifting surplus parboiled rice from Odisha. Most of the rice produced in Odisha is par-boiled rice and is one of the leading states contributing to the PDS rice in the nation.

“The Centre’s decision to stop lifting surplus par-boiled rice will adversely affect lakhs of farmers of Odisha and that too from the western Odisha majorly,” Patra said.

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