Chandigarh, Aug 28: The Punjab government today expressed dissatisfaction over the “meagre” hike in MSP of various crops proposed by the Commission for Agriculture Costs & Prices (CACP) for Rabi marketing season 2015-16, saying the recommended MSP does not even cover the input cost.

Observing that it appeared unfair to farmers in terms of a lower increase in Minimum Support Price (MSP), Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked the Centre to fix the MSP of various crops at the levels suggested by the state government. Badal sought hike in the MSP of wheat from Rs 1,450 per quintal as recommended by the CACP to Rs 1,900 per quintal in 2015-16.

The Punjab CM also demanded an upward revision in the MSP of barley from Rs 1,150 to Rs 1,517 per quintal. Likewise, he demanded the MSP of gram to be hiked from Rs 3,175 to Rs 3,627 per quintal, and that of rapeseed and mustard from Rs 3,100 to Rs 3,484 per quintal.

Showing deep concern over the CACP report on the price policy for Rabi crops during 2015-16 forwarded to the state government to elicit its comments, Badal said the MSP of crops recommended, considering bulging centre pool stock and double digit inflation, was far lower than the prices suggested by the state and did not even cover the cost of cultivation of crops.

The Chief Minister further said, “It appeared unfair to penalise the farmers in terms of a lower increase in MSP due to a situation caused by improper management of food economy.” Badal cited even the National Farmers’ Commission had recommended a margin of 50 per cent over and above the cost of cultivation to make the MSP remunerative, whereas the CACP recommended a marginal increase of only 3.6 per cent in the MSP of wheat, which is the major Rabi crop of the state and occupies about 85 per cent of the cultivated area.

Pleading the case for remunerative MSP for the Rabi crops as suggested by the state government, the Chief Minister further pointed out that the cost of agriculture inputs like fertilisers, seeds and labour have increased significantly, leading to a considerable increase in the cost of production.

Likewise, he said the cost of diesel, which was a primary source of energy for all the mechanised farming operations, has been increasing regularly due to de-regularisation.

The cost of irrigation has also continuously been showing upward revision due to lowering of water table, leading to increased investment in deepening of tube wells and replacement of prime movers. Scanty rains during the monsoon season have further aggravated the situation, he said. The Chief Minister further mentioned the CACP has made its recommendations keeping in view the interest of producers, consumers and its effect on other sectors of economy but it was a high time to look into other aspects as well like viability of farming, adequacy of farm income and investments required for modernisation of farming and agriculture infrastructure.

He opined that the MSP should also include not only paid-out and imputed expenditures but also the marketing cost and value for managerial inputs of the farmer due to which he managed his farms through the expertise and skills inherited through generations.
The Chief Minister deputed the state Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal to pursue the entire matter with the Secretary Agriculture Ashish Bahuguna to impress upon the Centre for seeking upward revision in the MSP of rabi crops recommended by the CACP in consonance with the prices sought by the state government.