The procurement of foodgrains under MSP (minimum support price) scheme increased from 759.44 lakh tonnes (lt) (75.94 million tonnes) in 2014-15 to 1062.69 lt (106.27 million tonnes) in 2022-23, according to Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister.
Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, he said the expenditure incurred (at MSP values) on procurement of foodgrains increased from ₹1.06 lakh crore to ₹2.28 lakh crore, during the same period. More than 1.6 crore farmers have been benefitted by MSP scheme.
One of the recommendations of National Commission of Farmers, which was set up under the Chairmanship of Prof MS Swaminathan, was that, MSP should be at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production. Accordingly, the Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced the pre-determined principle to keep MSP at a level of one-and-half times of the cost of production. He said the Government has increased the MSP for all mandated kharif, rabi and other commercial crops with a margin of atleast 50 per cent over all-India weighted average cost of production from the agricultural year 2018-19 onwards.
To a separate query on PM-KISAN (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi), he said the Government has disbursed over ₹2.80 lakh crore to more than 11 crore farmers in the country since February 2019.
Under this scheme, the financial benefit of ₹6,000 a year in three equal instalments every four months is transferred into the bank accounts of farmers’ families across the country through direct benefit transfer mode.
Under PM-KISAN, ₹38,660 crore has been released to farmers till November 22 of the 2023-24. The Government had released ₹58,258 crore to farmers during 2022-23 against ₹67,121 crore in 2021-22.
Regarding the decline in 2022-23, this was due to the introduction of mandatory land seeding provision for farmers and seeding of Aadhaar with their active bank accounts. This move was to ensure the benefits are transferred directly to the intended beneficiaries’ accounts smoothly.
Asked if the Government is planning to increase the amount of ₹6,000 under the scheme, Tomar said there is no such proposal under consideration.
Climate Resilient Agri
To a separate question on the most vulnerable districts/regions identified under National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), Tomar said a total of 310 districts have been identified as the most vulnerable (109 districts as ‘Very High’ and 201 districts as ‘Highly’ vulnerable category) under NICRA.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has developed climate resilient crop varieties for improving the food production. Since 2014, a total of 1971 climate resilient varieties have been developed and released. This include 429 abiotic stress tolerant varieties and 1542 biotic stress tolerant varieties, he said.