Agri Business

Minimum Support Price regime will continue: FM

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on October 06, 2020

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking at a press conference in Chennai on Tuesday   -  Bijoy Ghosh

3 agri reform Bills will help farmers get a better price for their produce, says Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday sought to allay the fears over MSP (minimum support price) regime and asserted that the three Bills on agriculture reforms would be immensely beneficial to farmers, apart from cutting wastage.

The three Bills on agricultural reforms, passed recently by both the houses of Parliament, were much-awaited ones and will go a long way in helping the farmers get a better price for their produce. It will also help prevent the huge food wastages faced by the country now, she said here while addressing the media.

To a question on whether the new reforms would lead to the abolition of the MSP, she said: “I find that absolutely unreasonable to keep speculating on it and say that this is the concern of the farmer.”

Assurance on MSP

“MSP is there, it was there and it shall continue to be there. Under certain other governments the focus was only on giving and increasing MSP for paddy and wheat and they did not bother about other crops,” she said. Only after the BJP came to power in 2014, the MSP benefits were extended to crops beyond wheat and paddy, she added.

She explained that there are 23 items under the MSP regime, but MSP was focused more on paddy and wheat for all these years, which led to a distortion.

Political colour

Sitharaman pointed out that “those who gave” support price only for paddy and wheat and not for other crops were today crying foul raising apprehensions that the government may do away with MSP regime and it was surprising, she said indicating that the opposition to agri reforms were more for political reasons.

Though domestically 23-24 lakh tonnes of pulses were required, only about 16 lakh tonnes were produced in the country with the balance being imported, she said. MSP was extended to other crops by the NDA government to increase domestic production, she added.

Food processing boost

Sitharaman also said the new agri reforms would pave the way for the growth of the food processing industry, addressing the huge issue of food wastage.

Published on October 06, 2020

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