From the Viewsroom

The politics behind MSP

Poornima Joshi | Updated on September 10, 2021

With UP elections nearing, will BJP hike sugarcane support price?

The re-calibrated MSPs (minimum support prices) for the rabi season hint at the BJP’s political calculus. In the backdrop of the farmers’ movement, the lowest increase in a decade of just about 2 per cent per quintal of wheat can be translated as a sign that the BJP has given up on Punjab, the biggest producer of wheat in India. The farmers have been demanding a raise commensurate with the input cost rise. But even though the State goes to polls early next year, the Government has given them just ₹40 per quintal more than what they were getting last year. The BJP has factored in the impact of the farm movement on the Assembly polls in Punjab.

In Uttar Pradesh, which also faces elections next year, the wheat MSP does not matter much. Of more significance here is the State Advised Price (SAP) of sugarcane. The State has not revised the SAP for the last three years, but the Centre has given a positive indication by hiking the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane by ₹5 per quintal for 2021-22. Captain Amarinder Singh has scored here by hiking the SAP of sugarcane by ₹50/quintal last month although Punjab does not have as much area under cane cultivation as UP. This has been perceived as the Punjab CM’s overt support for the farm movement.

The sugarcane farmers in UP, who are the protagonists of the farm movement in the western region, are keenly watching what CM Yogi Adityanath will do. The SAP here has remained stagnant at ₹310-325 for three different varieties of sugarcane since 2017-18, when it was last hiked. The crushing season begins in October-November and the farmers expect SAP announcement this month. The UP Government’s response will indicate how the BJP views its prospects in the 140-odd Assembly seats that comprise the western region in UP. Cane crushing comes just before the Assembly polls.

Published on September 09, 2021

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