This is the steepest hike since 2012-13, when the increase was 15.7%.
According to sources, the MSP of paddy (common grade) has been increased by Rs 200 to Rs 1,750 per quintal, while that of Grade A variety by Rs 160 per quintal to Rs 1,750. Briefing about the CCEA decision, Home Minister Rajnath Singhsaid the Cabinet has approved the MSP of 14 kharif (summer-sown) crops for the 2018-19 season. A crash in the prices of several farm commodities, especially pulses and oilseeds, in recent months has led to distress in the rural economy and triggered farmers' protests in several states. While paddy is the major kharif crop and is directly procured from farmers by the Food Corporation of India, there are no guaranteed mechanisms for procurement of most other crops. The move comes ahead of crucial elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and the general elections due in 2019.
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"The impact from these MSP hikes will be 35 basis points to headline inflation in the current fiscal year, and another 35 bps in the next", said Shubhada Rao, chief economist at Yes Bank. The MSPs were calculated and recommended by the statutory Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). As against to this, the government's formula used calculating the input cost considers only the sum of A2 and FL.
C2 costs - which is what the farm organisations want as the base for calculating MSP calculation - is the most comprehensive and accounts for all rentals and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets respectively, on top of everything else in A2+FL. The MSP for bajra, or pearl millet, was hiked to Rs1,950, which is a raise of 97% over input costs of about Rs990.
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"What's the use of a hike when we did not even get last year's MSP?" asked Purshotam Sontakke from a village in Wardha district in the western state of Maharashtra, who sold soybean at 2,700 rupees per 100 kg in 2017, 11 percent below the state-set price. Among oilseeds, MSP of soyabean has been increased to Rs 3,399 per quintal from Rs 3,050, while that of groundnut (shell) to Rs 4,890 per quintal from Rs 4,450, sunflower seed to Rs 5,388 per quintal from Rs 4,100, Sesamum to Rs 6,249 per quintal from 5,300 and niger seed to Rs 5,877 per quintal from Rs 4,050.
Reportedly, the MSP for paddy has been raised by around Rs 250 per quintal.
He said that the Prime Minister had reassured farmers that they will get one-and-a-half times the input cost for their crops, and the Cabinet decision ensures that.
The MSP of cotton (medium staple) has been increased to Rs 5,150 from Rs 4,020.
For pulses, the year-on-year hike for MSP was 4% for arhar, 25% for moong, and 3.7% increase for urad.
"When MSPs were much lower earlier, the government could not protect these declared support prices. They are simply doing what every government does in an election year". But that's also easy to bungle up.
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