M A I N   N E W S

Rs 50 hike in MSP of wheat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
In a major relief for farmers of the region, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, tonight ordered a hike of Rs 50 in the minimum support price of wheat. Wheat will now be procured at Rs 700 per quintal.

The price is expected to come into force with retrospective effect, from April 1, when the Union Agriculture Ministry announced the procurement of wheat.

The move will benefit farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the major wheat-producing states of the country. The decision of the Prime Minister has come about after the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, met the former this evening in Delhi to seek a hike in the MSP. Dr Manmohan Singh okayed the hike in the MSP around 10 tonight, sources said.

The sources clarified that this was a hike in the MSP and not a bonus of Rs 50 over and above the prevailing MSP of Rs 650. Bonus was specific to one season while the MSP was a permanent feature.

The Central Government was worried that the wheat-buying spree of private parties could have led to a reduction in the procurement of grain for the national pool. Already, buffer stocks of wheat had depleted, forcing the government to order wheat import of 2 million tonnes just to tide over the crisis.

The target of the government is to procure about 16 million tonnes of wheat from farmers this season. Seeing the MSP stagnating at Rs 650 per quintal, private players had been offering between Rs 720 and Rs 850 per quintal for wheat. The farmers had been opting to go to private parties instead of government procurement agencies.

Interestingly, this is last wheat crop before the state goes to the polls early next year. The increase had to be sizeable to make it “visible” to the farmers, said the sources.

The Central Government has set a target of 8.5 million tonnes of wheat from Punjab. Another 4.5 million tonnes and 2.2 million tonnes is to be procured in Haryana and UP.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in a statement here tonight, thanked the Prime Minister for the increase in the MSP of wheat.

The Chief Minister termed this as a “benevolent gesture” of Dr Manmohan Singh.


Amarinder meets PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek an increase of Rs 50 in the minimum support price for wheat.

The Chief Minister, who also met Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, said against the input cost for farmers going up by Rs 122 per quintal, their return had increased only by Rs 60 per quintal.

The Chief Minister said Punjab need assistance from the Centre to deal with the problem of rural indebtness which leads to suicides.

He said the state government would consult the Finance Ministry to work out package for indebtness faced by farmers. He said the indebtness in the state was estimated at Rs 24,000 crores.

Capt Amarinder Singh said that many projects, for which MoUs have been signed by the state government, were awaiting environment clearance. He said projects worth Rs 30,000 crore were in the housing sector and of Rs 30,000 crore in industry.

The Chief Minister sought an increase in the investment limit of projects for environment clearance by the Centre.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |