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Govt advisory body keeps wheat MSP unchanged
Favours Rs 40 per quintal bonus

CACP has maintained that the MSP of wheat should be frozen at last year's level of Rs 1,285 per quintal.
It has, however, proposed that farmers can be paid a bonus of Rs 40 per quintal if only the government offloads 15 million tonne wheat from its godowns either in the open market or export
The CACP's conditional recommendation comes in view of its anticipation that `40 a quintal bonus would lead to government's higher procurement

New Delhi, December 2
The government's advisory body on farm pricing policy has stuck to its earlier stand of not raising wheat MSP for 2013-14 but has proposed a bonus of Rs 40 per quintal provided the Centre offloads 15 million tonnes of the grain from its godowns.

While considering a proposal to fix MSP of rabi crops for 2013-14, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had earlier this month decided to defer the decision on wheat. It had asked the Commission on Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) to relook its suggestion on wheat MSP.

CCEA deferred the decision due to differences of opinion between the Agriculture Ministry and the CACP as the former had proposed a hike of Rs 115 per quintal. Even the food and the finance ministries had supported the CACP's view expressing concern over the subsidy burden.

According to a senior government official, CACP has maintained its earlier recommendation that the MSP of wheat should be frozen at last year's level of Rs 1,285 per quintal. However, it has proposed that farmers can be paid a bonus of Rs 40 per quintal if only the government offloads 15 million tonnes of wheat from its godowns either in the open market or export, the official said.

The CACP's conditional recommendation comes in view of its anticipation that Rs 40 a quintal bonus would lead to government's higher procurement, lower availability of the grain in the open market and also put pressure on storage.

The government is sitting on a huge pile of wheat stock of over 40 million tonnes, which is almost double the actual requirement. Wheat sowing is underway in most growing states. The government research body ICAR expects that the country could harvest a record crop this year as well. Wheat production was a record 93.9 million tonnes in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June). PTI

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