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Posted at: Sep 13, 2018, 1:33 AM; last updated: Sep 13, 2018, 1:33 AM (IST)

Govt okays policy to ensure hiked MSP

Incentivises ethanol produce to cut crude oil dependence
Govt okays policy to ensure hiked MSP
Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan (L) and Piyush Goyal during a Cabinet briefing in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 12

Aiming to reap electoral dividend in the upcoming elections, the government on Wednesday approved a new umbrella scheme to roll out its hiked MSP for farm produce under “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyaan” (PM-ASHA) for which it has earmarked Rs 15,053 crore.

It has also decided to incentivise ethanol production in a bid to reduce crude oil dependence at a time when the Opposition is mounting pressure in view of high prices of petroleum products.

Cleared at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi, the umbrella scheme gives the states option to choose a farm produce compensation plan and also rope in private agencies for procurement to ensure profitable price for farmers.

“The PM-AASHA is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce as announced in the Union Budget for 2018. This is a historic decision,” said Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

Under the PM-AASHA, states will be allowed to choose from three schemes —  Price Support Scheme, Price Deficiency Payment Scheme and Pilot of Private Procurement Stockist Scheme — to undertake procurement when prices of commodities fall below MSP level. Of Rs 15,053 crore sanctioned for the PM-AASHA in the next two financial years, Rs 6,250 crore will be spent this year. The credit line for procurement agencies has been also been enhanced by providing additional government guarantee of Rs 16,550 crore, taking the total to Rs 45,550 crore.

On incentivising sugar industry, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said millers who produce 100 per cent biofuel from sugarcane juice would get the support price of Rs 59.19 per litre (Rs 12.06 higher than the current rate).

For 100 per cent electrification of broad gauge rail lines, the government approved a proposal to electrify the remaining 13,675 km by 2021-22 at a cost of Rs 12,134,50 crore.

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