After the oppositions sustained agitation against the recent agri laws, the government on Tuesday hit back saying some people are “inciting farmers” in Punjab, a largely agrarian state and the heart of the recent farmer unrest. The Centre also asserted that there has been an unprecedented 251% increase in Kharif procurement in Punjab compared to last year.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri stated that in Punjab some people have been spreading lies, fake propaganda and inciting the farmers against the government by calling the new agriculture laws anti-farmer despite knowing that these laws for farmers will increase their income.
“The MSP is going to stay. The current paddy crop is being bought on MSP basis; there has been a record buying by government agencies this season. Similarly, wheat will be procured in the season and no farmer will face any issue”, he added. He was addressing a video press conference on Agriculture Reform Bill with the Scientists, Professors and other senior persons related to agriculture from Taran Taran, Amritsar here on Tuesday.
Puri informed that there has been an increase in the procurement at MSP in Punjab. In the ongoing Kharif season, Punjab registered an unprecedented increase in procurement from 7.4 LMT last year to 26.1 LMT this year as on October 11, which is a more than 251% increase in Kharif procurement compared to last year.
Puri said that the laws will also create new opportunities for arhityas who can provide better seeds, inputs, knowledge, supply chain assistance apart from their existing roles in mandis. Investments will drive change across the supply chain benefiting all stakeholders to reduce the agriculture wastage which is currently at 30%, he said.
As on October 11, total procurement of Paddy across all States in India increased by 35% from 31.7 LMT last year to 42.5 LMT this year. In the last 5 years, 3,069 LMT of Paddy was procured at MSP for Rs 4,95,043 crores compared to 1,768 LMT between 2009-14 for just Rs 2,06,059. A 2.40 times increase can be seen in MSP value. Similarly, in the last 5 years, 1,627 LMT of Wheat was procured at MSP for Rs 2,97,023 compared to 1,395 LMT between 2009-14 for Rs 1,68,202. A 1.77 times increase in MSP value is seen.
The number of procurement centres for Wheat in the Rabi season went up to 21,869 for the year 2020-21, nearly a 50% increase from the previous year’s 14,838 procurement centres. The number of procurement centres planned for the Kharif season 2020-21 has increased from 30,549 (2019-20) to 39,130. Nearly a 30% increase in procurement centres.
The total number of procurement centres, both Rabi & Kharif seasons combined, has gone up from 48,550 in 2016-17 to 64,515 in 2019-20, said the government. That is an increase of nearly 33% over 4 years. The number of farmers who have benefited from Paddy procurement at MSP has also increased by 72% between 2017-18 to 2019-20.