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Govt limits wheat MSP hike to Rs 50/quintal on inflation worry



Updated On - Saturday, 02 November 2013

17 October 2013

NEW DELHI: Concerned about inflation, the government today hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat by Rs 50 a quintal for the marketing year starting April 2014, rejecting a proposal for a higher increase.

"Wheat MSP has been increased by Rs 50 per quintal to Rs 1,400 for 2013-14 crop year as against Rs 1,350 last year,"Food Minister K V Thomas said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the hike in wheat MSP as recommended by theCommission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP), the government advisory body. The CCEA rejectedAgriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's proposal to pay farmers Rs 1,450 per quintal of wheat.

Asked why the Agriculture Ministry's proposal wasn't accepted, Thomas said, "We are concerned about inflation. When MSP goes up, obviously prices in the open market rise and we have no control on that."

The CACP had recommended an increase of Rs 50 per quintal of wheat, keeping in view high inflation in cereals and exports becoming unviable. It felt the existing MSP was comfortably higher than the projected cost of production.

"We need to take a balanced decision of protecting both farmers and consumers. We are giving a price support to farmers and not the income support," Thomas said.

The CCEA also approved MSP increases for gram by Rs 100 per quintal to Rs 3,100, masur by Rs 50 per quintal to Rs 2,950 and mustard seed by Rs 50 per quintal to Rs 3,050.

The MSP of barley has been raised by Rs 120 per quintal to Rs 1,100 and safflower by Rs 200 per quintal to Rs 3,000 for 2014-15.

Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index rose to a seven-month high of 6.46 per cent in September, while it was 9.84 per cent as per the consumer price index amid higher prices of cereals and vegetables.

The increase in wheat MSP is likely to lead to a rise in the government's food subsidy bill in the next fiscal.

Sowing of wheat starts in October and harvesting takes place from April.

Published by: The Economic Times

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