New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday attacked the government for not granting a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs.1,000 per quintal for paddy, terming it a “short-sighted” decision.
Accusing the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of denying justice to paddy growers, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters here: “This is not only a betrayal of the paddy growers but also is a short-sighted decision, which will ultimately hurt the food security of the nation in future.
“The government is denying the rise in MSP for paddy on the ground that it will fuel price rise. The government’s argument is far from the truth and also full of fallacies.”
Javadekar said that price is a function of demand and supply and at present the market price of rice is proportionately much more than that of wheat, though the MSP of paddy is less than that of wheat.
“This is primarily because the demand-supply position has become precarious as far as rice availability in the market is concerned. The production of rice is not increasing in tandem with its demand because the farmer is not getting his due through the MSP mechanism. If the country produces more paddy, the prices will not only stabilise but also come down in the market,” he said.
Stating that this is the economic reality that will guarantee higher income to the farmer and reasonable prices to the consumers, the BJP spokesperson added: “The government is overlooking this vital aspect. Today, there is no policy to narrow the gap between what the producer gets and what the consumer pays.”
He said the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) target of additional production of 10 million tonnes of paddy could not be achieved unless the farmer is ensured a good MSP and new technology is imbibed in the cultivation process.
“It is pertinent to note that the government has tacitly accepted the recommendation of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan to fix MSP for wheat by adding 50 percent to the cost of production as calculated by the Commission of Agricultural Costs and Prices. The BJP demands the same justice for paddy growers,” Javadekar charged.
The BJP said that in a growing economy like India, the MSP should become an effective tool to ensure remunerative prices and not just protection against distress.