The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is likely to consider on Wednesday an Agriculture Ministry’s proposal to give bonus of Rs 50 to wheat farmers over and above the MSP of Rs 1120 per quintal this year.
According to sources, the Farm Ministry has favoured bonus to wheat farmers even as it expressed confidence that production of the foodgrain would touch a record 81.47 million tonnes this year.
“Wheat bonus is listed on the agenda of the CCEA meeting tomorrow,” sources said.They also said there is difference of opinion over the bonus between the Agriculture Ministry and the Food and Consumer Affairs Ministries.
The Agriculture Ministry wants to extend a helping hand to farmers by way of giving bonus to deter farmers from diversifying to other crops for higher remuneration, sources said.
However, the Food Ministry is against the idea of bonus as it feels procurement could be higher considering the Agriculture Ministry’s estimates of bumper wheat production, sources said.
Besides, the Consumer Affairs Ministry has also raised concern over food inflation, which is still ruling high at 9.5 per cent for the week ended 19th March.
The government has raised wheat MSP by Rs 20 a quintal to Rs 1120 a quintal for the 2010-11 rabi marketing season (March-April).
Wheat procurement started from the middle of March.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI), the government’s nodal agency for procurement and distribution, has so far procured 4.34 lakh tonnes of wheat from farmers at support price.
The procurement has remained down by 36 per cent so far from 6.74 lakh tonnes in a year-ago period due to less arrival of crops from Madhya Pradesh and delays in harvesting in Haryana.
Overall arrivals of wheat have fallen by almost 34 per cent to 6.03 lakh tonnes so far this year, as against 9.08 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.
The government had procured 22.5 million tonnes in the entire 2010-11 marketing year (April-March).
It expects procurement to touch 26.2 million tonnes in 2011-12 as output is estimated to be a record 81.47 million tonnes in the 2010-11 crop year (July-June).