Centre Orders ‘Immediate’ Paddy Procurement in Punjab & Haryana

The procurement for this year’s kharif season is otherwise scheduled from 1 October in all procuring states.

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Farmers block a railway track during their protest against the new farm bills, at Devi Dass Pura village, about 20 kilometers from Amritsar, Friday, 25 September.

Amid the nationwide farmers’ protest, the Centre on Saturday, 26 September, announced the immediate commencement of procurement of paddy at the minimum support price (MSP) in the states of Punjab and Haryana in lieu of the early arrival of Kharif crop in both the states, PTI reported.

The procurement of paddy for this year’s kharif season is otherwise scheduled to start from 1 October in all procuring states, the Centre added.

According to an Indian Express article, in a statement, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said, “However, in view of early arrival of paddy in the ‘mandies’ of Haryana and Punjab, Government of India has approved the commencement of procurement operations for paddy/rice immediately in both these States from today i.e. with effect from 26th September, 2020 to ensure that farmers are facilitated in selling their produce at Minimum Support Price (MSP) expeditiously.”

This move comes amid protests carried out by farmers who are largely against three bills that were recently passed by Parliament in its monsoon session – The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

The Centre has set the MSP for ''common variety'' paddy at Rs 1,868 per quintal and it’s Rs 1,888 per quintal for “A” grade variety for the current year, PTI reported.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday, 21 September, had announced the MSP for the 2021-22 Rabi marketing year, saying the farmers will benefit by up to 106 percent on the cost price.

The government has reportedly set the target of procuring 113 lakh tonnes of rice from Punjab and 44 lakh tonnes from Haryana during the kharif season. The procurement target is kept at 495.37 lakh tonnes for the entire nation for 2020-21 kharif marketing season.

(With inputs from PTI, The Indian Express)

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