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Friday, February 09, 2001

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Decision on wheat MSP deferred again

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Feb. 8

THE Government has deferred yet again a decision on fixing the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat and other rabi crops for the 2001-02 marketing season beginning April.

Though the issue was listed as part of the agenda of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs' (CCEA) meeting, it was not taken up for consideration. The CCEA's earlier meeting on January 24, too, had refrained from taking a decision, following intense lobbying by the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Om Prakash Chautala, to hike the MSP on wheat from the Rs 580 per quintal fixed for the 2000-01 rabi marketing season.

According to sources, the deferment was again prompted by the Government's inability to forge a consensus to the issue, with the alliance partners such as Siromani Akali Dal sticking to their demand to hike the MSP to at least Rs 600 per quintal. The Fin ance Ministry and Food Ministry are, however, opposed to the move considering its subsidy implications.

Meanwhile, the CCEA approved the continuation of the Centrally-sponsored scheme for providing investment loan assistance to State Governments for participation in the share capital of new cooperative sugar factories as well as term loan assistance for mo dernisation, expansion and diversification. During the Ninth Plan, an outlay of Rs 329 crore will be earmarked for the scheme.

Related links:
Decision on wheat MSP deferred
Suggestion to cut wheat MSP by Rs 60 a quintal? -- CACP proposal puts Agri Ministry in a fix

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