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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: When it comes to Minimum Support Price (MSP) in Odisha, the ruling BJD goes with guns blazing at the Centre (be it UPA or NDA), but turns coy when it comes to biting the bullet. For which, nearly 48 per cent of the farmers in State are deprived of MSP benefit in the State.

Unlike in the States of Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Kerala and Haryana where a majority of farmers avail the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their paddy, the scenario is not rosy for their counterparts in Odisha.

This is so despite Odisha having joined the Decentralised Procurement (DCP) system a decade back to make MSP accessible to all small and marginal paddy farmers in the State.

Sample The Analysis Results.

States like Punjab and Haryana procure around 89 per cent and 85 per cent, respectively, of their rice production for the triennium ending 2018-19. Chhattisgarh procured over 57 per cent of the total rice produced in the State during the same period. (see the image below)

But Odisha could procure mere 49 per cent of the total rice produced in the State during the triennium ending 2018-19. The figures for the year 2019-20 stood at over 53 per cent.

Despite Telangana not figuring in the top-5 rice-producing states in the country, the percentage of procurement to production there stood at around 62 per cent for the triennium ending 2018-19.

Moreover, the blip in Odisha’s case is when the number of farmers benefitted from the procurement looked into; the State’s displays a very non-consistent approach.

Consider the following.

ODISHA VS CHHATTISGARH

ODISHA: In the year 2015-16, the number of farmers who availed the paddy procurement at MSP stood at 10.78 lakh.

In 2016-17, the number rose to over 11lakh.

In 2017-18: The number of farmers tumbled down to 7.98lakh.

In 2018-19: The total farmers who availed the MSP stood at 10.1 lakh.

In 2019-20: The total count stood at around 10 lakh only.

CHHATTISGARH: In 2015-16 number of farmers who had availed MSP was at over 11 lakh.

In 2016-17, the count of the farmers posted a sharp rise to over 13 lakh.

In 2017-18, the number dropped to around 10 lakh.

In 2018-19, total farmers benefitted from MSP posted a sharp jump to over 15 lakh.

In 2019-20, the count rose exponentially to a whopping over 18 lakh farmers.

REASON BEHIND HARE & TORTOISE GROWTH

The Odisha government does a lot of song and dance over MSP and never thought of biting the bullet. It keeps on targeting the Centre (bet it UPA or NDA) to bear the MSP cost by hiking the MSP when it is well known that Centre will never do so as it takes into account indices like the buffer stock surplus.

In contrast, the Chhattisgarh government (earlier BJP and now Congress) had given a bonus to the farmers over and above the MSP. The stupendous rise in 2019-20 had been attributed to Congress government’s poll sop bonus of Rs 700 per quintal.

The High procurement in Telangana was also being attributed to a bonus given by KCR government over and above the MSP.

PUNJAB-HARYANA MODEL

Though Punjab and Haryana didn’t give any incentive for procuring paddy or wheat, the procurement apparatus has a very deeper outreach as against Odisha.

Procurement centres mushroomed even at the village level there shows a study report by CACP.

In contrast, the CACP report says due to the lack of procurement centres at the village level, fewer farmers are availing the MSP in Odisha vis-à-vis other states.

 

GAPING HOLES IN ODISHA PROCUREMENT

Significantly, the prime objective behind the DCP (De-centralised Procurement) scheme is to cover more farmers under the MSP of the Centre with the expectation that the State Government through its procurement centres needs to procure rice from surplus districts thereby preventing farmers from selling their produce below the MSP there– where there is every possibility of a price crash.

However, data suggests that on the contrary, the number of procurement centres is woefully inadequate in the rice surplus districts of Koraput and Bargarh.

 

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