In a move to reassure agitated farmers across the country, the Central government has allowed all states to begin to procurement of winter rice and paddy two days ahead of time, reported NDTV.
The usual date for this is 1 October.
The government, reportedly, said in a note: "This would ensure that farmers are facilitated in selling their produce at Minimum Support Price (MSP) expeditiously".
The government had already given a green flag to the procurement in Punjab and Haryana, five days in advance. Thus, the procurement began in Punjab and Haryana on 26 September.
According to IANS, the procurement process began in Kerala even sooner, on 21 September.
According to NDTV, the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) too were declared a month in advance. This too was done in a bid to allay farmers’ concerns of MSP getting scrapped once the new contentious laws are implemented. Prices for wheat, lentils and mustard, which are the big crops in Punjab and Haryana, were brought up, as well.
Punjab and Haryana are the states where the agitation is reportedly most intense.
HOW ARE FARMERS VIEWING THIS?
Most farmers’ organisations, although, are perceiving this move by the Central Government with “deep distrust”, reported NDTV. The leader of one farmer’s organisation, according to NDTV, has referred to this move as BJP government’s “conspiracy” to put an end to their protests.
Further, most organisations have reportedly said that the hike in the prices is too little to make a difference.
According to IANS, the Department of Food and Public Distribution has issued uniform specifications for central pool procurement in the 2020-21 Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) with respect to paddy/rice and other coarse grains.
It is, according to the statement, the first time that uniform specification for Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK) for Grade 'A' and Common Rice have also been issued in case of procurement of Fortified Rice Stocks, of which 1 per cent FRK (w/w) should be blended with normal rice stock, reported IANS.
States have been asked to make sure that wide publicity of the uniform specifications is carried out among the farmers so that they may get due price for their produce and any rejection of the stocks is completely avoided, reported IANS, citing the ministry.
The statement, according to IANS, further said: All states/Union Territories and Food Corporation of India (FCI) have been advised that the procurement during KMS 2020-21 may be strictly in accordance with the uniform specifications.
Amid massive farmer protests across India, President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday, 27 September, gave his assent to the three contentious farm bills.
Days after Parliament passed the contentious farm bills, a nationwide protest took place on Friday, 25 September, with over two dozen farmer organisations having announced their support to the call for the bandh.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, TMC, the Left, AAP and Samajwadi Party have also extended support to the farmers in their protests.
(With inputs from IANS and NDTV.)
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