AP Govt optimistic on paddy MSP hike: Minister

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Hyderabad, Oct 24 (UNI) Denying reports on the Centre rejecting the demand of paddy-growing states for a hike in Minimum Support Price for paddy to Rs 1,000 a quintal, Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy today said the state wanted the Centre to hike the MSP for all crops in tune with the recommendations of the M S Swaminathan Committee.

''We are optimistic the Centre will positively consider the demand for raising the MSP for paddy to Rs 1,000 per quintal,'' Mr Reddy told the press here.

The state had produced a record 100.09 tonne of foodgrains during the Khariff season, he announced Dismissing as ''politically-motivated'' the stir by opposition parties, he wanted to know why these parties did not make any demand before the UPA Government when it hiked the MSP to Rs 725 a quintal.

Officials had been asked to work out the MSP for various crops as per the formula suggested by the noted farm scientists for Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy to take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on November 2, he informed.

The Chief Minister had spoken to his Tamil Nadu and West Bengal counterparts to jointly take up the cause of paddy growers with the Centre.

It was during the previous National Democratic Alliance Government that difference in MSP between wheat and paddy started and widened over a period, he claimed.

While the hike in MSP for paddy was a mere Rs 60 per quintal during the previous Vajpayee Regime, the ''farmer-friendly'' UPA Government had hiked the MSP for paddy by Rs 145 to Rs 725 a quintal, he said, adding the Union and State Governments had ensured the farmers did not not resort to distress sale of crops covered by the MSP mechanism in the last three years.

Central and State marketing agencies were fully geared to procure 20 lakh tonne of paddy during this season, he informed.

UNI

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