An intensive bonus of Rs 50 a quintal announced for paddy

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New Delhi, Oct 16 (UNI) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved an incentive bonus of Rs 50 per qunital of paddy over the minimum support price of Rs 850 a qunital for the current Kharif crop marketing season (2008-09) The Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council had earlier suggested that the MSP be fixed at Rs 900 per quintal.

The Cabinet, in its meeting on 21 August, approved the support prices for various kharif crops, including paddy.

On June 12, the Cabinet had approved an ad-hoc MSP for paddy at Rs 850 a quintal.

However, the matter was referred to the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council as Southern states, particularly Andhra Pradesh had been demanding a hike in the MSP to Rs 1,000 a quintal, on a par with that of wheat.

In 1995-96, the MSP for paddy and wheat was at par at Rs 360 a qunital. But later the gap between the MSP for paddy and that of wheat widened to Rs 300 a qunital now.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), which recommends MSP for two dozen crops, had suggested raising of the paddy MSP at Rs 1,000 a quintal for the 2008-09 season.

Last year, the MSP of paddy, including bonus, was Rs 745 per quintal for common variety and Rs 775 Grade 'A' varieties.

The MSPs for maize, jowar and bajra have now been fixed at Rs 840 per quintal each, while cotton is Rs 2,500 a quintal for medium staple and Rs 3,000 for long staple.

The area under paddy cultivation in the current kharif season rose to 373.51 lakh hectares as compared with 361.81 lakh hectares last year.

UNI/JSS SBA RR KP1523

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