The central government has made it clear that it is not going to purchase rice from Chhattisgarh if the state government gives bonus to farmers as against paddy procurement as promised by the Congress government in its election manifesto.
In a letter, accessed by ‘The Pioneer’, addressed to Chhattisgarh chief secretary, the Union secretary for Food and Public Distribution Ministry of Consumer Affairs, while pointing towards a clause of MoU signed by Chhattisgarh and Central government for rice purchase clearly stated: “if State Govt. declares the bonus over and above the MSP fixed by Govt. of India, the Central Govt. would limit the procurement for Central Pool to the extent of requirement of rice for TPDS (Targeted Public Distribution System) /Other Welfare Scheme (OWS) allocations of that State.”
In the letter, the secretary has informed that the Central pool stock is already much above the buffer norms.
“Further, the announcement of bonus by a state distorts market, raises floor prices of the surplus food grains in the market leading to over procurement by Govt. agencies as private buyers are distracted from the trade due to high prices in the market. It also distorts the cropping pattern as farmers ignoring other crops, tend to engage in cultivation of food grains for which the bonus has been announced,” the secretary mentioned in the letter.
Meanwhile, according to Chhattisgarh government the central government had purchased 80.38 lakh metric ton rice from Chhattisgarh in the Kharif marketing season 2018-19 and this year the state government is expecting to procure about 85 lakh MT paddy from farmers of the state.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in different letter addressed to the Prime Minister had requested him to relax the MoU clause and direct the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for purchasing surplus 32 lakh MT of rice from Chhattisgarh in the central pool for the Kharif marketing season 2019-20
Dissatisfied with the decision, the Chief Minister has decided to hold a protest in New Delhi on November 15.