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India reaches historic heights; government explores various options

We have heard news of the farmers in debts and have failed to yield sufficient good crops.

Has this situation changed? Or is it still the same?

India’s overall foodgrain production may touch a new record of 277.49 million tonnes in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June) with pulses and rice outputs reporting new high. The agriculture ministry released its latest estimates on Tuesday – just when the government has been exploring various options of procuring more and more foodgrains from farmers in the year of plenty.

One of the options of extending government’s guarantee to banks and lending agencies to ensure that the state agencies do not face fund crunch for procurement is likely to come up before the Union Cabinet for approval on Wednesday.

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The move will help states to go for procurement of pulses, oilseeds, and cotton under the Price Support Scheme (PSS) through central nodal agencies and the other crops by state agencies at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) in a big way without worrying about the paucity of funds.

The basic objectives of the PSS are to provide remunerative prices to the growers for their produce with a view to encourage higher investment and production and to safeguard the interest of consumers by making available supplies at reasonable prices.

Though the year is expected to report a decline in production of wheat and oilseeds as compared to previous year (2016-17), the latest estimates gave a new hope amid reports of good sowing of winter crops (Rabi), except wheat, in December-January.

The fall in wheat production can be attributed to farmers’ decision to shift to pulses with the hope of better MSP. Farmers in Rajasthan, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh have shifted to pulses during the Rabi season.

The agriculture ministry while releasing the second advance estimates of foodgrain production attributed the record outputs in 2017-18 to “near normal rainfall during 2017 monsoon and various policy initiatives taken by the government”.

The ministry said that the assessment of production of different crops was “based on the feedback received from states”. It claimed that the assessment was also “validated with information available from other sources”.

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The ministry releases four advance estimates, before the final one which gives exact details of foodgrain output. The second estimates, released after completion of the Rabi sowing operations across the country, show that the total foodgrains production in the country is estimated at 277.49 million tonnes (MT) which is higher by 2.37 MT than the previous record production of foodgrains of 275.11 MT achieved during 2016-17.

The production of wheat is, however, likely to drop by 1.42% to estimated 97.11 MT. It is lower by 1.40 MT as compared to record wheat production of 98.51 MT achieved during 2016-17.

Total Pulses production during 2017-18 is estimated at record 23.95 MT which is higher by 0.82 MT than the previous year’s production of 23.13 MT. “Moreover, the production of pulses during 2017-18 is higher than the five years’ average production by 5.10 MT,” claimed the ministry.

Total oilseeds production during 2017-18 is estimated at 29.88 MT which is lower by 1.39 MT than the production of 31.28 MT during 2016-17.


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