New Delhi, Nov 1: The government Thursday deferred hiking the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of wheat, the main winter crop, for 2012-13 due to differences between food and agriculture ministries over the issue.
While the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not decide on MSP of wheat, it raised the MSPs of other rabi (winter) crops like mustard seed, gram and lentil.
An official statement issued in the evening said: “For wheat, there would be further consultation.”
According to officials, the CCEA approved an increase in the MSP of mustard seed from Rs.2,500 per quintal to Rs.3,000 per quintal, safflower from Rs.2,500 per quintal to Rs.2,800 per quintal while freezing the MSP of barley at Rs.980 per quintal.
Acording to government sources, while the food ministry supported the recommendation of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) to freeze the MSP of wheat at Rs.1,285 per quintal in order to curb the rising subsidy costs, the agriculture ministry wanted a 5 to 10 percent bonus to be announced to compensate farmers for the increase in the price of diesel.
Food ministry sources said any hike in the MSP of wheat would further increase the food subsidy bill by another Rs.4,000-5,000 crore.