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Rice procurement restricted at last year”s level for Chhattisgarh as per policy: Centre

New Delhi,  The Centre on Sunday said it has restricted the procurement quantity of kharif rice this year for Chhattisgarh at last year”s level of 24 lakh tonnes as per the policy because the state government is found to be giving financial incentives to paddy growers.

In a statement, the Union Food Ministry said that it follows a “uniform policy” for foodgrains procurement across the country.

However, it restricts the procurement quantity to last year”s level to those states which give bonus and financial incentives to farmers as per the memorandum of agreement (MoU)signed with states in this regard.

The ministry mentioned that the Chhattisgarh government on December 17, 2020 had published an adverstisement announcing incentives for paddy procurement for the 2020-21 kharif marketing season (KMS).

The state government had said that under the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana it will procure paddy from farmers at Rs 2,500 per quintal during the 2020-21 KMS by paying Rs 10,000 per acre.

The ministry noted that this “is a form of indirect incentive over and above the minimum support price (MSP) which is as good as bonus on procurement of paddy”.

Accordingly, the Centre has decided to allow 24 lakh tonnes of rice to be delivered to the state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) under central pool during the 2020-21 KMS which is equivalent to the quantity as allowed in previous years, it added.

This is as per the MoU signed between the Centre, state governments and nodal agency FCI on decentralised and centralised procurement mechanism.

According to the ministry, initial procurement targets are only estimates settled with states. States are asked if they are giving incentive or not, it said.

“Some states including Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were found to be giving incentive so the central government procurement is restricted to quantity which was procured in past without bonus/incentive,” it added.

Under the decentralised procurement (DCP) mechanism, state governments themselves procure grains for the central pool, store and distribute these foodgrains for Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and other welfare schemes based on the allocation made by the central government. As per Clause No 3 of the MoU of DCP state, “in the situation of state giving any bonus/ financial incentive in direct or indirect form, over and above MSP, if the overall procurement of the state is in excess of the total allocation of the State made by the Government of India under TPDS/ OWS, such excess quantity shall be treated to be outside the central pool,” it said. “The central government is following a uniform policy and supporting farmers across the country. The same is followed in Chhattisgarh procurement,” the ministry noted. PTI