Government allows relaxation in procurement norms during calamities

New Delhi, The Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today informed that sometimes, due to natural calamities such as unseasonal rains, erratic rainfall, cyclone and adverse climatic conditions affecting the quality of foodgrains, Government allows relaxation in the procurement norms on the request of the concerned State Government to avoid distress sale for the benefit of farmers.

Commission of Agriculture Costs and Price (CACP) under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare is mandated to recommend the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for 22 agricultural commodities including foodgrains at all India Level and Fair & Remunerative Price for Sugarcane.

Steps taken by the Government to ensure remunerative prices for foodgrains and its timely procurement from farmers are as under:

1. The Minimum Support Price (MSP) is announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for crops and procures foodgrains at MSP.

2. MSP operations are given wide publicity through pamphlets, banners, sign boards, radio, TV and advertisements through print & electronic media.

3. Farmers are made aware of the quality specifications and purchase system etc. to facilitate the farmers to bring their produce conforming to the specifications.

4. Procurement centres are opened taking into account the production, marketable surplus, convenience of farmers and availability of other logistics infrastructure such as storage and transportation etc. Large number of temporary purchase centres in addition to the existing regulated mandis and depots godowns are also established at key points for the convenience of the farmers for timely purchase of their produces.

5. Farmers directly get the MSP announced by GOI and decided to do away with the levy system of procurement of rice with effect from KMS 2015-16, allowing the entire procurement of paddy to be done only by the State Agencies FCI.

6. Payment to farmers is done through electronic mode by State Agencies FCI. Efforts are being made to make the payments to the farmers within 48 hours of purchase.

7. FCI and State Governments have developed their own Online Procurement Systems which ushers in transparency and convenience to the farmers through proper registration and monitoring of actual procurement.

8. Through e-procuring module deployed by procuring Agencies, farmers get latest updated information regarding MSP declared, nearest purchase centre, date on which the farmer has to bring their produce to the purchase centre etc. This not only reduces the waiting period for delivery of stock by the farmers but also enables the farmer to deliver stock as per his convenience to the nearest mandi.