Cabinet approves scheme on remunerative crop prices

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New Delhi : The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved more pro-farmer initiatives ahead of the 2019 general elections. The government will have a new umbrella scheme that will also allow private players to procure crop produce at remunerative prices.

The new scheme, "Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan" (PM-AASHA), was approved at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Addressing the media here, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the Cabinet also decided to give an additional government guarantee of Rs 16,550 crore for procurement, taking the total to Rs 45,550 crore.

This will ensure remunerative prices to the farmers for their crops as announced in this year's Union Budget, the Minister said.

In addition, the budgetary provisions for procurement operations have also been increased and Rs 15,053 crore sanctioned for the implementation of the scheme.

The PM-AASHA comprises three sub-schemes -- Price Support Scheme, Price Deficiency Payment Scheme or Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana and Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme.

According to an official statement, the Cabinet decided that the participation of private sector in procurement operations needed to be piloted so that the ambit of private participation could be increased.

The Minister said that other existing schemes vis-a-vis procurement of paddy, wheat and nutri-cereals or coarse grains by the Food Ministry and of cotton and jute by the Textile Ministry would also continue for providing MSP to farmers for these crops.