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Has Haryana govt ‘banned’ procurement of paddy in 12 districts because it is ‘conspiring’ against farmers? How Congress misled

If the government was indeed hatching a "conspiracy" against the farmers and had "banned" paddy procurement in the state of Haryana, the government would not have procured paddy worth Rs 10405.56 crores (MSP) and almost 90% of the estimated paddy procurement already.

The President of Haryana Pradesh Congress made certain allegations against the BJP led Haryana government. Kumari Selja accused the ML Khattar government of conspiring against the farmers of the state and ‘banning’ the procurement of paddy from the farmers in 12 districts. She alleged that this was a conspiracy by the Haryana government so that eventually, it could implement the farm laws and stop government procurement altogether, so the farmers would have to sell their paddy to private players at throwaway prices.

Kumari Selja said that the government should stop its anti-farmer conspiracies and start procuring paddy at Minimum Support Price (MSP) from the farmers, insinuating that no procurement of paddy had happened, that the government had maliciously “banned” all procurement in 12 districts and that the farmers were not getting MSP.

According to Times of India, she made a blanket statement that the government had stopped procurement of paddy in the state.

However, as has been the norm, the statement of Kumari Selja is not accurate.

According to government sources, in the food secretaries meeting held on 17th August an estimate of procurement of 40.00 LMT rice (59.70 LMT paddy) had been fixed during Kharif Marketing Season 2021-22 in the Haryana region.

YearProduction (Fig. in LMT)
(In terms of Rice)
Procurement (Fig. in LMT)
(In terms of Rice)
Procurement (Fig. in LMT)
(In terms of Paddy)
Total MSP value (Fig. in Cr.)
KMS 2015-1641.4528.6142.706191.5
KMS 2016-1744.5335.8353.528075.48
KMS 2017-1845.2339.9259.589473.22
KMS 2018-1945.1639.4158.8310412.91
KMS 2019-2048.2443.07
64.2911795.38
KMS 2020-2144.2537.8956.5510676.64
KMS 2021-2244.9135.5753.0810405.56

The above table indicates the amount of paddy procurement by the government against the production of paddy in Haryana over the last few years. It also indicates the MSP paid to farmers in the state of Haryana.

As can be seen, in the current year, a quantity of about 53.08 LMT paddy (35.57 LMT rice) out of total arrival of 53.57 LMT paddy has been procured in Haryana up to 10th November 2021 against the estimate of procurement of 59.70 LMT paddy (40.00 LMT rice), as clarified by the government.

While Kumar Selja is alleging that the Haryana government has “banned” paddy procurement, the government has already procured 89% of the estimated paddy procurement for the year 2021-2022 (53.08 LMT paddy out of 59.70 LMT paddy) at the MSP of Rs. 10405.56 crores.

As per the Advance Estimates for KMS 2021-22 released by the Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, GOI, in the case of Haryana, the area under cultivation for paddy crop is 13.10 Lakh Hectare and the corresponding production of Kharif paddy in terms of rice has been estimated as 44.91 LMT (67.02 LMT paddy).

As per data of Dept. of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Govt. of Haryana, a total of 15.11 Lakh Hectare area is under cultivation of paddy during KMS 2021-22 and estimated production of rice would be about 51.35 LMT (76.64 LMT paddy)

It is to be noted that the difference in the estimate is not arbitrary. Procurement estimates are fixed based on the production data (advance estimate) published by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, GOI. Since there is a difference between production estimates of State Govt. of Haryana and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, GOI, State Govt. is required to reconcile the production data with Agriculture Ministry. 

The central government and the state government of Haryana have worked together in the recent past to ensure that the estimates are reconciled so the procurement process is not hampered.

On the 3rd of November 2021, the paddy procurement process was reviewed by the State and the Central government. During the review process, it was found that in several procurement centres, not much paddy was incoming and therefore, it was far more open to manipulation and malpractice.

In light of this, the central government had sent the following communication to all Deputy Commissioners (DC) and District Food & Supply Controllers (DFSC) of paddy procuring districts:

  1. The DCs were requested to adequately estimate the amount of paddy that was left in the field and with the farmers to then accurate estimate how much paddy would be coming into their respective procurement centres.
  2. They were also instructed to judge which procurement centres would need to be operated from the 8th of November up to the 15th of November when the procurement would take place for the KMS.

After the assessment was done, it was the DCs and the DFSCs who had decided to close 47 out of 199 procurement centres in 12 revenue districts.

It can therefore be seen that the 47 procurement centres in 12 districts were closed not because the state government had a grudge against the farmers but because after almost 90% of the procurement was done out of the estimated paddy procurement, the 47 centres were not getting enough paddy coming into the centre for procurement.

If the government was indeed hatching a “conspiracy” against the farmers and had “banned” paddy procurement in the state of Haryana, the government would not have procured paddy worth Rs 10405.56 crores (MSP) and almost 90% of the estimated paddy procurement already.

Similar allegations had surfaced in Telangana: Politics above facts

On the 10th of November, the Agriculture Minister of Telangana made certain allegations against the central government. Targeting Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, Niranjan Reddy asked if the central government was going to procure paddy, insinuating that there was no plan of the govt to do so. 

On November 11, the Government of India refuted the claims of S Niranjan Reddy, Agriculture Minister, Telangana. It said that the paddy procurement under the Central pool had increased nearly three times in the past three years. As per the stats provided by the government, in the 2017-18 season, the Centre procured 36 LMT of paddy that was increased to 52 LMT in 2018-19, 75 LMT in 2019-20 and 95 LMT in 2020-21.

The Centre said that during the Rabi crop of KMS in 2020-21, 62.80 LMT rice was procured by the State. 24.75 LMT rice was deposited by the government in the form of parboiled rice, while the rest was deposited as raw. The state government had requested to increase the parboiled rice target to 50.75 LMT from 24-75 LMT as surplus stock under Centra Pool.

However, the central govt already has 3-years worth of stock of parboiled rice with FCI. Still, the central government approved additional procurement of 20 LMT of parboiled rice to FCI for KMS 2020-21 and the rest as surplus in raw.

The government further added that the State of Telangana has set a procurement target of 40 LMT for KMS 2021-22, which is 26.78% more than the previous Kharif season of 2019-20. The State has further asked the Centre to enhance the target during KMS 2021-22, which is under consideration as there were discrepancies in the estimated production by State Govt. and Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, GOI.

The Congress party has been misleading farmers about the Farm Laws introduced by the Central Government and fanning the “farmers protest” that has repeatedly ended in violence. These statements by Kumari Selja seem to be a continuation of the propaganda by the Congress party where facts are disregarded to sow seeds of discontent where she not only lied about the farm laws (since it does not ban procurement at MSP) but also misled about the developments in Haryana.

 

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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