Center lowers wheat quality standards for Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan
After hearing from its own team about the quality of the wheat crop coming to mandis and procurement centers, the Centre has chosen to relax the rules for Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan by cutting the value by a small amount. A similar decision for Uttar Pradesh is expected in the next day or two.
In the second half of March, rain and hail storms that were out of place in northwestern India hurt the crop. The move to loosen rules is seen as a way for the government to meet its own purchasing goal of 34.15 million tonnes (mt). Also, it helps the government avoid a political scandal after the Punjab cabinet passed a resolution asking the Centre to make a relaxation right away.
There was no other choice, since it had already been done for Madhya Pradesh, and rejecting wheat on the grounds that it didn’t meet standards could have made farmers angry. A government source said that the government also wants to buy at least 29-30 mt of wheat.
According to three separate orders from the Food Ministry for Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan, wheat should be bought at a relaxed standard with a value cut of ₹5.31 per quintal from the minimum support price of ₹2,125 per quintal if the grain has lost more than 10% of its shine but is still within 80%. No value will be cut, and MSP has to be paid if up to 10% of the luster is lost.
The Centre has also said that shriveled or broken grains can be up to 18% of the total, with a value cut of up to ₹32/quintal. This is a change from the present standard of 6% in all three states.
‘Wheat with up to 6% shriveled or broken grains will be bought without a price cut. But if the number of shriveled and broken grains goes up by 2% each, the price will go down by ₹5.31 per quintal,’ an official said.
For example, if 10% of a 100 kg bag of grains are shriveled and broken, the farmer will get ₹10.62/quintal less than MSP, and if it’s 18%, he’ll get ₹31.87/quintal less.
Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana, and Dushyant Chautala, the Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana, both liked the Centre’s choice to loosen the uniform specifications for wheat, but they asked the Centre to think again about the value cut. The state government has also said that until the Centre makes a choice, Haryana will pay the amount of the value cut and farmers will get the full MSP.
Gurnam Singh Charuni, the head of the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni), had asked for the value cut order to be reversed. Also Read | Central govt refused to extend Telangana’s deadline for Khari milling of paddy
The move to relax has also been welcomed by the government of Punjab. But unlike Haryana, it didn’t say anything on its own to help farmers who lost money because of the value cut. Lal Chand Kataruchak, who is the Food Minister of Punjab, could not be reached for comment.