Government to purchase rice at Rs.850 per quintal

June 12th, 2008 - 7:40 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) The government Thursday fixed an interim purchase price of Rs.850 per quintal of rice pending a final decision on the rate to be paid to farmers for the upcoming winter crop. The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) took the decision at its meeting here Thursday due to the divergence of views of the state governments on the price of Rs.745 per quintal recommended by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said.

“In view of the divergent views expressed, the CCEA decided to fix an ad hoc purchase price of Rs.850 per quintal for the common variety of paddy,” the minister told reporters after the meeting of the cabinet panel presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“This is the sharpest increase in any year,” Chidambaram added.

The CACP had recommended a purchase price of Rs.775 per quintal of the grade A variety and “this will be suitably calibrated and fixed at around Rs.25 higher,” the minister said.

The prime minister’s economic advisory council will now take the final decision on the purchase price to be paid, Chidambaram said, indicating this would be higher than the interim rate that had been set.

He replied in the negative when asked whether this was the first time a CACP recommendation had not been accepted.

“It has happened in the past too,” he added.

According to the minister, the price variations ranged from a high of Rs.1,300 per quintal of the common variety suggested by Andhra Pradesh to a low of Rs.645 recommended by Himachal Pradesh.

“Some want more, some want less and so the CCEA decided to refer the matter to the prime minister’s economic advisory council,” Chidambaram added.

“West Bengal and Kerala have not expressed a view,” he said in response to a question on the recommendations of the Left ruled states.

“Tamil Nadu has also not expressed a view,” he added.

While the left parties support the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) from the outside, the DMK that rules Tamil Nadu is a part of the coalition.

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