Minimum Support Price: Really helpful or a Political gimmick

What is Minimum Support Price?
According to the website data.gov.in, Minimum Support Price is the price at which government purchases crops from the farmers, to safeguard the interests of the farmers. In the year 1966-67, the Government of India announced Minimum Support Prices for the first time for wheat, to save the farmers from diminishing profits. Since then, the MSP has been expanded to many crops.

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Key Facts

  • The Government of India announces the MSPs at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Government of India, determines the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) of various agricultural commodities in India based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices.
  • Currently the MSP covers 24 crops that include seven cereals (paddy, wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, maize and ragi); five pulses (gram, arhar/tur, moong, urad and lentil); eight oilseeds (groundnut, rapeseed/mustard, toria, soyabean, sunflower seed, sesamum, safflower seed and nigerseed); copra, raw cotton, raw jute and virginia flu cured (VFC) tobacco.

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Why is it provided?

  • The idea behind MSP is to give guaranteed prices and assured market to the farmers and save them from the price fluctuations.
  • It shields farmers from the unwarranted fluctuation in prices caused by the variation in supply (largely influenced by the monsoon, drought), lack of market integration, information asymmetry and other elements of market imperfection afflicting the agricultural markets.
  • The guaranteed price and assured market are expected to encourage higher investment and in adoption of modern technologies in agricultural activities.
  • Further, with globalization resulting in freer trade in agricultural commodities, it is very important to protect farmers from the unwarranted fluctuation in prices, manipulated by the international level price variations.

Recent happenings

  • For the 2018-19 crop season, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently announced an increase in minimum support prices to 50% above the cost of production. The Committee approved the MSP of 14 Kharif (summer grown) crops.
  • The Modi government termed it  as the “historic increase.”
  • The announced MSPs also include a ₹200 per quintal increase in the MSP for paddy, which is likely to inflate the food subsidy bill.
  • In a press briefing Rajnath Singh, the Home Minister of India, said the hike would boost farmers’ income and purchasing capacity, and have a positive impact on the wider economy, and played down fears of rising inflation due to higher food prices.

Criticism

  • This decision, taken by the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came just an year before the next general election. So, more than a beneficiary measure it is being considered as a step to garner the votes of farmers.
  •  There is a significant variance between what the government considers as the cost of production and what the farmer incurs.
  • According to the Government of India, Production Cost = Actual Expenses on seeds, fertilizers, irrigation etc. (A2) + Unpaid Family labor (FL)
  • Actual Production Cost (C2) = Actual Expenses on seeds, fertilizers, irrigation etc. (A2) + Unpaid Family labor  (FL) + Rentals or interest on Land
  • The announcement of increase is being considered as the betrayal of the BJP’s 2014 poll promise.  According to the Bharatiya Kisan Union leader, “What has been announced by the Centre is an eyewash.” He mentions “If MSP had been announced on C2 basis, then paddy price would have risen by at least Rs. 700 per quintal, but the government has only increased it by Rs. 200 per quintal.”

Tips to improve your participation in GD round
This topic in GD round is one of the hot probable topics and has been carefully chosen and solved with the sole aim to help you succeed in GD round. If you follow the few key tips, you can improve your chances to get through the GD round

  • If you are clear and know the topic well, it is good to be the first to start the Group Discussion
  • If you are not well versed with the topic and fee a bit confused on it, try to gather information from first 1-2 speakers and then place your view point.
  • Since GD is a sort of debate, you should have a clear view point on the topic – either for or against. Don’t keep crossing the floor. It will leave a bad impression and you may be out of the race.
  • Use the quote and data, if you are sure of the source else leave it. You may encounter volley of questions on the economic statistics, trade data or historical facts from your fellow participants. Unless very sure, don’t use it.
  • Make multiple entries using the opportunity to speak. Take clue from your predecessor and turn it to your benefit
  • Speak in a firm and audible voice. Don’t shout as it wouldn’t do any good.

Even if you agree or disagree to the view point of other participant, add value by giving reasons for it when you speak but don’t simply say I agree or disagree

 

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