The Union government on Wednesday increased the minimum support price for wheat to Rs 2,015 per quintal from the earlier Rs 1,975 per quintal for the rabi marketing season of 2022-’23.
The minimum support price is the guaranteed amount paid to farmers when the government buys their produce.
Sowing for rabi, one of the two major crop season cycles in India, begins from October.
The minimum support prices for five other rabi crops were also increased on Wednesday. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The hike in minimum support prices of rabi crops came as the farmers continue to protest against the Centre’s three contentious agriculture laws since November.
The government has claimed the laws are aimed at making farming more profitable, but the farmers argue that they will bring about corporate dominance of the sector. However, farmers claim that once the prevailing authority of the state marketing boards – that provide a shield against exploitation – collapses, private entities will dictate the price of their produce.
They fear that the government plans to dismantle the minimum support price regime under the guise of reforming the agricultural sector.
The protests have gained momentum in the last few weeks with farmers holding mahapanchayats (congregations) in parts of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
A group of farmers have also been on a sit-in protest outside the mini-secretariat building in Haryana’s Karnal district since Tuesday evening. They are agitating against the police crackdown on farmers heading to Karnal to protest against a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders on August 28.