The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Rs-425 hike in the minimum support price, or MSP, of pulses for the 2016-’17 kharif season. This brings the cost of pulses from Rs 5,000 to Rs 5,225 per quintal, The Times of India reported. The government usually alters MSPs of commodities at the onset of the sowing season to protect farmers from any steep fall in prices.

The Centre’s move to raise the MSPs by at least Rs 200 per quintal is seen as part of efforts to push farmers to cultivate more pulses. This is the second consecutive year that the price was hiked because an acute shortage in domestic production has not allowed for a drop in the price of pulses. The proposed hike in MSP for paddy was merely Rs 60 per quintal, which further confirms the central government’s intention of ensuring that farmers find the cultivation of pulses more profitable.

Besides the hike, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved a proposal to allocate an additional 62,307 tonnes of food grains to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Nagaland every month as part of their public distribution system to supply through ration shops, as these states have yet to implement the food law. The National Food Security Law allows 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains for each person person every month, at a price of Rs 1-3 per kg, for up to two-thirds of India's population, according to PTI.

The Agriculture Ministry had reportedly recommended higher hikes than those suggested by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, officials said. While the CACP had suggested a Rs-200 hike per quintal in the price of arhar dal, the ministry had asked for a hike of more than Rs 200 hike per quintal. The CACP had also proposed an increase of Rs 150 per quintal in the MSPs of both moong and urad dal. In June 2015, the MSPs for the arhar and urad varieties of dal were increased by Rs 275 per quintal, and that of moong was upped by Rs 250 per quintal.