The central government on Wednesday raised the minimum support price for paddy to Rs 1,940 per quintal for the 2021-’22 crop year. The increase is under 4% when compared to last year’s price of Rs 1,868.

The MSP is the rate at which the government buys farm produce and is based on a calculation of at least one and a half times the cost of production incurred by farmers. Market rates for many crops are usually well below MSPs.

The Union Cabinet also approved the increase in rates of other kharif crops. The highest absolute increase in price was for sesamum, whose MSP rose 6.6% to Rs 7,307 per quintal. The prices of tur and urad have been increased by Rs 300 to stand at Rs 6,300 a quintal.

“MSP [on farm crops] is there, is being hiked and will continue in future as well,” Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters after a Cabinet meeting, PTI reported.

His comments come at a time when thousands of farmers have been protesting outside Delhi for more than six months, demanding the repeal of three new agricultural laws. The farmers have also asked that MSPs be given a legal guarantee.

Talks between farmers groups and the central government to resolve the protests had come to a complete deadlock after unions rejected the Centre’s offer to suspend the laws for two years. The last time both sides met was on January 22. Since then, most farmer leaders have said they were willing to speak to the government again.

On Wednesday, Tomar said that the Modi government is ready to resume talks but the farm unions should point out their objections to the provisions of the farm laws with “sound logic”. “We will listen and find a solution,” he added.