‘We will not discontinue Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna in Chhattisgarh’: CM Bhupesh Baghel
After the central government decided to purchase 24 lakh (MT) of paddy rice from the Chhattisgarh government on Sunday, the state government claims that the Center has not fulfilled its commitment to purchase 60 lakh (MT) of food grain.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, in an interview, said that the BJP state unit is misleading the Center by informing them that the state is purchasing rice at Rs 2,500 per quintal, not at MSP. Baghel said that the congressional government is giving more money under a different scheme and there is an attempt to hinder Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna from the state government, under which the state government is giving 10,000 rupees per acre to sugarcane farmers. sugar, rice and corn from the state.
The Center’s decision on Sunday has given the congressional-led government a political weapon to attack the BJP saying this shows that the Center is not interested in the well-being of farmers and the guarantee of a minimum price of support.
Q. What is all this procurement problem? The central government is saying that it will acquire only 24 lakh (MT), but the Chhattisgarh government has claimed that the central government agreed to 60 lakh (MT) earlier. What is your stand?
TO. See, the Center initially agreed to purchase 60 lakh (MT) of rice from the Chhattisgarh government, but on Sunday they said they would buy 24 lakh (MT). I think the Center has been misinformed … … The problem is the feedback provided by the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Center, especially Raman Singh ji, who says that the government is procuring rice at Rs 2500 per quintal, which is not correct…. We purchased rice in the state with the Minimum Sustenance Price (MSP) last year and even this year as well. Although, in the first year of the congressional government, we purchased at Rs 2,500 per quintal, but the Center had said that the state government cannot give a bonus, so we stopped. Our point is that the central government is giving Kisan Samman Nidhi and in the same way we started the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna… What is the problem in that?
Q. Now since the Center has restricted procurement to only 24 lakh (MT), will it affect Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna from the state?
TO. Look, these people (Center) say that under Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna, if something is given to farmers, it will be considered a bonus. My question is how would you define something as a bonus? If the rice was bought for 2500 rupees, it will be included in the bonus, but when Raman Singh gave a bonus of 300 rupees per quintal, what was that? We were told to purchase from MSP only and you can check the record from the last two years that we are purchasing rice from MSP only.
Q. So are you saying that this is an attempt to hinder the continuation of the Kisan Nyay Yojna state?
A. Yes, that is exactly what it is. In Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna, the state government is giving 10,000 rupees per acre to sugarcane, rice and corn farmers. The money is delivered in installments. So how did this money turn into ‘bonus’? On the one hand, the central government is giving Kisan Samman Nidhi, which is not included in the bond, but when we give money to farmers, will it be treated as a bond? Second, the central government agreed to purchase 24 lakh (MT) of rice, which means that they have accepted that we are not giving any bonuses. Otherwise, we would not have been allowed to deposit a single grain with FCI.
Q. So basically you are claiming that the Center is trying to stop the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Scheme? So how will you solve this problem with the Center?
TO. They are trying to stop the plan, but we are firm about it … You see, the state government has its own plan, we have started a plan under the directives and rules of the Union Government only. Many states have also started similar schemes… We believe that everything can be solved through communication and we are continuously talking about this issue with the central government.
Q. Who is the state government negotiating with?
TO. Yesterday we spoke with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Food. I thanked the Prime Minister and said that the Center had acquired 24 lakh MT, but the commitment was 60 lakh (MT) and required the remainder of the purchase. The prime minister said he will study the matter. Similarly, I also spoke to the Minister of Food who claimed that the Chhattisgarh government is giving incentives, I told him that the state government is not giving any incentive but is giving money to farmers as it is giving under the Kisan Samman Nidhi.
Q. Does it mean that Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna will continue under any circumstances?
TO. Yes, it is not about throwing it away. The Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna is a separate scheme initiated by the state government and the acquisition of rice under the MSP is a different scheme. All we are saying is that we will explain our plan to the central government and clear up a misunderstanding, if any.