Odisha government Monday decided to procure 55 lakh metric tonne (LMT) of paddy from farmers during kharif marketing season (KMS) 2018-19 beginning October 1. A proposal in this regard was approved at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.
"The Cabinet has approved the Food and Procurement Policy for KMS 2018-19. A tentative target of 37 lakh metric tonne in terms of rice has been fixed. In terms of paddy this comes to around 55 lakh metric tonne," chief secretary A P Padhi told reporters.
Padhi, however, said that there is no bar for procurement of any higher quantum if more paddy comes to the mandi from registered farmers. He said Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister has been authorized to revise this target if the need so arises. In KMS 2017-18, paddy to the tune of 49.06 LMT was procured (both kharif and rabi). In terms of rice it comes to 33.21 LMT, the chief secretary said.
Padhi said that paddy will be procured from the farmers who are registered in the online portal of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department. The farmers will have to provide plot details for their registration.
The plot details will be verified by integration with the Bhulekh database maintained by the Revenue and Disaster Management department, he said.
The procuring societies PACS (Primary Agricultural Credit Society) and Large Area Adivasi Multipurpose Co-operative Society (LAMPCS) shall endeavor to bring more and more small and marginal farmers and actual tillers including sharecroppers into the procurement fold so that they receive the benefit of MSP, he said.
Padhi also said that the Cabinet has decided to waive the past practice of deducting towards personal consumption requirement of three quintals of paddy per member in the family of the farmer for computation of marketable surplus of paddy from KMS 2018-19. This will facilitate the entry of more small and marginal farmers and actual tillers of soil including sharecroppers into the procurement fold, he said.
The chief secretary said that the paddy will be procured as per the Minimum Support Price (MSP) as announced by the Centre. While the common variety paddy will be procured at Rs 1750 per quintal, the Grade- A variety paddy would be procured at Rs 1770 per quintal.
Padhi said the paddy to be procured must conform to the fair average quality (FAQ) specifications by the Centre.
The procuring agencies/district administration shall make wide publicity regarding FAQ quality of paddy. Similarly, rice to be delivered by custom millers must conform to FAQ norm.
"Besides, the purchase of FAQ paddy at prices below MSP shall be punishable under the Essential Commodities Act- 1955, he said, adding that wide publicity will be made for the farmers to bring FAQ paddy to procurement centres. The paddy will be procured by the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) from all the districts and if necessary, other state agencies will be deployed in rice-surplus districts only.
The OSCSC and other agencies shall procure paddy through PACS, LAMPCS, Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) and Pani Panchayats, while emphasis will be given for the opening of the adequate number of Paddy Purchase Centers (Mandis) by the societies on behalf of procuring agencies.
The payment of farmers dues on account of paddy sold to the government shall be transferred directly to their bank accounts through online mode, Padhi said adding that all such payments shall be made within 24 to 72 hours of their sale of paddy.