‘We will not discontinue Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna in Chhattisgarh’: CM Bhupesh Baghel
After the Central government decided to procure 24 lakh (MT) paddy from the Chhattisgarh government on Sunday, the state government is claiming that the Centre has not followed its commitment to procure 60 lakh (MT) of the food grain.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, in an interview, said the state unit of BJP is misleading the Centre by informing them that the state is procuring paddy at Rs 2500 per quintal not on MSP. Baghel said that the Congress government is giving more money under a different scheme and there is an attempt to hamper the state government’s Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna, under which the state government is giving Rs 10,000 per acre to sugarcane, paddy and maize farmers of the state.
The Centre’s decision on Sunday has given the Congress-led government a political weapon to target the BJP saying this shows that the Centre is not keen about the welfare of farmers and the minimum support price assurance.
Q. What is this whole procurement issue? The Central Government is saying that they will procure only 24 lakh (MT) but Chhattisgarh government has claimed that the Central government agreed for 60 lakh (MT) earlier? What is your stand?
A. See, initially, the Centre agreed for 60 lakh (MT) procurement of paddy from the Chhattisgarh government but on Sunday they said that they will procure 24 lakh (MT). I believe, the Centre has been misinformed...…The issue is the feedback given by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) state unit to the Centre , especially Raman Singh ji, who is saying that the government is procuring paddy at Rs 2500 per quintal, which is not correct …. We procured paddy in the state on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) last year and even this year also. Although, in the first year of the Congress government we procured at Rs 2500 per quintal but the Centre had then said the state government cannot give a bonus hence 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 Centre has restricted the procurement to only 24 lakh (MT) will it affect the state’s Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna?
A. See, these people (Centre) say that under the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna, if anything is given to the farmers it will be considered as bonus. My question is how will you define anything as bonus? If paddy was purchased for Rs 2500, it will come under bonus but when Raman Singh had given a bonus of Rs 300 per quintal what was that? We were told to procure only on MSP and you can check the record of last two years that we are procuring paddy on MSP only.
Q. So are you saying that this is an attempt to hamper the continuation of the state’s Kisan Nyay Yojna?
A. Yes, that’s exactly what it is. In the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna, the state government is giving Rs 10,000 per acre to sugarcane, paddy and maize farmers. The money is given in installments. So how did this money became ‘bonus’? On one hand, the Central government is giving Kisan Samman Nidhi, which does not comes under bonus but when we give money to farmers it will be treated as bonus? Secondly, the central government agreed to procure 24 lakh (MT) of paddy, which means they have accepted that we are not giving any bonus. Otherwise we would not have been allowed to deposit a single grain in FCI.
Q. So basically you are alleging that the Centre is trying to stop the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Scheme? Then how will you resolve this issue with the Centre?
A. They are trying to stop the scheme but we are firm about it…See, the state government has its own scheme, we have started a scheme under the directives and rules of the Union Government only. Many states have also started similar schemes …We believe that everything can be resolved through communication and are continuously talking over this issue with the Central government.
Q. With whom is the state government negotiating?
A. We talked to the Prime Minister and Food Minister yesterday. I thanked the Prime Minister and said that the Centre has procured 24 lakh MT but the commitment was of 60 lakh (MT) and demanded the rest of the procurement. The PM said that he will look into the matter. Similarly, I also spoke to the Food Minister, who claimed that the Chhattisgarh government is giving incentives, I told him the state government is not giving any incentives but is giving money to farmers as you are giving under the Kisan Samman Nidhi.
Q. It means that you will continue the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna under any circumstance?
A. Yes, there is no question of scrapping it. The Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna is a separate scheme started by the state government and paddy procurement under MSP is a different scheme. All we are saying is that we will explain to the Central government about our scheme and clear a misunderstanding if any.