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Panel wants cash aid for drought-hit farmers

New Delhi, Sept 25: The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has recommended a cash support of Rs 20 per quintal for drought-hit farmers over and above the existing minimum support price.

The commission, which submitted its report to agriculture minister Ajit Singh today, has also recommended a rollback of fertiliser prices to pre-budget levels.

The CACP proposed a waiver of interest on loans taken by farmers in drought-affected areas this year.

Singh will now forward the report to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for a final decision. The minister had earlier asked the CACP to review its earlier finding that the MSP need not be hiked in the light of the erratic monsoon and higher costs being borne by farmers on account of wasted seeds bought, and higher irrigation charges.

“The report has suggested ways and means to compensate farmers, including a bonus on the already recommended minimum support prices (MSP) for kharif crops,” Singh said.

The commission has forecast a steep 18 per cent decline in foodgrain production this kharif season.

Other recommendations of the commission include provision of quality seeds and fertilisers to farmers at subsidised prices.

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