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Centre approves hike in MSP for 14 crops in relief to farmers

 New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a meeting of the Union cabinet as India enters Day 1 of the Centre’s three-phased unlocking plan. The meeting assumes significance as it is the first after the central government completed a year of its second term in office.

The definition of the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector has been changed once again — turnover limit for medium enterprises have been revised upward to Rs 250 crore from Rs 100 crore as announced earlier.

Union Minister Narendra Tomar, one of the leaders who addressed a press briefing on the decision taken at the meeting, said, “Minimum support prices (MSP) for 14 kharif crops have been increased by 50%-83% to provide relief to the farmers.”

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government has taken key steps to boost MSMEs and Rs 20,000 crore has been infused into the sector. “The Cabinet today has approved Rs 20,000 crore subordinate debt for stressed MSMEs, this will benefit 2 lakh stressed MSMEs,” he added.

Sources earlier said a decision could also be taken to bring in a new law instead of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act. An ordinance is likely to be brought in to enforce the law. Also, provisions could be made to facilitate easy inter-state travel for farmers to sell their produce.

The nationwide lockdown that PM Modi had first announced on March 24 was slated to end on May 17. Modi had on March 24 announced the nationwide lockdown for 21 days. On May 14, the government extended the lockdown till May 31.

On May 1, the MHA further extended the lockdown period to two weeks beyond May 4, with some relaxations. The Central government had also announced Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to combat Covid-19.