25 JULY 2022
It has been 5 years since the announcement of doubling the income of farmers by the central government. The government’s claim seems hollow, as it has not even utilized the funds allocated for agriculture schemes in 3 out of the last 5 years.
On 28 February 2016, the central government announced that farmers’ income would be doubled by 2022-23. But the income of the farmer was not declared. This makes it impossible to know whether the income of farmers has doubled.
An allocation of Rs 1 lakh 5 thousand crore has been made for 17 schemes of agriculture in 2022-23, which was less than the budget of 2019-20. The actual expenditure in 2019-20 was 29 per cent less than the allocated amount. In 2020-21, 18 percent amount was not utilized. The actual expenditure for 2017-18 was also 4 per cent less than the budget.
According to the latest Situation Assessment Survey released by the National Statistical Office, 31.6 million households received agricultural installments in December-March 2018-19, which is only 33 percent of the country’s 93.09 million agricultural households in 2018-19. There are 107.6 million landholders.
The average annual income of an agricultural family in India is around Rs. 1,20,000. In which Rs. 6,000 has increased. If we consider inflation in this, the income of the farmers has decreased instead of increasing.
The crop insurance scheme covers 46 percent of agricultural households (43 million).
According to the NSO, about 54 per cent of rural households were engaged in agriculture in 2018-19, which is down from 57.8 per cent in 2012-13.
The monthly income of a farmer family has increased from Rs 6,426 in 2012-13 to Rs 10,218 in 2018-19. In which the share of income from agriculture has decreased.
The cost of cultivation in six years has increased from Rs 2,192 per month in 2012-13 to Rs 2,959 in 2018-19.
More than half of the households in the country are in debt. The average loan amount has also increased from Rs 47,000 in 2012-13 to Rs 74,131 in 2018-19.
Land fragmentation is another challenge. Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, the share of marginal agricultural households with less than 1 hectare of land increased from 69.44 per cent to 70.44 per cent.
The share of farmer owners increased from 1.01 hectares to 10 hectares to 30.52 per cent. It has come down to 29.2%. The share of rich farmers has remained stable at 0.4 per cent.
Increase in subsidy assistance to the farmer and 50 percent increase in the minimum support price over the cost of production.
The life of the farmers is not improving. There has been an increase in the intensity of farmers’ protests and protests in the last five years. 165 The widespread reasons behind the protests in the country were crop loss, demand for fair prices and forced acquisition of agricultural land for development projects. More than 50 percent of the protests in 2020 were against the economic and agricultural policies of the central and state governments.
The second most common reason for protest was purchase and price (23 per cent), while land acquisition was the third (10 per cent). Insurance, loan waivers and poor agricultural infrastructure were other reasons.
Farmer suicides are not decreasing. In 2020, 5,579 farmers committed suicide. In 2019, 5,957 farmers committed suicide. In 2018, 5,763 committed suicide. In 2017, 5,955 farmers committed suicide. In 2016, 6,270 farmers committed suicide. 45,000 farmers have committed suicide in 8 years. It is estimated that 1 lakh farmers have left the world in 8 years due to suppression of government statistics.
The solution lies in the macro-economics of the agricultural sector. The only solution is to bring a law making subsistence wages compulsory for farmers. Ensuring a living wage will help. This will also reduce the problem of malnutrition.
There is a need to change the Minimum Support Price (MSP) rules to increase the profits of the farmers. A mobile phone application for plantation and damage is a solution to be developed by each state government to fix a minimum price and to provide information or problems to farmers. The farmers and citizens of the country will be happy only when the production increases. The poor cannot buy enough food grains from their present income.