THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 5 December 2018 (A new deal for the farmer)

A new deal for the farmer

Mains Paper 5: Economy
Prelims level: KCC, Panni Panchayat
Mains level: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices


  •  According to Census 2011, 54.6 per cent of India’s workforce was engaged in agriculture.
  •  However, the sector contributes less than 17 per cent of the GDP.
  •  The policies of successive governments have failed to correct this imbalance.
  •  A report prepared by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, released in March 2018, based on a survey of 5,000 farm households across 18 states, revealed that 76 per cent farmers would prefer to do some other work than farming.
  •  It says that only 10 per cent of the poor and small farmers with average land holding of 1-4 acres have benefited from government schemes and subsidies.
  •  Seventy per cent of those interviewed alleged they did not get any information or advice regarding farm practices from agriculture department officials.

Analysing the survey

  •  The survey shows that 62 per cent of interviewed farmers were unaware of the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
  •  Seventy per cent had not heard about the Direct Cash Transfer scheme.
  •  The Indian farmer needs immediate help. Any further delay will only increase his suffering and lead to greater unrest.
  •  Farmers must receive expert advice by trained officials at their doorstep at the beginning of every crop season regarding all issues like which crops to sow, technology, market prices, soil fertility, irrigation
  •  Agricultural extension services are almost non-existent today.
  •  Trade bans on agricultural exports must be removed, since such restrictive policies keep domestic prices low, harming farmers’ interests.
  •  Farmers should have free access to global markets, as it will help augment incomes.
  •  As for domestic trade, all restrictions on inter-district and inter-state movement should be removed.
  •  Every farmer family must have a Kisan Credit Card (KCC).
  •  According to the NABARD, the cumulative number of KCCs issued since inception till March 31, 2015, is 14.64 crore of which operative/live KCCs are 7.41-crore.

How it can be improved?

  •  According to the Standing Committee on Rural Development, only 10 per cent of the projects taken up under the watershed development component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) have been completed so far.
  •  Rainwater harvesting should be incorporated in irrigation projects, owing to its magnificent untapped potential.
  •  The establishment of micro, small and medium irrigation projects like tubewells and check dams, instead of big irrigation projects. Such projects should be financed entirely by the Centre.
  •  A “paani panchayat” should be established for every scheme, which will act as a specialised registered body responsible for the execution of irrigation projects.
  •  Every small and marginal farmer and every agricultural labourer above the age of 60 should receive a monthly pension of Rs 5,000.
  •  Fertiliser subsidies should be provided to the farmers via direct benefit transfer. A separate dedicated electricity line should be extended to all farmers by state governments in order to reduce their input costs and to ensure the regular supply of electricity to farms.

Way forward

  •  There should be a separate category of entrepreneurs under the Mudra Yojana who will set up processing and storage plants for agricultural units.
  •  All small and marginal farmer households, including tenant and sub-tenant farmers, should receive a basic income of Rs 6,000 per acre per crop season.
  •  The total financial burden of this scheme, likely to be Rs 1.84 lakh crore, could be distributed in the ratio of 70:30 between the Centre and the states.
  •  The financial burden on the Centre will thus be Rs 1.29 lakh crore, less than 1 per cent of the country’s GDP.
  •  The total expenditure budget of the Government of India in 2018-19 is Rs 24.42 lakh crore.
  •  There should be a one-time waiver of farmers’ loans up to Rs 2 lakh across India. All political parties should adopt this as a commitment in their manifestos in the coming Lok Sabha election.
  •  We have neglected the Indian farmer for 70 years; it is now time to make up.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) In the context of PM-SAMPADA Yojana, consider the following statements:
A. The Yojana aims to provide better returns to farmers and is a big step towards doubling of farmers
B. The Yojana will be implemented by Ministry of Agriculture.

Choose the correct option:
A. A only
B. B only
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A nor B

Answer: A

Mains Questions:
Q.1) Critically examine the role of MSP on Indian agriculture sector.