The Doubling Farmers' Income Committee has had the farmers' income into its core deliberations and incorporated it as the fulcrum of its strategy. Recently, a High Powered Committee of Chief Ministers for 'Transformation of Indian Agriculture’ has been constituted and two meetings of the Committee have been held on 18th July 2019 and 16th August 2019 to deliberate and firm up their report.

At present the Government is implementing various schemes and adopting policy measures to synchronize with higher gains for the farmers:

I. For Higher Production through Productivity Gains:

  • National Food Security Mission (NFSM)- for cereals, pulses, oilseeds, nutri-rich cereals, commercial crops.
  • Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) for high growth rate of horticulture crops.
  • National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) launched in 2014-15 for increasing production of oilseeds and Oil palm.

II. For Reduction In Cost of Cultivation:

  • Soil Health Card (SHC) to ensure judicious and optimal use of fertilizer application thus saving the input cost for farmers.
  • Neem Coated Urea (NCU) is being promoted to regulate the use of urea, enhance availability of nitrogen to the crop and reduce cost of superfluous fertilizer application.
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) micro irrigation component (1.2 million ha/yr target) with the motto of 'Har Khet Ko Paani' for providing end-to-end solutions irrigation supply chain, comprising water sources, distribution network and farm level applications.

III. For Providing Assistance to Small and Marginal Farmers

  • Government of India has launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KI5AN) scheme with an aim to provide assistance to small and marginal farmer families with an amount of Rs. 6000/- per year. The scheme initially covered only small and marginal farmer families with land holding up to 2 hectares as beneficiaries, subject to certain exclusion criteria for higher income status but now the Union Government has extended the scheme to all farmer families irrespective of land holding size, subject to applicable exclusions. State Government and UT Administration identify the farmer families who are eligible for support as per scheme guidelines.
  • The fund will be directly transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. Till date, PM KISAN has over 6.37 crore beneficiaries and Rs. 20,520 crores have been transferred as direct benefit to farmer families.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojna

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojna (PM-KMY) has been launched which provides for a payment of a minimum pension of Rs. 3000/- per month to eligible small and marginal farmers on attaining the age of 60 years. It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme, with entry age of 18 to 40 years. The monthly contribution by farmers ranges between Rs. 55 to 200 depending on their age. Central Government will contribute an equal amount in this contributory pension scheme.

IV. To Ensure Remunerative Returns:

  • National Agriculture Market Scheme (e-NAM) is an innovative market process to revolutionize agri-markets by ensuring real-time better price discovery, bringing in transparency and competition to enable farmers to get improved remuneration for their produce, moving towards 'One Nation One Market'.
  • Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) have been on-boarded on e-NAM portal and they have started uploading their produce for trading from their premise.
  • The Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017 has been released on the 24th of April, 2017 for its adoption by States/UTs, to promote alternative competitive marketing channels for better pricing for farmers and to encourage private investment in developing efficient marketing infrastructure and value chain.
  • The provisions under the Act include setting up of private markets, direct marketing, farmer-consumer markets, special commodity markets and declaring warehouses/silos/cold storages or such structures as market sub yards.
  • Existing 22,000 rural haats to be developed and upgraded into Gramin Agricultural Markets
  • (GrAMs). These GrAMs, electronically linked to e-NAM portal and exempted from regulations of Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) will provide farmers, the facility to make direct sales to consumers and bulk purchasers.Warehousing and post-harvest loans at concessional rate of interest so as to discourage distress sale by farmers and to encourage them to store their produce in warehouses against negotiable receipts.
  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) is notified by the Government for certain crops periodically.
  • Giving a major boost for the farmers' income, the Government has recently approved the increase in the MSP for Kharif crops for 2019-20 season.
  • Procurement of oilseeds, pulses and cotton are undertaken by central agencies at MSP under
  • Price Support Scheme (PSS) at the request of the State Government concerned.
  • Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for procurement of agriculture and horticulture products, which are perishable in nature and are not covered under PSS.

V. For Risk Management and Sustainable Practices

  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWCIS) provides insurance cover at all stages of the crop cycle including post-harvest risks in specified instances and available to the farmers at very low rates of premium.
  • Government provides total interest subvention up to 5 per cent (inclusive of 3 per cent prompt repayment incentive) on short-term crop loans up to Rs. 3.00 lakh. Thus, loan is available to farmers at a reduced rate of 4 per cent per annum on prompt repayment.
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) is being implemented with a view to promote organic farming in the country. This will improve soil health and organic matter content and increase net income of the farmer so as to realize premium prices.
  • Mission Organic Farming in North- East- MoVCD (NE) for realizing the potential of organic farming in the North Eastern Region of the country

VI. Allied Activities:

  • 'Har Medh Par Ped' launched during 2016-17 to encourage tree plantation on farmland along with crops/ cropping system. Implementation of the Scheme has been started in the states were liberalized transit regulations for transport of timber have been notified. Agro forestry will not only help in increasing soil organic carbon but also in creating additional source of income to farmers.
  • National Bamboo Mission has been announced in the Union Budget 2018-19 for value chain based holistic development of this sector as a supplement to farm income.
  • Bee-Keeping has been promoted under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) to increase the productivity of crops through pollination, and increase the honey production as an additional income to the farmers.
  • For dairy development, there are three important schemes: National Dairy Plan-1 (NDP-1), National Dairy Development Program (NPDD) and Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme.
  • Foreseeing high potential in fisheries sector, a Blue Revolution with multi dimensional activities mainly focusing on fisheries production, both inland and marine is being implemented.
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission launched in December 2014 for gene pool of indigenous cattle and buffaloes.
  • National Livestock Mission launched in 2014-15 to ensure intensive development of livestock especially small livestock (sheep/goat, poultry, etc.) along with adequate availability of quality feed and fodder.

Way forward

  • A farmers' income is a basket of earning from agriculture (including horticulture), allied activities like dairy, livestock, poultry, fishery etc. and ancillary activities like beekeeping etc. Apart from these farm incomes, he also earns from other activities like wage labour, off-farm activities etc. Earnings from agriculture constitute the principal source of income of a farmer. It is hoped that the answer to agrarian challenges and realization of the aim of farmers' welfare lies in higher and steady incomes.
  • Notwithstanding the many faces of challenges, India's agriculture has demonstrated remarkable progress. Henceforth both production and marketing shall move forward together hand in hand, unlike in the past when their role was thought to be sequential.

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