(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Doubling Farmers Income
Doubling Farmers Income
Agriculture is very important for Indian economy and society both. It is the
means of livelihood for half of the population, if we also count in the
ancillary activities. Apart from meeting the food security requirements of the
country as well as providing additional produce for export, it also provides
most of the raw material for the industry sectors. According to the Socio-
Economics and Caste Census, SECC in 2011,
out of 24.39 crore households in the country, 17.9 million households live in
villages and are mostly dependent on agriculture.
Shri Narendra Modi is the first Prime Minister of the country whose economic
policy has the farmer at its core. Until now, our economic policies revolved
around agriculture and industrial production rather than the farmer as the focal
point. Prime Minister has declared the goal of doubling the farmer’s income
instead of increasing the agriculture production. With the increase in farmer’s
income, the society around him will be benefited first. The announcement of the
Prime Minister should not be considered merely as a government announcement.
Prime minister is the head of the country and his declaration should be taken as
a national resolution. In fulfilling this resolution, not only should our entire
government system be mobilized but all the citizens of the country including the
farmers should be made partners. Prime Minister has made this announcement quite
some time back but it does not seem that we have been able to make any headway
in respect of farmer-centric agriculture.
This is the second time after independence when there is going to be a big
transformation in the system in respect to agriculture and farmers. Looking at
the current scenario of agriculture in India, 69% of the farmer families have
less land than one hectare land. 17% of the families have land between one to
two hectares. According to the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), 36
percent of the farmers are landless. Economic Survey of 2015-16 states that 48.9
percent of the total workforce population is contributing only 17 percent to GDP
(Gross Domestic Product ). And in the current financial year, the growth rate of
agriculture and allied sectors is expected at 2.1 percent.
The Prime Minister’s goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2022 is
commendable and full of challenges but not impossible. Before taking steps
towards the goal of doubling the income, it is essential to know the income of
the farmer in the current fiscal 2016-17, as according to the available NSSO
data for 2012-13, the average monthly income of the country’s farmer is Rs.
6426. In the resolution of doubling the earnings, it also needs to be clarified
whether we want to double the amount of the minimum income or actual income.
The life of the Indian farmer is full of uncertainties and plight. The crop
which remains intact after the onslaughts of rising costs, bad weather, pest
attacks, is his biggest hope. But the transmission from the fields to markets is
also not easy. Country to the expectations of farmers, the basic structure of
moneylenders, middlemen and government procurement centres is exploitative. It
serves the interest of middlemen rather than farmers and consumers. The Central
Government had sent a proposal to the State Governments in 2003 to implements
the Model APMC Act. Its objective was to do away with the regulations and
control of mandis, assist in direct purchasing, eliminate the nexus of local
traders in the market, and infuse competition and investment in agriculture
The Ministry issued a Model Marketing Act on 24t h April, 2017, which was
named “Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing(Facilitation and Promotion
Act 2017)”. After adoption by the states, this Act will provide diverse
marketing channels and the APMC’s monopoly. Its purpose is to increase
competition and provide options to farmers so that they can take advantage of
the competitive price of their produce. In such a situation, the reform in the
agricultural marketing system would provide increased purchase price to the
farmers. Along with reforming the domestic marketing system, there is a need to
set right the import-export policy as the changes brought about in policies
after liberalization have neglected the interests of the farmers of the country.
Therefore, during the harvesting of the crops, such agriculture commodities
should not be imported and it should also be ensured that they should not be
imported at the prices below minimum support price declared by the government.
Apart from this, agriculture exports should also be promoted so that the price
of agriculture commodities will not go down in the local markets and farmers
will continue to get remunerative prices.
As regards crop productivity, by 2030, the population of india is estimated
to touch 150 crore mark and the requirement of food grains will reach 35 crore
tonnes. Therefore, it is necessary to increase yield per hectare. As compared to
the year 1950, the crop productivity in India has improved significantly. But in
comparison to the international level, it is found that there is widespread
possibility of increasing the
average yield of major crops in the country.
The government gives subsidies on fertilizers, irrigation and electricity
directly to increase crop yields.Banks and other institutions help farmers by
giving subsidy indirectly in the form of cheap loans or reduced interest rates.
The subsidy of fertilizers alone has increased five times in the last ten years.
It has increased from Rs 12,995 crore in 2001-02 to Rs 67,971 crore in 2014. The
government has made a provision of Rs 73,000 crore as subsidy in the budget for
2015-16 which is 0.5 per cent of the total GDP. Subsidy to the tune of about Rs
15,000 crore is also given on the interest of the banks.
Apart from agriculture, the importance of animal husbandry can be understood
from the fact that in the gross domestic agriculture production, the
contribution of animal husbandry is 28-30% and in the average monthly income of
farmers, it is 11.9% which is commendable. There are 86 percent small and
marginal farmers in the country who hold thirty per cent of the total land.
Seventy per cent of the farmers are involved in animal husbandry businesses who
possess around 80 per cent of the total livestock. It is noticeable that for
landless farmers, who do not have resources to grow crops and raise big cattle,
small animals such as sheep, goats, pigs and poultry etc.are the means of
livelihood and dealing with poverty. If people show more interest in animal
husbandry and take advantage of the positive initiative of the government, their
income will definitely increase. Recently the Central Government has launched
schemes viz. “Rashtriya Gokul Mission” and “Kamdhenu Prajanan Kendras” for the
conservation and development of the indigenous breeds of cow. This will lead to
the development of indigenous breeds and production of high quality A2 milk in
view of climate change.
The rising populations in the country and fields getting smaller have become
a curse for the farming families. As per the Indian agriculture situation, for
livelihood of a farming family less than two hectare land and more than ten
hectare land to maintain optimum productivity per hectare land to considered to
be non-profitable whereas today, almost 70 per cent of the farmland is less than
one hectare in the country.
Therefore, it is almost important to increase the size of the farmland and
reduce the burden of the population dependent on the farm to boost the income of
farmers and make their livelihood better. Therefore, the NITI Aayog has prepared
the “Model Agriculture Land Leasing Act 2016”. The Government believes that it
will lead to lessen the burden of population on farming, increase productivity,
equality and help in reducing poverty. Due to the land lease system getting
legalized, the fear among landowners of losing ownership on the leased land will
be over. The lessee will also be able to get easily all the facilities available
for farming including the government’s crop loan, crop insurance. The workforce
involved in farming would get the opportunity to shift the non-agricultural
sector. National Skill Development Council has also set a target of decreasing
the number of the workforce in agriculture from 57% to 38% by 2022 i.e. about
20% people will have to find employment avenues in non-agricultural sector.
Conventional farming system would reduce the subsidy given in the name of
fertilizers and food security and thus reduce the fiscal deficit. this will
further reduce the expenditure on health and control inflation too. Besides
government efforts, the farmers have to set up, in addition to biological or
high quality production, value addition activities and marketing network to
reform their economic condition. I know many farmers, farmers' productivity
confederations, co-operatives and non-government organizations who, according to
their economic status, geographical conditions have introduced innovations in
farming methods, created value additions and set up local distribution mechanism
to sell and purchase directly with rural and urban consumers. Jaivir Singh (MSc
Agriculture) of Sehra Village(Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh) is a well-educated
and enlightened farmer. He has reduced the cost of farming to half. He has
increased the fertility of soil and reduced the consumption of water to half. He
has adopted crop planning i.e. which crop is to be shown in what acreage of
land. He has also opted for inter cropping i.e. mixed crop farming which, along
with the production of many crops, has also reduced the risk of farming. He has
also increased the yield per hectare to one and a half times more as compared to
the normal yield. Another outstanding fact is that he also provides training to
the farmers around them.