(GIST OF YOJANA) Farmer’s Welfare: Priority with Commitment [JULY-2018]

(GIST OF YOJANA) Farmer’s Welfare: Priority with Commitment


Farmer’s Welfare: Priority with Commitment

Millions of diligent farmers are the mainstay of Indian economy; however, their welfare remained a marginalized issue for long. But, the new and more sensitive Government at the Centre brought forward this socio economically important matter in the forefront in 2014. Since then, the new farmer's welfare centered approach to agricultural development is empowering the rural masses with higher income, employment and resultant prosperity. Further, the Prime Minister has given a clarion call to double farmers’ income by 2022 when India celebrates its 75th year of independence. In pursuance, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare devised a seven-point strategy which includes various critical and potential components for increasing the income of farmers. Raising production per unit of farm land with effective use of input cost; reduction of post-harvest losses and value additions; reforms in agriculture marketing with security cover on major risks; and a especial focus on promotion of various allied activities (horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries, bee keeping poultry and integrated farming) are key features of this strategy

Value Addition Facilities

Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana is another flagship programme which aims at welfare and prosperity of farmers by providing processing and value addition facilities along with marketing support. This scheme expected to benefit 20 lakh farmers and generate over 5 lakh direct/indirect employment by the year 2019-20
and III also leverage an investment 0f nearly R8. 31,400 crore. As an umbrella, the scheme is establishing and operationalising Mega Food Parks; expanding integrated Cold Chain and value addition infrastructure; expanding food processing and preservation capacities; developing infrastructure for agro-processing clusters; and also creating backward and forward linkages to benefit farmers. Government is encouraging and promoting the food processing sector by providing various tax incentives, allowing 100 per cent FDI and creating a special corpus in NABARD of Rs. 2,000 crore for providing easy loans to agri-processing units. A large number of farmers earn their livelihood by growing tomato, onion and potato which are core vegetables consumed across the country, across the you However, being perishable in nature the variability in seasonal and regional production often lead to distress among farmers and consumers both In this backdrop. Government has recently launched ‘Operation Greens on the lines of ‘Operation Flood’. With an allocation of Rs.500 crore. Under this scheme, agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management for marketing of these crops will be promoted to safeguard interest of farmers and consumers as well. In addition, export of agri-commodities is being liberalized to orient farmers towards export-centric farming.

Financing Farmers

Despite several banking reforms, generally farmers face many challenges in getting institutional credits for their farming needs. Hence, Government is steadily increasing the volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector, which was Rs.8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15, but now stands at Rs.11 lakh crore. Recently, the facility of Kisan Credit Cards was extended to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers also to help them meet their working capital needs. Besides, interest subvention for short-term crop loans, enhancement of collateral-free farm loans and promotion of Joint Liability Groups are some other notable initiative to ensure that all eligible farmers are provided with hassle-free and timely credit. Government has significantly enhanced allocation to National Cooperation Development Corporation for providing financial assistance to cooperative societies and its members. Government is also promoting Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and women self-help groups by incentivizing their activities for increasing income of associated small holders. FPOs established on the pattern of cooperatives and having annual transactions less than Rs.100 crore have been exempted from income tax.

Record allocation for record outcomes

  • Budgetary allocation: Significant rise from Rs. 1,21,082 crore during 2009-14 to Rs. 2,11,694 crore during 2014-19

  • Farm credit target: Raised to Rs. 11 lakh crore for 2018-19

  • A corpus of Rs. 10,000 crore to create infrastructure in fishery, aquaculture and animal husbandry sectors

  • Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund: A corpus of Rs. 2,000 crore for Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund set up

  • National Bamboo Mission: Rs. 1,290 crore to help setting up of small industries and create new employment opportunities in bamboo sector

  • Tax incentives: To promote post-harvest agricultural activities

Affordable credit for farmers

  • Under the Interest Subvention Scheme, short term crop loans upto Rs. 3 lakh are extended to farmers at an interest rate of 7% per annum for a period up to one year

  • 24.53 lakh Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) have been provided Rs. 26,848.13 crore loan by banks across the country as on 31‘t March, 2017

Unprecedented support to farmers with hike in MSP & record procurement

  • Farmers to get 1.5 times of the production cost as Minimum Support Price for Kharif crops

  • Extent of buffer stock of pulses increas: from 1 .5 lakh tonnes to 20 lakh tones

  • About 16.24 lakh metric tonnes of pulses procured (as on 22nd “March, 2018)

Towards Secured Livelihood

Various natural calamities, attack of pests and diseases and variable weather conditions pose a threat to income and livelihood of farmers, In order to protect farmers’ livelihood against such risks, a new and Improved Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister Crap Insurance Scheme) was launched in 2016 with a very low premium rate and wide coverage of crops. Farmers share in premium has been reduced to merely 1.5 per cent for rabi crops, 2 per cent for kharif crops and maximum 5 per cent for annual horticultural crops. Insurance cover has been extended to even post-harvest risks and losses up to 14 days. Inundation has been incorporated as a localized calamity for individual farmer level assessment. Use of remote sensing technology and IT tools have expedited payment of claims with enhanced accuracy and transparency. Equipped with farmer friendly provisions, Government intends to increase crop insurance penetration manifold by enhancing central budget allocation to the tune of Rs.13,000 crore for 2018-19.

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Integrated Farming Models

Integrated farming models or systems, which appropriately and synergically blend field crops with horticulture, animal husbandry and aquaculture, have potential to secure livelihood of farmers even during adverse conditions. Otherwise also this new farming approach increases profitability per unit of land and minimize: risk by assuring income from one or other farming component. Scientists have developed and validated 31 integrated farming models during the last four years, which are suitable for small and marginal farmers of different agro-ecological regions. Frontline Demonstrations are being conducted across the country to popularise these models at village level. Horticulture is the core component of most of these models, but is also being promoted on stand alone basis due to its vast potential for increasing income of farmers. The new Mission on Integrated Development of Horticulture is comprehensively supporting various components, such as mechanization in horticulture, development of cold chains and value chains, development and transfer of appropriate technologies and availability of quality planting materials. The new cluster approach in cultivation of horticulture crops has proved its advantage by developing the entire chain from production to marketing at one place.

Add-ons to Income

Acting on various technical reports, Government is focusing on various ancillary agricultural activities which have shown promise in adding income to farmers. Increased financial
allocations and establishment of Integrated Bee Keeping Development Centres have given a fresh impetus to honey production which touched a new height during the last four years.

A honey production enterprise, even at a small scale of only 50 boxes has potential to add Rs. 2.0 to 2.5 lakhs to the regular income of farmers. Similarly, Bamboo often referred to as “Green Gold” due to its enormous business potential, was struggling hard owing to its classification as tree even in non-forest areas. Government re-classified it as ‘Grass’ when grown outside forest areas making it free for cultivation, harvest, transport and its use as raw material for handicrafts. Recently, a re-structured National Bamboo Mission was launched with an outlay of Rs.1,290 crore to promote the bamboo sector in a holistic manner. Mushroom is another ‘crop’ with immense business potential due to its high demand and remunerative price in domestic and overseas markets.

Taking a path-breaking step, the Government is working on modalities to encourage farmers for using their fallow land to harvest solar energy. It will serve a dual purpose installation of solar pumps to irrigate their fields and supply of surplus power to grid for additional income. State Governments are being encouraged to put in place a mechanism for purchase of solar power by the distribution companies or licensees at reasonably remunerative rates. Government of India is sincerely pursuing its goal to double farmers' income by 2022 by placing in appropriate policies, feasible programs and matching budget allocations. But, to realize higher farm income from the same land, other stakeholders such as state governments, cooperatives, farmers’ organizations, related industries and farmers must work in unison and synergically in mission mode

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