Modi Govt’s Farm Sops: Too Little, Too Late?
Should The Indian Farmer Be Happy With The Latest Round Of Sops Announced By The Modi Government?
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The widespread feeling is that the move, though well-intentioned, may be too little, too less.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal, officiating for Arun Jaitley, said: “Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each. This programme will be funded by the Government of India."
“Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this. The programme would be made effective from 1st December 2018 and the first instalment for the period upto 31st March 2019 would be paid during this year itself. This programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs.75,000 crore."
Industry welcomed the move.
CII President Rakesh Bharti Mittal said: “It provides an impetus to the farm sector, though more can be done for the sector in July (when a full-fledged budget is presented)."
KC Ravi of Syngenta India Limited added: “The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PMKISAN) scheme to support small and marginal farmers through an assured income support of Rs 6000 is a significant step and would hopefully ease the burden of the small and marginal farmers to access quality inputs to increase their productivity and income. Another important problem of the farming community has been the relentless cycle of Droughts, Floods and El Nino and the interest subvention scheme announced would hopefully redress their problems to a great extent. A long-term plan to accelerate infusion of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digitization of villages would hopefully spur agricultural growth.”
It’s widely believed that the move to transfer Rs 6000 to farmers’ accounts is inspired by Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu.
Under Rythu Bandhu, farmers, irrespective of their land holding get Rs 8,000 per acre annually, at the rate of Rs 4,000 per acre per crop.
By that yardstick, the Central government provision is not enough, and preliminary reports coming in from various parts of the country suggest that the government move is too little, too less.
Also, the move completely disregards agricultural tenants and labourers.