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Farmers' Income Has Increased By a "Marginal" Amount In Last Five Years

Farmers' income has barely increased little in the five years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to double it.

Chintu Das
Farmer's Income
Farmer's Income

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in 2017 that his government's goal was to double farmers' income by 2022. In 2021, Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated that the Narendra Modi government's top aim was to double farmers' income, and that the three central farm laws will assure massive increases in their profits. Farmers' income has increased by a "marginal" amount in five years, far from "doubling."

"When we talk about doubling farmers' income, we're talking about real income, which is adjusted for inflation. According to NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) statistics, farmers' actual income in 2013-14 was predicted to be Rs 6,426. In its most recent study, conducted in 2021, the statistics reached Rs 10,218. In five years, it would be a 59 percent rise," said Ramandeep Singh Mann, a farmer activist from Punjab while speaking to Outlook.

However, Jharkhanday Singh Yadav, a farmer from Ghazipur, says that despite a'marginal increase' in income, the high inflation rate has brought earnings back to 2017 levels.

"Rising diesel and petrol costs have pushed up the cost of farming-related operations. "The government allowance of 2,000 rupees to farmers is not very advantageous because it does not even cover our water and energy bills," he told Outlook, adding, "Our power bill has gone double-fold in the previous couple of years, along with the cost of fertilisers."

In 2017, when speaking at the World Food India 2017 inaugural event, Modi stated that farmers were at the forefront of food processing activities, and that the government had created the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana to build a world-class food processing infrastructure.

"We have a declared goal of doubling the farmers' income in five years," he remarked. To build a world-class food processing infrastructure, we established the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana. Over the next three years, this will leverage a $5 billion investment, benefiting 2 million farmers and creating more than half a million employment."

In April 2016, the government formed an inter-ministerial group to look at concerns around the doubling of farmers' income. In September 2018, the Committee presented the government with its report, which included a roadmap for doubling farmers' income by 2022. To meet the aim, agricultural income must rise at a rate of 10.4% at unchanged base-year prices, according to the Committee.

"On the ground, though, nothing has changed. It's another trick of playing to the gallery, like his promise of 15 lakh employment," Singh added.

Ramesh Chand, a member of the Niti Aayog, said in May 2016 that if the three new farm laws are not implemented immediately, the government's goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022 will not be met, and that protesting farm unions should consider the government's offer to discuss the legislation clause by clause.

According to Ramesh, another Ghazipur farmer, the government's policy of distributing 3 months' ration to the needy is raising demand, which means the crop is now more secure. He also believes that enforcing farm laws would have enhanced farmers' earnings.

"Whether there are farm laws or not, the cartel of sahukars (lenders) stays the same," Yadav added.

"In the mandis, government officials fraudulently highlight our items' inferior quality and pay us less than the MSP," he continued. Small farmers who can only sell four to five sacks would be forced to sell to sahukars, who will pay us less, if agricultural rules were enacted. Because multinationals are unable to approach small farmers directly, the sahukar cartel has grown. If we challenge government officials at the mandi, on the other hand, they would deny us our turns and force us to approach sahukars, therefore we must follow their rules."

After a year of protests by farmers, the government overturned the three controversial laws in November 2021. On December 9, the administration informed protesting farmers and farmers' unions that a committee would be constituted to integrate the inclusion of MSP and other requests.

"It's February, and nothing has been done about it." I provided a list of names of farmers' representatives to the committee during our previous meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), but we have yet to hear back from them. As a result, MSP demonstrations will continue to be sporadic," Ramandeep remarked.

Farmers and activists claim that there is a lot of corruption when it comes to enforcing rules and regulations in order to increase farmers' revenue, although this seems like a long way off.

Source: Outlook India

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