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Modi’s Income Support to Farmers is No Match to Odisha, Telangana’s Agri Schemes: Experts

Agriculture industry has welcomed the government's ‘PM-KISAN’ scheme but said the amount provided to small farmers is lower than what is being offered by Odisha and Telangana governments.

In the interim budget 2019-20, which was presented on 1st February,  the Modi government announced transfer of Rs 6,000 /year to around 12 crore farmers with up to two hectare land, directly into their bank accounts from this fiscal itself.

Indian Council of Food and Agriculture Chairman, M J Khan welcomed the move and said, "The support amount announced is small and lower than the KALIA scheme of Odisha and the Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana, hence not much impact is expected."

Mr. Khan added that this was the only option available with the Centre to reach out to farmers in a short time before the election code of conduct comes into force. He also said that the amount transferred to farmers' accounts will be good for the party in power and will also boost the rural economy.

It must be noted that the Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu scheme provides Rs 10,000 / acre a year to all the cultivators, excluding tenant farmers whereas Odisha’s KALIA or Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation scheme offers direct benefit cash transfer of Rs 25,000 for a farmer family over 5 seasons to small and marginal farmers.

Stressing that proper implementation of PM-KISAN scheme is important to ensure benefits reaches to farmers, Rajesh Aggrawal, Managing Director of Insecticides India said the government should focus on strategising and the implementation of the policy.

Meanwhile, Ajay Kakra of PwC India said, PM-KISAN scheme is in the right course as the income can be useful to protect the small farmers from market and price variation and absorb the inflationary cost increments. He said around 72 % farmers are in this group and are likely to increase to 90 % by 2025.

Simon George, President or Cargill India said, "We are mainly hopeful about the central government sponsored PM-KISAN scheme, Direct Benefit Transfers to small farmers. Though, a lot more can be done, a good move that will help cultivators align better with market." He said many more schemes including market reforms like executing model APMC act, Essential Commodity Act etc. are required to attain the objective of doubling farmers' income by 2022.

Ravindra Agrawal, Managing Director of KisanKraft said, "It is a good budget which was focused on implementing positive changes to the farm sector. And this will pave the way for the sector to witness increased participation from businesses in enhancing farmer skills as well as income."

Rajiv Gandhi, Hester Biosciences CEO and MD said besides PM-KISAN scheme, the budget 2019-20 has provided a strong framework for the animal husbandry sector. He said, "As this sector generally works in an unorganized manner, the provision to improve the genetic quality of cows under the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will have a positive impact on the dairy and overall animal healthcare industry".

Shivendra Bajaj, Executive Director of Alliance for Agri Innovation said it is a pro-farmer and pro-agriculture budget. He noted that "However, the budget seems to have missed offering provisions that would encourage more agriculture linked research and development that would go a long way in increasing agriculture productivity and incomes. Innovative public and private partnerships must be encouraged".



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