India has been an agriculture-based country. Though in absolute terms agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is growing, the share of agriculture in the GDP has been declining, and a sizable population is still dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Since this sector influences the lives of the entire population, several efforts have been made since independence to evolve appropriate agricultural policies for producers’ and consumers’ welfare.
According to the latest National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data, the average monthly income of an agricultural household is estimated to be as low as Rs. 6,426 as against its average monthly consumption expenditure of Rs.6,223.
Doubling of Farmers’ Income by 2022
The Government of India has set a target of doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022. The Government constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Ashok Dalwai, Chief Executive Officer, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare to examine issues relating to doubling of farmers’ income and recommend a strategy to achieve doubling of farmers’ income in real terms by the year 2022.
The Committee submitted its Report to the Government in September 2018 containing the strategy for doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022. The DFI strategy, as recommended by the Committee and accepted by the Government, include following seven sources of income growth:
- Improvement in crop productivity
- Improvement in livestock productivity
- Resource use efficiency or savings in the cost of production
- Increase in the cropping intensity
- Diversification towards high value crops
- Improvement in real prices received by farmers; and
- Shift from farm to non-farm occupations
The Committee made it clear that the target of doubling farmers’ incomes was in real terms and the goal was to be achieved over 7 years with the base year of 2015-16. The committee stated that a growth rate of 10.4% per annum would be required to double farmers’ income.
The Committee Report having 14 Volumes are available on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (http://agricoop.nic.in/doubling-farmers).
Govt. Initiatives for Raising Farmer Income
The Government has adopted several developmental programmes, schemes, reforms and policies that focus on higher incomes for the farmers such as:
- ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat- Agriculture package’ which includes comprehensive market reforms and creation of ‘Agricultural Infrastructure Fund’ worth Rs 1 lakh crore.
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) which aims to provide a payment of Rs. 6000/- per year, in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs. 2000/- to the farmers families.
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan MaanDhan Yojana (PM-KMY) which provides a minimum fixed pension of Rs. 3000/- to the eligible small and marginal farmers on attaining the age of 60 years.
- Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) which provides insurance cover for all stages of the crop cycle including post-harvest risks in specified instances, with low premium contribution by farmers.
- Soil Health Cards to farmers for rationalizing the use of fertilizers.
- “Per drop more crop” initiative under which drip/sprinkler irrigation is being encouraged for optimal utilization of water, reducing cost of inputs and increasing productivity.
- “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)” for promoting organic farming.
- Launch of e-NAM initiative to provide farmers an electronic transparent and competitive online trading platform.
- ‘Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)’ which is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce.
- Several market reforms have been rolled out and Corpus Funds have been created (Micro Irrigation Fund; Agri-marketing Fund; Agricultural Infrastructure Fund (AIF) etc.)
- The Report of the Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, GoI.
- Progress in Doubling Farmer Income, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, July 20, 2021, Press Information Bureau (PIB) (https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1737287)
- Steps for Doubling Farmers’ Income, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, September 18, 2020, Press Information Bureau (PIB) (https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1656148)
- Towards doubling farmers’ income, Financial Express, January 5, 2022 (https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/towards-doubling-farmers-income/2398373/)
- Govt pursuing target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022: Tomar, The Economic Times, February 9, 2021 (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/govt-pursuing-target-of-doubling-farmers-income-by-2022-tomar/articleshow/80773240.cms)