On 24th February 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a scheme called Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Yojana that will provide income support to the farmers.
Details of the Scheme
- The scheme provides a direct cash support of Rs. 6000 to farmers.
- The scheme is directed majorly towards small and marginal farmers of the country.
- The amount is given in three installments of Rs. 2000 each in a year which will be directly deposited in the bank accounts of the farmers.
- To be eligible for the scheme, the beneficiary farmer or farmer family must have a landholding of fewer than 2 hectares (4.9 acres).
- The scheme is 100% central government scheme.
- It is expected to help 12 crore farmers of the country.
- For the exchequer, the scheme is set to cost Rs. 75,000 crore.
- The scheme was designed based on the Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana government which is a huge success in the state.
Comparison with Rythu Bandhu
- The Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana was launched in May 2018 with a budget outlay of Rs. 12000 crore per year.
- The scheme supports a farmer’s investments on crops for two cropping seasons – Kharif and Rabi.
- At the beginning of each season Rs. 4000 is credited to the accounts of the farmers. Which means a total of Rs. 8000 is given to the farmer as investment support.
- This was recently raised to Rs. 10000 by the recently elected Telangana government.
- One major difference between the central government scheme and the Rythu Bandhu scheme is that in the later there is no cap on the size of landholdings of a farmer whereas in the former the landholding must be less than 4.9 acres.
- To avoid legal disputes, both the central government and the Telangana government scheme did not include tenant farmers to their respective schemes.
Annadata Sukhibhava Scheme
- As an add-on to both the PM-KISAN and Rythu Bandhi scheme, the state of Andhra Pradesh has launched a scheme on 19-2-2019 called the Annadata Sukhibhava Scheme.
- As per the scheme, eligible farmers will receive Rs. 15000 as investment support which also includes Rs. 6000 of the PM-Kisan.
- The scheme also includes tenant farmers of the state.
Are These Schemes A Game Changer?
- According to a survey conducted by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), the average landholding in India is 1.1 hectares as of 2015-16. It has shrunk from 1.16 ha three years ago.
- For such small and marginal farmers, the investment support will definitely augur well.
- Also, the majority of poor people in the country are from this segment. Even if they do not invest the amount for agriculture, it will definitely increase their purchasing power.
- But, calling the scheme a game changer would be premature.
- There are diverse causes of agriculture distress in the country. Investment in agriculture is one such cause.
- Supply-side bottlenecks, scourge of middlemen, price support, export-import policy, availability of credit, low yields, low farm mechanisation, availability of quality seeds, overuse of fertilisers etc., are other factors that are leading to farm distress.
- The Government should undertake structural changes in the sector to effect real transformation in the agri sector of the country.
- Also, a larger push for industrialisation and generation of more jobs will give the rural poor an avenue to find a livelihood other than agriculture which may further lead to farmland consolidation in the country.
The Changing Agri-Scenario
- Changes in the agri sector are clearly visible now. Startups and many private enterprises are investing heavily to transform the sector.
- From increasing farm mechanisation to increasing yields and from organic farming to industrial-scale farming, the sector is ready for a growth spurt.
- And with the growth, the status of Indian farmers is set to change.
In the End:
- Amid all the changes happening in the sector, the PM-KISAN is nevertheless a new beginning for Indian agriculture. Only time will tell whether it can help the farming community or not.
Also Check: Pakistan Remains In The ‘Grey List’ of FATF
For the government, the investment support is one way for doubling farmers income. It needs to undertake major reforms in the sector to totally transform it.