01 Mar PM-KISAN Yojana – Can It Help The Farming Community?
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.
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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.