‘Double Income’ Promise For Farmers Falls Flat, Debt Burden Continues

by GoNews Desk 2 years ago Views 4394

Farmer's Income Debt
Farmers in India are being pushed away from farming and into labouring to sustain themselves. Recently, the National Survey Office published a report concerning agricultural households in India wherein the sources of income for these families were given. The report shows that as compared to 2012-13, the increase in income from farming has been negligible, whereas that earned from labouring as doubled.

Farmers increased their monthly income from farming from ₹3,081 in 2012-13 to ₹3,798 in 2018-19, showing a mere ₹717 increase in earnings over six years. Compare this to the situation for labourers. In 2012-13, a labourer earned ₹2,071 per month which doubled to ₹4,063 per month in 2018-19.

The report states that the income of farmers increased by 60% in the six years from 2012-13 to 2018-19. Where farmers made ₹6,426 per month in 2012-13, it did certainly increase to ₹10,218 in 2018-19, but if the Rural Consumer Price Index is considered, then it is an increase of only 21% in income.

It is significant that this contradicts the Prime Minister’s promises of increasing farmers’ income by 100%. The report has revealed that this increase in farmers’ incomes is also propelled by labouring, animal husbandry, and non-agricultural sources that complement the money earned from farming.

It is believed, therefore, that the situation is deteriorating for rural farmers, but at the sam time, the number of families dependant on agriculture has increased from 90 million to 93 million. Another report states that between 2013-2019, the families who are leaving agriculture as an income source have increased from 66 million to 80 million.

Meanwhile, the debt burden on agricultural families is rising relentlessly. Where in 2012-13 the average debt on an agricultural family was ₹47,000, it jumped by 58% in 2018-19 to reach ₹74,000. This clearly shows that while incomes are crawling negligibly upwards for farmers, the debt on their heads is simultaneously skyrocketing.

It should be reiterated that the Modi government had promised to double the income of farmers. PM Narendra Modi had announced in 2016 that the income of farmers would double by 2022. An Inter-Ministerial Committee was also constituted for this purpose. Home Minister Amit Shah had declared that doubling farmers’ incomes was a major priority for the government.

Now, in a major turnaround, the NITI Ayog member Dr. Ramesh Chand has accepted that this is not possible. He has stated that this will not be achievable until the three new farm laws are enacted. This seems as nothing more than another shifting of the goalpost on part of the government.

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