Farmers Need Straightaway Income Support

On a TV Channel today, I was asked as to what I visit the most of import stride that needs to live taken to bail-out Indian farmers. I replied: Indian farmers demand to live given straight income support, demand to live paid a fixed monthly income. The anchor was visibly baffled, in addition to asked me afterwards whether it was possible.

For a brace of years now, I direct keep been bespeak for a straight income back upwards for farmers. It has taken to a greater extent than or less years for the people to grasp the implications, sympathize what I meant, in addition to instantly I notice that I am non the solely 1 bespeak for a fixed monthly income for farmers. My colleagues from Thanal inward Kerala were the offset ones to realise its importance in addition to necessity. They made a lot of attempt to convey this to farmer groups in addition to consumer organisations inward the region. The National Commission for Farmers also raised this but inward a slightly unlike way. And now, to a greater extent than or less NGOs inward Andhra Pradesh, led past times my friend Dr G V Ramanjaneyulu of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, direct keep lately been edifice a political consensus on farmers income number merely earlier the ensuing elections inward the State.

But allow us offset run across why in that location is an urgent demand for a straight income back upwards to farmers. This is what I wrote a brace of years back.

Amidst reports of a terrible agrarian crisis sweeping across the country, Indian authorities has formally announced the setting-up of the 6th pay commission. At a fourth dimension when thousands of farmers direct keep taken the fatal road to escape the unbearable loan burden, Bharat has instead opened upwards the province exchequer for its employees.

Citing the reasons of “price rise” in addition to “globalisation in addition to liberalisation”, the terms of references for the 6th pay committee direct keep been spelt out. Nearly 4.2 1000000 primal authorities employees, in addition to xx 1000000 province authorities employees, volition have a salary bonanza that volition cost the province exchequer to a greater extent than than Indian Rs 1,00,000 crore a year. For the 110 1000000 farming families all that is existence promised is to a greater extent than credit — doubling farm credit inward the adjacent 3 years.

The dubious financial policy is clear: loans for farmers in addition to assured income for employees.

No wonder, the suicide decease trip the low-cal fantastic continues. Suicide charge per unit of measurement inward Vidharba has genuinely doubled e’er after the Prime Minister’s Rs 3,750-crore relief bundle was announced on July 1, 2006. In other parts of the country, the rural landscape remains as depressing — mounting rural indebtedness, unmanageable glut at the fourth dimension of harvest, swelling rural to urban migration. With agriculture turning into a highly losing proposition, to a greater extent than than forty per cent of the farming population has expressed the wish to quit in addition to migrate to the urban centres.

Such is the apathy towards agriculture that the authorities has announced a mere Rs 16,978- crore ‘rehabilitation package’ for millions of farmers inward the predominantly-suicide-prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala in addition to Maharashtra. While to a greater extent than than Rs 10,000-crore of this volition larn towards rescheduling depository financial establishment loans in addition to interests, the remaining amount is for the agribusiness sector to supply to a greater extent than external inputs to farmers. Interestingly, at the same fourth dimension the authorities has inward regulation agreed to supply nigh an equal amount of Rs 17,200-crore to laid upwards 3 to a greater extent than campuses of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM).

A bulk of the cotton wool farmers who died inward Andhra Pradesh in addition to Karnataka direct keep left behind a household unit of measurement of 5 in addition to an unpaid debt averaging Rs 60,000 to Rs 80,000. Except inward Punjab in addition to Haryana, where the degree of indebtedness is a picayune higher at Rs 1,20,000 or so, farmers inward other parts of the Blue Planet also direct keep had outstanding dues non exceeding Rs 80,000 on an average. In Vidharva share of Maharashtra, nearly lx per cent of those who committed suicide inward 2004 had an outstanding debt of a mere Rs 8,000. That no employee of the authorities or the mortal sector volition e’er visit ending his/her life at such a “meagre” degree of indebtedness is a pointer towards the stark realities that exists inward the countryside.

The unpaid debt that has been left behind past times the unlucky farmers has genuinely accumulated over the years. Initially, all they may direct keep required past times style of farm credit may non direct keep been to a greater extent than than a few 1000 rupees. What also remains hidden from the populace glare is the rampant corruption inward the banking scheme that denies the farmers access to easily available credit. At the same time, the depository financial establishment loans are tied alongside ‘improved’ technology, which agency the existent beneficiary is the agribusiness company. Promotion of such irrelevant technologies, including farm machinery, is the bane of the farming scheme thereby compounding the crisis inward growing indebtedness.

Let us convey a facial expression at the latest study of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). The average monthly income of a farm household (comprising 5 members) inward 2003 stood at a paltry Rs 2,115. In other words, all farmers past times in addition to large are below the poverty line. Compare that alongside the monthly salary of a peon inward authorities service, the average monthly packet is at to the lowest degree 5 times to a greater extent than than what a farmer gets. While authorities employees facial expression forwards to a fixed monthly income packet every calendar month in addition to gets the attain goodness of an annual increment as an adjustment for full general toll rise, the farmer is left high in addition to dry out in addition to at the mercy of the moneylender or the banker.

For a country, which has 650 1000000 people subject upon agriculture (including the families of the farmers) in addition to to a greater extent than or less other 200 1000000 agricultural workers, the cost of faulty economical liberalization has merely begun to show. Withdrawing the State back upwards to agriculture in addition to farming, in addition to increasingly leaving farmers at the mercy of the monsoon in addition to the markets, the national policies were inward reality existence drawn to shift the national resources for the attain goodness of solely the line of piece of work organization in addition to industrial houses. Successive governments direct keep solely exacerbated the crisis past times moving the scarce resources to bolster the industry. While agriculture continued to live neglected, manufacture continued to have tax-holidays, cheaper credit, highly subsidized land, in addition to excise duty relief. The recent shift towards Special Economic Zones (SEZ) is a pointer.

For farmers, as much as 85 per cent of its earnings come upwards from crop tillage in addition to reward earned past times household unit of measurement members from job generation programmes. In fact, what is to a greater extent than startling is that over the years the farm earnings of marginal farmers direct keep dropped to less than that of the daily wage labourers. Imagine an average farm household unit of measurement comprising 5 people surviving on a monthly income, which is non to a greater extent than than what is paid to household helpers inward the metros. Moreover, the sudden turn down inward farm incomes is happening at a fourth dimension when urban areas are witnessing an upswing.

Uttar Pradesh farmers had the lowest income – Rs 1630 per month. Farmers inward Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan in addition to Orissa were solely a trifle better. The highest farm income was recorded inward Jammu & Kashmir – –Rs 5,500 a month, followed closely past times Punjab in addition to Kerala. Earlier, studies past times the Ministry of Agriculture betoken to declining farm incomes inward the past times 5 years.

To larn far nonetheless worse, farm income all over the Earth has remained static betwixt 1980 in addition to 2003. Adjusting for inflation, a recent UNCTAD study states that the prices of all major commodities showed a declining trend. The study stated that betwixt 1997 in addition to 2001, the combined toll index for all commodities vicious past times 53 per cent inward existent terms, thereby “commodities lost to a greater extent than than one-half their purchasing mightiness inward terms of manufactured goods.” Knowing this, the developed countries compensated its farming community alongside straight subsidies. Farmers inward Bharat were left at the mercy of the monsoon gods. The resulting comport upon thus has been much to a greater extent than severe. Recurring farmer suicides is a reflection of that.

Let us direct keep that similar everyone else, farmer also needs an adequate monthly take-home bundle that takes aid of his household unit of measurement needs in addition to leaves him alongside a picayune surplus to sow the adjacent crop. What also remains unexplained is why a farmer is expected to alive on credit piece the balance of the lodge is provided alongside a fixed income? While the authorities clerk in addition to for that affair all employees proceed to larn the attain goodness of unwarranted pay hikes, annual increments, medical allowances, paid holidays in addition to of class financial loans at the drib of a hat, the farmer remains out of jump for all these bounties.

In an era of “globalisation in addition to liberalisation”, farmers are existence farther penalised. Mainline economists are suggesting that the authorities needs to withdraw the minimum back upwards prices for crops in addition to also divest from nutrient procurement. The underlying objective existence to allow the marketplace forces determine as to who is an efficient producer. Only those farmers who tin ‘compete’ inward such a global surround volition survive. Surprisingly, such an advice is coming from those economists whose undertaking remains secure. No economist anywhere inward the Earth is working without a fixed salary in addition to pension benefits. If marketplace tin function for farmers why shouldn’t it function for economists in addition to academicians? Why shouldn’t the markets determine who is an efficient economist or an academician?

Surviving against all odds, in addition to despite the depression earnings, farmers direct keep worked difficult to ensure national nutrient self-sufficiency. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 salubrious in addition to vibrant farm sector is to the attain goodness of the national economy. Probably the solely style to ensure the economical viability of the farm sector is to either enlarge the range of the 6th pay committee to include farmers or to laid upwards a assort pay committee for the farmers. Based on the minimum land-holdings, in addition to de-coupled from production, in that location is an immediate demand to ensure that farmers larn an assured income.

Like the minimum back upwards price, which was applicable inward reality to a few crops, the
Commission for Costs in addition to Prices (CACP) should live entrusted alongside the undertaking to function out a minimum farm income for the farmers. Irrespective of productivity, in addition to depending upon the agro-climatic atmospheric condition inward which a farm is situated, a formula that entails a ‘minimum take-home’ income for a farmer has to live worked out. Based on that, the authorities should ensure that each farmer receives a monthly remunerative packet, alongside the agricultural workers getting the minimum income that the peon inward the authorities receives.

No farmer volition in addition to so similar to live divested of his land, his solely economical security. #