Will PM-Kisan transform India's agriculture support ecosystem? -Sayantan Bera

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published Published on Feb 26, 2019   modified Modified on Feb 26, 2019

The farm income support scheme was launched after NDA’s other flagship schemes failed to tackle rural distress

The scheme promises to pay Rs. 6,000 every year to each of the 120 million farmer families in India

The Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the centre announced a scheme for farmers in the interim budget presented on 1 February, with just a few months to go for the general elections and under immense pressure to assuage the anger of farmers. Then finance minister Piyush Goyal called it “historic" and said the income transfer scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi or PM-Kisan, will pave the way for farmers to live respectable lives.

The scheme, which comes against the backdrop of a prolonged period of agrarian distress marked by droughts and nosediving crop prices, promises to pay Rs.6,000 every year to each of the 120 million farmer families in India who own less than five acres of land. The financial impact of the scheme will be Rs.20,000 crore in 2018-19 (towards a single instalment of Rs.2,000 per household and Rs.75,000 crore in 2019-20 for quarterly transfers of Rs.2,000 per family.

How significant is this supplementary income for an average farmer family? According to data from the All India Financial Inclusion Survey (NAFIS) released by apex rural bank Nabard in August last year, on an average, farm households earn about Rs.8,931 per month. An income support of Rs.500 implies their monthly incomes will rise by 5.6%. While the amount is not insignificant for extremely poor households who own very little land, farmer organizations have termed it a “joke".

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Livemint.com, 25 February, 2019, https://www.livemint.com/politics/news/will-pm-kisan-transform-india-s-agriculture-support-ecosystem-1551027702571.html

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