By Our Special Correspondent
New Delhi, February 6: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top slogan after coming to power at the Centre was ‘doubling farmers’ income by 2022’. The slogan was conveniently removed from the spotlight after the government became aware that the slogan was too tough to be translated. But now the government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections is saying that the mission to double the income of farmers has already been achieved.
Union Minister for Agriculture Arjun Munda in a written reply to a question in parliament claimed that the farmers have already seen their incomes more than doubling during the tenure of the Modi government. Munda in the written reply said: “Implementation of schemes has yielded remarkable results towards augmenting the income of the farmers. As part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has released a book, which contains compilation of success stories of 75,000 farmers out of innumerable successful farmers who have increased their income more than two times.”
The government in place of giving a direct reply to the status of the claim made earlier to double the farmers’ income has cited the study by the ICAR that the objective may already have been achieved. It may be recalled that doubling farmers’ income was part of the ‘Three Years Action Plan’ put out by the NITI Aayog in the first tenure of the Modi government. The think tank had then argued that doubling the farmers’ income was incumbent on the agrarian reforms such as unveiling a common market place. The Centre had come out with three contentious farm laws for which the argument was given that they are essential to achieve the objective of doubling farmers’ income.
Munda also stated in the written reply that the “amount of funds allocated by the Government for the schemes for the benefit of farmers for the current financial year 2023-24 is Rs. 4095.64 crores and funds proposed to be allocated in the coming financial year 2024-25 is Rs 4210 crores.” He also added that “the government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee in April, 2016 to examine issues relating to ‘Doubling of Farmers Income (DFI)’ and recommend strategies to achieve the same. The Committee submitted its final report to the Government in September, 2018 containing the recommendations for doubling of farmers’ income through various policies, reforms & programmes.”
He also stated that the government with aims to achieve the objective of doubling farmers’ income had identified seven sources of income growth — Increase in crop productivity; Increase in livestock productivity; Resource use efficiency; Reduction in cost of production; Increase in cropping intensity; Diversification to high value agriculture; Remunerative prices on farmers’ produce; and Shift of surplus manpower from farm to non-farm occupations.
Munda stated that the “government has substantially enhanced the budget allocation of Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare from Rs 27,662.67 crore BE during 2013-14 to Rs. 1,25,035.79 crore BE during 2023-24. Enhanced budgetary provisions have been made to facilitate the below mentioned efforts of the Government.”