Disturbed by the results in the recent assembly elections, the BJP top brass had been brainstorming the potential of the farm-factor in impacting the coming Lok Sabha election 2019 and here comes the news that says Niti Aayog has urged the govt to give a cash subsidy of Rs 15,000 per hectare to farmers under DBT, reports the ET.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had deliberated with Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley and Radha Mohan Singh on the issue. The Economic Times says the think tank believes this will make the need for all subsidies for agriculture, such as crop insurance, electricity, fertiliser, irrigation and interest subvention redundant.
Niti Aayog calculation is simple: as of now, the agriculture sector gets a total input subsidy worth over Rs 2 lakh crore per annum. Calculated on the total cultivable area in India, this amounts to Rs 15,000 per hectare.
Officials say such a move will put in place a mechanism that will end misuse of subsidized urea and power and give economic freedom to farmers. Significantly, Niti Ayog’s proposal has been floated ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and imposition of the Model Code of Conduct.
Experts say the govt and its agencies have been thinking over the issue for quite some time. Among various ideas being entertained in the govt circles is the idea of subsidizing farmers, not crops. The Telangana experience is being quoted in this context. Telangana has a flat subsidy of Rs 4,000 per acre per cropping season. KCR’s decisive victory in the recent election is said to be the result of his farmer-subsidy idea.
The idea of subsidizing farmers per acre and not the crop is not new. “Administratively simple to implement, it reduces the potential for corruption. Such a subsidy should be limited to 5 acres per family, so that it benefits poor farmers the most”, opined Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar.
Earlier, Niti Aayog held two meetings with cooperators in quick succession to assess how far the cooperative movement is able to fulfill the Prime Minister dream of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar chaired the meeting on the subject “Cooperative Sector as a catalyst for Development”. Cooperators underlined the importance of strengthening PACS so that they play a proactive role in both farm and non-farm sectors and help farmers double their income.
Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh has been emphasizing the importance of income rather than production from the fields. Farmers should focus on alternative means of income such as bee-keeping, fisheries etc, has been the argument of both Singh and the Prime Minister.
Cash transfers to farmers also makes a farmer more competitive as he aligns his farming to market forces so that he gets maximum return. Aware that the govt is not coming to his rescue he does best in his own interest. Subsidizing crop also cripples farmers in some way, opine experts.