While the farm sector welcomed the government’s direct income support scheme — PM-KISAN — experts said the amount offered to small and marginal farmers is lower than what is being provided by the governments of Telangana and Odisha. In the interim Budget 2019-20, the government announced a transfer of ₹6,000 per year to 12 crore farmers holding cultivable land up to two hectares directly into their bank accounts from the current year.
Welcoming the move, Indian Council of Food and Agriculture Chairman M.J. Khan, however, said: “The support amount is small and lower than the Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana or the KALIA of Odisha, and hence not much impact is likely.” He further said it was the only option available with the government to reach out to farmers in a short time before the election code of conduct comes into force. Money transferred to farmers’ accounts will be good for the party in power and also will be a boost to the rural economy, Mr. Khan said in a statement.
The Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana offers ₹10,000 per acre a year to all farmers, excluding tenant farmers, while the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme of Odisha offers direct benefit cash transfer of ₹25,000 for a farm family over five seasons to small and marginal farmers.
Noting that proper execution of PM-KISAN scheme is very important to ensure benefits are passed on to farmers, Insecticides India Managing Director Rajesh Aggrawal said the government should focus on strategising and the implementation of the policy.
Ajay Kakra of PwC India said PM-KISAN is in the right direction as the income can be helpful to protect the small and marginal farmers from market and price fluctuation and absorb the inflationary cost increments. Around 72% of farmers are in this category and are likely to increase to 90% by 2025, he added.
Cargill India president Simon George said: “We are particularly optimistic about the Central government sponsored PM-KISAN Yojana, Direct Benefit Transfers to small holder farmers. Though a lot more can be done, a good move that will help farmers align better with market.”
Many more initiatives including market reforms like implementing model APMC Act, Essential Commodity Act, etc., are required to achieve the objective of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, he added.
The interest subvention scheme to farmers engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries is also a positive development, he added.
KisanKraft Managing Director Ravindra Agrawal said: “It is a good Budget focussed on implementing positive changes to the agri sector. We believe this will pave the way for the sector to see increased participation from businesses.”