The government has introduced a 16-point development model for the agriculture sector. Looking at the level of words, enough words have been spent on agriculture, but as far as the statistics of the agricultural budget are concerned, the situation does not seem satisfactory. This time the farmers had high hopes, the government had also repeatedly said that the income of the farmers would be doubled, but now the government has said that by 2022 the income of the farmers will be doubled.
If you look at most of the allocations, the signs are not good. Overall, the amount of money allocated last time in various items of agriculture has not been spent. Rs 3,000 crore was allocated for the market intervention scheme, but only 2010 crore has been spent. The allocation made for crop insurance scheme has also reduced. The expenditure on insurance should have increased, because there have been complaints that farmers are not getting proper compensation.
There was a provision of 75 thousand crore rupees in the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Yojana last year, but only 54 thousand 370 crore rupees have been spent. This time a provision of the same amount has been kept in this item. The amount has not been increased for crop science research either. Last time, Rs 702 crore was allocated and the expenditure is only Rs 535 crore. There was a provision of Rs 2,682 crore under the Prime Minister Agricultural Irrigation Scheme, this time a provision of Rs 1,127 crore has been made. The previous allocation could not be spent.
The Green, White and Blue Revolution are discussed in the budget. The Green Revolution will not be easy. Farmers are not getting fair price for their produce. The government promised that C-2 would declare a minimum support price by adding fifty percent to the cost. This did not happen, the government reduced the cost level, which failed to fulfill its promise of minimum support price. As far as the blue revolution (fisheries and aquaculture) is concerned, last time the total allocation was Rs 560 crore, but the expenditure was only Rs 455 crore. This time the government has allocated Rs 570 crore, but looking at inflation, the allocation has not increased.
There is no major difference in irrigation. Irrigation arrangements for 60 to 58 percent of the cultivation are not ensured. Areas that are not irrigated produce an average of 1.2 tonnes per hectare, while irrigated area produces four tonnes per hectare. Statistics show that 82 percent of the rural poor live in these areas. They neither get proper nutrition nor food. There is a need for ambitious planning and corresponding allocation to reach all these disadvantaged farmers. In this direction, the government has not taken a big step in the budget.
One more thing, the economic growth rate has been decreasing continuously for the last three years, one of the main factors is that the demand for industrial and service sector products is not in the market. The demand is not because 46 percent of their demand comes from the rural area and the purchasing power of the rural area is continuously decreasing. Unemployment is increasing, wage rates are decreasing. The profits of farmers from their products are continuously decreasing. Businesses other than agriculture in rural areas are also sitting. No measures are being taken to increase the purchasing power of the villagers.
I harvest myself. In the year 2013, for 1121 basmati, I got a price of Rs 4,800 per quintal. In 2014, the price rose to Rs 3,500. 2,700 in 2015, Rs. 2,400 in 2016, Rs. 2,400 in 2017, Rs. 3,300 in 2018 and this year I have sold the same paddy at Rs. 2,650 per quintal. If you compare, despite the rise in inflation, the earnings of the farmers have decreased. My product has received less than half the price. The government should see, instead of doubling the income of farmers has halved.
There is nothing out of the box in the budget that attracts. Whether pulses, coarse grains or cash crops, their prices have not been increasing in previous years, while the cost is increasing. Electricity rates have increased, fertilizer prices have increased. Agricultural costs have gone up and product prices have come down. The farmer has two expectations from every budget. One, a plan or declaration that would cover the whole of India. A time-bound, targeted plan should be made. But the matter of taking steps in this direction is not visible in the budget. The farmers are not benefiting from the support price. In states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, paddy is being sold for Rs 600 to 800 less than the support price. Earlier governments used to take direct relief to the sugarcane farmers, but now they give relief to the enterprises and enterprises do not let their relief go to the farmers.
Talking about the White Revolution, the price of milk has been decreasing for three years. There were agitations in Maharashtra, with producers throwing milk on the streets. Today, farmers are being paid Rs 18 to 26 per liter for cow’s milk, while only Rs 26 is spent on cow’s food and water. Even though milk is being sold in the market at fifty rupees or beyond, the milk producers are not getting the benefit of it. The government has not paid attention to it. The budget has not given much happiness to the farmers. Farmers still have expectations from the government. However, one should expect that the amount fixed by the government this time will be spent entirely on farming and farmers.