A parliamentary panel said on Thursday that the Union Agriculture Ministry is far from doubling farmers’ incomes and that incomes have actually fallen in some states such as Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, and Odisha between 2015-16 and 2018-19.
The committee has recommended that the ministry form a special team to investigate the causes of falling farmer income in these states and to take corrective action. On Thursday, the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Food Processing presented its report in Parliament on the ‘Demand for Grants’ for the Ministry of Agriculture.
‘It is a fact that many departments, organizations, and ministries of the Government of India are responsible for doubling the income of each and every farmer in this country within a specific time frame,’ according to the report.
However, the panel stated that there is no doubt that the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is in charge of doubling farmers’ income.
‘According to the department’s response, the department is far from doubling farmers’ income in some states between 2015-16 and 2018-19. That means that in four years, Jharkhand has seen a decrease from ₹ 7,068 to ₹ 4,895, Madhya Pradesh has seen a decrease from ₹ 9,740 to ₹ 8,339, Nagaland has seen a decrease from ₹ 11,428 to ₹ 9,877, and Odisha has seen a decrease from ₹ 5,274 to ₹ 5,112′ According to the report.
The panel stated that this occurred when the country’s monthly agricultural household income increased from ₹ 8,059 to ₹ 10,218 as a result of the Situation Assessment Survey conducted by the National Statistical Organization for all of India and that the achievement was ‘praiseworthy.’
However, the committee questioned why, in some states, monthly household income decreased between 2015-16 and 2018-19, while farmers’ lot may have remained the same or improved elsewhere, and whether the Department of Agriculture remained a mute neutral observer.
‘As a result, the committee recommends that the department form a special team to figure out the reasons for falling farmers’ income in those states and take some course corrective measures so that the doubling of farmers’ income is not lost sight of,’ according to the report.
The panel stated, citing the department’s response, that funds totaling ₹ 3,4517.70 crore, ₹ 2,3824.54 crore, and ₹ 9,586.86 crore were surrendered during 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22, respectively. That means the department surrendered ₹ 67,929.10 crore without spending during these years.
The panel stated that the surrender of funds is not a healthy practise, owing to the lower requirements under the NES (North Eastern States), SCSP (Schedule Caste Sub-Plan), and Tribal Area Sub-Plan (TASP) components.
‘The committee expresses its displeasure with the funds’ surrender. As a result, the committee recommends that the department identify avoidable reasons for fund surrender and implement corrective measures to ensure that the funds are used fully, properly, and efficiently’ According to the report.
Concerning the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY), the panel stated that the department should review the scheme’s implementation at regular intervals in order to assess the demand situation and fund requirements.
The committee also requested that the department investigate the reasons for certain states’ failure to implement the scheme and take the necessary steps to address them as effectively as possible.
It also requested that the department make the scheme more appealing and beneficial to farmers, particularly in states prone to natural disasters, so that farmers in all parts of the country can benefit from the PMFBY scheme.