TOPIC: General Studies 3
- Agricultural Reforms and Policies
In News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released the 7th instalment of financial benefits under the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi. Pressing a button, the Prime Minister transferred over 18,000 crore rupees to over 9 crore beneficiary farming families. He also held virtual interaction with farmers from six states. Prime Minister assured farmers on the continuation of the Minimum Support Price and government-run mandis. The Prime Minister said that through the three agri reforms, the farmers have been given better options to sell their produce by farmers.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme
- Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.
- This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs. 2,000 each.
Objectives of PM KISAN scheme:
- To supplement the financial needs of small and marginal farmers for procuring various inputs related to agriculture and allied activities.
- To give a boost to rural consumption.
- To augment government efforts in aim of doubling farmers income by 2022.
Features of PM KISAN Scheme:
- PM KISAN is a Central Sector scheme with 100% funding from Government of India
- Under the scheme income support of Rs.6000/- per year in three equal instalments will be provided to small and marginal farmer families
- Definition of the family for the scheme is husband, wife and minor children.
- State Government and UT Administration will identify the farmer families which are eligible for support as per scheme guidelines.
- The fund will be directly transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
Significance of PM KISAN Scheme
- It provides support to small and marginal farmers who are largely involved in subsistence farming and struggles to invest in agriculture inputs or technology,
- It will boost the rural consumption and positive for agriculture and allied sectors.
- Poverty reduction: Cash transfer programmes are an important tool of social protection and poverty reduction. They have an immediate impact on reducing hunger and rural poverty.
- Better use: This can increase productive investment, increase access to markets and stimulate local economies. Income support can be used to make a repayment or at least activate a bank account which can then receive a loan.
- Rural development: It can serve as an important complement to a broader rural development agenda, including a pro-poor growth strategy focusing on agriculture.
The intention of PM KISAN is noble but it is bound to face some impediments in its implementation.
- Non-existence framework for implementing it at such a large scale in such short time.
- Problem in identification of beneficiaries – majority of the States have incomplete tenancy records and land records are not digitized.
- Non-timely DBT payments as evident from other welfare schemes based on DBT.
- Challenges in recognition of land rights in tribal and forest areas who are among the most vulnerable people.
- Challenge of creating awareness in far flung areas in such short period.
- Inadequate ICT infrastructure as this scheme is based on Aadhar.
- Other issues related to Aadhar which are being faced in other schemes such as non-matching of fingerprints due to excessive manual labour.
- Last mile banking penetration issues and lack of financial inclusion of small and marginal farmers.
- Lack of proper grievance redressal mechanism.
- Incapacity of states in terms of identifying the beneficiaries in such short time.
The need of the hour is to improve infrastructure in agriculture which would help farmers in getting a competitive price for their produce and access to markets. Government must focus on three things: crop insurance, better irrigation and subsidised seed and fertilisers.
PM-KISAN is an ambitious scheme that has the potential to deliver significant welfare outcomes. However, the current top-down, rushed approach of the government ignores governance constraints and therefore an alternative bottom-up strategy and well-planned implementation mechanism would allow weaknesses to be identified and rectified at the local level.
Connecting the Dots:
- Critically examine if Kisan Nidhi would be enough to cover losses suffered due to the MSP sale.
- Ashok Dalwai Committee on Doubling Farmer’s Income