Situation of Farmers Becoming Worse, as per Government’s 77th Round Situation Assessment Survey: ASHA Kisan Swaraj calls upon Government of India to fulfil farmers’ demand for a legally guaranteed remunerative MSP for all farmers and all agricultural produce

5:24 pm in News by Kavitha

Situation of Farmers Becoming Worse, as per Government’s 77th Round Situation Assessment Survey: ASHA Kisan Swaraj calls upon Government of India to fulfil farmers’ demand for a legally guaranteed remunerative MSP for all farmers and all agricultural produce

 

New Delhi, September 11th 2021: NSSO’s 77th Round findings put out by the Government of India ring louder alarm bells about the distress of farm households in India. The Government of India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) put out its report yesterday on “Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households, and Land and Holdings of Households in Rural India 2019”, from the 77th Round of NSSO survey in 2019. In a sense, the picture that emerges between the earlier round (70th Round in 2013) and this latest report is a report card on the farm front of NDA 1 government of Mr Narendra Modi and BJP.  It was during this period that the Modi Government also announced a shifting goal post on “doubling farmers’ incomes”, as a tactic to veer attention away from what farmers were demanding on the price and indebtedness front. “Clearly, the situation of farmers is getting worse, as per Government’s own situation assessment. The tall claims and commitments around doubling farmers’ incomes sound hollow, while the debt intensity of farmers seemed to have increased”, said ASHA Kisan Swaraj in a statement issued today.

NSSO's 77th Round shows that farmer incomes rose a modest 59% over 6 long years, whereas farmers' debt rose on an average by 57% (from Rs.47000/- per indebted agricultural household to Rs. 74121/- per agricultural household) during the same period. “Incomes in real terms are declining. This clearly belies any claims about doubling of farm incomes”, said ASHA.

It is worthwhile noting that only 14.5% paddy farmers managed to sell their produce at MSP to procurement agencies in one season, and 18.5% in another; and for crops like maize, it was as low as 4.1% and 6%, for bajra 2.1%, for jowar 3.5% and 0.7% in the second season and so on. Several reasons were ascertained for this, including procurement agency not being available. 

The 77th Round findings show that the out of the average monthly income of Rs. 10,218 per agricultural household at all-India level, crop production accounts for only 37.2%, whereas it accounted for 47.9% in 2013. Livestock income is now at 15.5% whereas it was 11.9% in 2013. However, wages is now at 39.8%, up from 32.20%. This confirms the trend that was reflected in Census 2011 too, that farmers are being made into, or more dependent on agricultural labour in India. Non-farm source of income has also declined, showing that these households are trapped in their farming and wage incomes. For some strange reason, the monthly consumer expenditure of the households has not been put out, and therein might lie some interesting glimpses of the distress of farm households.

The Modi Government has hyped its promise of "Doubling Farmers' Income" for several years now, even though the deadline for doing so is just a few months away. Instead of agreeing to farmers' continuous demand for legally guaranteeing remunerative minimum support prices on all agricultural produce, the Modi Government launched its PM KISAN program in a pre-election stunt, with direct income transfers of a meagre Rs. 500 a month that too for landed agricultural households, big and small, whether they actually cultivate the land or not. 

ASHA justified the farmers’ continuous and strong demand for a statute that entitles all farmers to a remunerative MSP in their market interfaces for any agricultural produce. “These trends of deteriorating situation for farmers can be extrapolated to post-2019 too. It is clear that the government is obstinately ignoring the price route for delivering on income improvements for farmers, and is still resting on its poll stunt of PM-KISAN. Legally guaranteed MSP is a multi-purpose policy tool that can address farmer incomes, nutrition security, environmental regeneration, social equity and parity and importantly, dignity and autonomy for farmer households”, said ASHA.

It is high time that the Modi Government appreciates the price route, which is the most direct and proximal route, of improving farmer incomes in India, and fulfills the demand of the farmer movement of legally guaranteeing remunerative MSP for all farmers. 

For more information, contact Kavitha Kuruganti at 8880067772