ASHA reaction to Budget 2022-23 of Union Govt tabled by Union Finance Minister

4:44 pm in News by Kavitha

No “Amrit Kaal” for the Annadaatas who provide the life spirit to our nation, even as Finance Minister’s speech and budget figures show a DECLINE in support to farmers: ASHA-KISAN SWARAJ

Overall budget estimate of Agriculture and Allied activities reduced from 4.26% previous year to 3.84% now

Deafening silence of the Government in its Budget Speech about Farmers and their development needs – Drastic slashing of support for MSP-based procurement operations in schemes like PM-AASHA and Market Intervention Scheme/Price Support Scheme

Budgets as well as Reality Far Away from Doubling Farmers’ Incomes

New Delhi, 1st February 2022: ASHA-Kisan Swaraj criticised the budget presented by the Finance Minister of the Union Government today, on the deafening silence of the Government on its failed promises to farmers. While it is good that the Government desisted from its usual jumlabaazi, it is also clear that farmers have not obtained anything solid in this Budget despite agriculture being a saviour sector of the economy during the pandemic. In fact, by not keeping the agriculture-related allocations at the same proportion as last year in the overall budget (which itself was inadequate), at least Rs.16000 crore rupees have been denied to the sector in this year’s budget.

“There is no point in talking about Amrit Kaal in meaningless terms, when the distress for our annadaatas is not mitigated in any way and when they continue to consume zahar (poisonous pesticides) to kill themselves. Agriculture’s resilience, despite being a much neglected and ignored sector, is apparent in India as reflected during the Covid 19 pandemic and the lockdowns that have been continuing since March 2020. This is clearly a reflection on farmers’ own entrepreneurial and endeavouring nature. The Budget however does not reflect any acknowledgement of the investment needed in this sector, unfortunately”, said ASHA.

For the first time in 6 years, the Budget speech did not even mention the promise of Doubling of Farmers Income by 2022, even as we have reached the target year 2022. As per the Govt of India’s DFI report, the benchmark estimated income of Rs.8,059 per month of 2015-16 was promised to be doubled in real terms, taking inflation into account. As such, the Target Income for doubling by 2022 is Rs.21,146 per month. At the mid-way point of the 6-year period, the estimated monthly income of farm households in 2018-19 was Rs. 10,218 per month in nominal terms, as shown by the NSS 77th Round data through the Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households. Even if we project the same growth rate in the subsequent 3 years, the estimated income in 2022 is only Rs.12,955 per month. It is nowhere near the target of Rs.21,146 per month. Meanwhile, NSS 77th Round figures clearly indicate that farmers are having to depend more on wage incomes for their sustenance rather than crop production.

The share of Budget for Agriculture and Allied Activities has fallen drastically: The budget for Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare as a share of the total Budget has fallen drastically from 3.78% in 2021-22 to 3.36% in 2022-23. If we include the allied ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, the share fell from 3.87% to 3.51%.

While the Finance Minister declared the number of farmers who benefited from the Government’s procurement of wheat and paddy, as well as the value of such procurement from farmers, the numbers indicate that there is actually a decline in both the quantities procured and the number of farmers benefited, as well as the value of total procurement itself! “That itself reveals the lack of commitment of the Government towards farmers’ incomes and giving them remunerative prices, since MSP is the most proximal and direct route to securing better incomes”, said ASHA.

The number of farmers benefited from paddy and wheat procurement in 2020-21 was 1.97 crores, whereas the FM announced that it is only 1.63 crores in this year. Further, figures from FCI indicate that only 1208 lakh metric tonnes were procured from paddy and wheat farmers while in 2020-21, it was 1286 lakh metric tonnes. When it comes to the total value of MSP-based procurement operations also, while it was 2.48 lakh crore rupees in 2020-21, it has declined to 2.37 lakh crore rupees this year.

Schemes like PM-AASHA and Market Intervention Scheme, which support MSP-based procurement operations have been slashed drastically in this budgetary allocations showing the real intent of the Government. From a meagre 400 crore rupee budget in 2021-22, PM-AASHA budget has been slashed to 1 crore rupees. Similarly, MIS-PSS scheme has been cut down from 3596 crores RE last year to Rs. 1500 crores in this budget proposal.

The one lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund that has been announced in May 2020, as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat meant for spending over the subsequent 4 years (extended to 6 years), shows a dismal picture of implementation. Only Rs. 6627 crores worth projects have been sanctioned until now after two years, and the actual disbursals are much lower at only Rs. 2654 crores. This is about 2.6% only of the target (figures from Agri Infrastructure Fund website).

The MGNREGS has been a mainstay for providing incomes in the rural economy, particularly for the more disadvantaged sections of landless workers and marginal farmers. Even as there have been calls to boost the MGNREGS program by all experts including the corporate sector which has seen a fall in the rural demand for goods and services, the program has seen a deep cut relative to the revised estimates and actual expenditures of the previous years. This is a big injustice to the rural poor. The actual expenditure in 2020-21 was Rs.111,169 crores, the revised estimate in 2021-22 was Rs.98,000 crores while the budget allocation for 2022-23 is only Rs.73,000 crores.

The 10,000 FPOs scheme witnessed only 250 crore rupees in the Revised Estimates of 2021-22 despite a budget allocation of Rs. 700 crores. ASHA urges the Government to ensure that the FPO investments are spent with full commitment to social equity and environmental sustainability, with these institutional vehicles devoted truly for farmers’ empowerment.

While there is much talk about natural and organic farming promotion, which we welcome in the context of climate emergency and the need for rejuvenating our farm ecology, the Budget allocations and previous expenditures do not give an encouraging picture of how this will be achieved. The Budget estimate for Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) in 2021-22 was only Rs.450 crores last year, and the Revised estimate brings it down further to Rs.100 crores only. Similarly the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) had a budget estimate of Rs.3712 crore in 2021-22 and a revised estimate of only Rs.2000 crores. In the present Budget, it is seen that the budget allocations for this and several other schemes have been obfuscated under the head of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and it is not clear what has been actually allocated.

 

For more information, contact: Kiran Vissa at 9701705743; Kavitha Kuruganti at 8880067772

 

 

SOME DETAILED FIGURES

Doubling Farmers’ Incomes (DFI)

2012-13 (NSSO 70th Round Situational Assessment Survey): Rs.6496 per month

2015-16 Benchmark by DFI Report: Rs. 8059 per month

2018-19 (NSSO 77th Round): Rs.10,218 per month

Doubling Farm Income Target by 2022: Rs.21,146 per month

(doubling in real terms considering inflation calculated as per CPI)

 

Paddy & Wheat Procurement in lakh metric tonnes

Paddy Procurement in 2020-21: 896 LMT

Wheat Procurement in 2020-21: 390 LMT

Total Paddy + Wheat in 2020-21: 1286 LMT

 

But this year FM said 1208 LMT for paddy + wheat!

Source: http://fci.gov.in/app/webroot/upload/Procurement/paddy%20proc.%2010%20yrs_1.pdf

https://fci.gov.in/app/webroot/upload/Procurement/Agency%20wise%20wheat-10%20Years.pdf

 

 

PSS-MIS scheme (Price Support Scheme & Market Intervention Scheme)

Budget Exp.          Actual/Revised Exp.

2019-20:     3000 cr                   2020 cr

2020-21:     2000 cr                     996 cr

2021-22:     1500 cr                   3596 cr

2022-23:     1500 cr

 

PM-AASHA scheme for implementing MSP

Budget Exp.          Actual/Revised Exp.

2019-20:     1500 cr                   313 cr

2020-21:      500 cr                    300 cr

2021-22:      400 cr                    001 cr

2022-23       001 cr