Desi remedy for farm sector : FM must raise funding solution for farm sector need

Shivaji Sarkar *

The agricultural sector anticipates a significant shift towards a ‘desi farm economy’ and increased budget allocations in the upcoming fiscal year.

This prospect is not merely wishful thinking; it aligns with the objectives outlined in the 2017 Niti Ayog paper, which aimed to double farm income. However, the recent budget for 2023-24 witnessed a reduction in allocations from Rs 1.33 lakh crore to Rs 1.25 lakh crore, marking a decrease of Rs 8 lakh crore or one percent.

This reduction is noteworthy as the agricultural sector received only 2.78 percent of the total budget, down from 3.78 percent in the previous fiscal year.

In the 2021-22 budget, allocations were initially set at Rs 1.33 lakh crore but were later revised to Rs 1.18 lakh crore due to unspent funds. The 2023-24 budget indicates a Rs 3 lakh crore increase, primarily directed towards interest subventions, signalling a concerning rise in farmers’ debts.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman prepares an election budget, and as a matter of convention it limits the introduction of new measures.

However, considering the crucial role of the agriculture sector, accounting for over 54 percent or approximately 78 crore people, it deserves special attention. The Economic Survey for 2023-24 highlights a decline in public spending in the sector to 4 percent in 2022-23, following prolonged farmer protests against market reforms.

Despite the repeal of the three farm bills, corrective measures are essential to ensure farmers’ independence from large organized business sectors. The Indian farm sector is grappling with severe economic distress, exemplified by over 296,438 suicides by farmers during 1995-2013 and 100,474 between 2014 and 2022.

An average growth of farming family incomes had an average growth of 0.44 percent between 2011-16, according to Niti Ayog.

The developed world shows that small farmers are out of agriculture and have not been able to increase farm incomes. The US itself has a mere 1.5 percent in agriculture and facing difficult situations.

The current climate scenario further exacerbates challenges, with the potential for drought-like conditions and a decline in rabi yields. The dependence on rain-fed agriculture remains a concern, mirroring trends in neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Agricultural production, particularly wheat, has faced setbacks due to unexpected weather patterns. In March 2022, a heatwave led to an 11 percent lower-than-anticipated wheat yield, contributing to a decline in production. Similarly, heavy rainfall in October 2022 and subsequent years affected various crops, highlighting the vulnerability of the agriculture sector to climate fluctuations.

Price volatility in essential commodities like potatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger further compounds the challenges faced by farmers. The Reserve Bank of India’s firming up of interest rates adds to the burdens faced by both the farm and industrial sectors.

Despite the worsening climate situation, the budget for National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) has seen a reduction from Rs 50 crore to Rs 41 crore undermining efforts to address climate challenges in farming.

The total wheat production in the country has been steadily rising at 3 percent CAGR between 2014-15 and 2021-22. As per the Indian Meteorological Department, certain areas in India experienced a heatwave in March 2022.The maximum temperature was 33 degree Celsius, 2 degrees more than normal.

As per a study by the US Foreign Agricultural Service, wheat yield in March 2022, in wheat growing areas was 11 percent lower than anticipated. Wheat production declined by two million tonnes in 2021-22. Similarly, in the first two weeks of October 2022, crops such as paddy, cotton, blackgram, vegetables, soybean, and bajra were affected across five states due to heavy rainfall.The 2023 has not been different.

Fluctuating yields of Vegetables like potato, onions, garlic and ginger are causing price volatility. This season also witnessed farmers throwing away cauliflower and tomato, though retail prices remain high. This is a concern of the RBI, which is gradually firming up the interest rates causing burden for the farm and industrial sectors alike.

The policy direction advocated by the Niti Ayog 2017 report, aiming to shift 40 crore farm labour to low-wage urban employment, has not yielded the intended results. Instead, it has displaced farm labourers, increased migration, and raised labour costs for the agricultural sector. This flawed policy, influenced by international organizations like the World Bank, has been counterproductive and needs correction.

Depletion of dependence on the farm sector has not proved profitable for the economy. The developed countries are suffering because of this policy. Farm gate prices remained static from 1985 to2005 at $ 23 in India and more or less elsewhere in the world, according to UNCTAD.

Minister for Agriculture Narendra Tomar told the Rajya Sabha on December 16, 2022 that average monthly income per agricultural household as per NSO is Rs 10218, an average Rs 2.2 lakh a year, about Rs 2000 a month per person for a family of five.

The Economic Survey in 2016 says in 2016 it was Rs 1700. The farmers find Rs 6000 a year Kisan Nidhi pension and free food dole a great relief. One forgets that they cannot afford the food they themselves produce. What farmer sells for Rs 2 is sold to retailers at varying prices of Rs 30 to 100.

The road sector, seen as a beneficiary for farmers selling land, often proves detrimental due to toll expenses. The road expansion, touted for benefits, causes severe inflation. The Consumer Price Index touched an all-time high of 186.3 points in July 2023, with an average inflation of 5.5 percent, resulting in a cumulative 33 percent rise in prices between 2016 and 2022.

The farmers losses are high, consumers pay through the nose and the Government debts increase phenomenally.This situation demands introspection. Despite private investments not increasing, expenses on infrastructure and tolls are escalating. Sitharaman must reassess farm economics to correct the budgetary course.

A comprehensive review and revamp of policies are essential to align with the agricultural base, fostering the ‘desi economy’. This shift could pave the way for genuine growth and happiness amid global turmoil.

* Shivaji Sarkar wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on February 05 2024 .

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #14 :: Book
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • 174th Anniv Maharaj Narasingh #1 : Gallery
  • Ensuring Fair Voting in Hills of Manipur
  • Dr Irengbam Mohendra's latest book :: Rvw
  • NDA has the advantage in both
  • Lok Sabha polls in Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • L Rup's Robot 'Kangleinganbi' in Manipuri
  • Art- means of connecting hearts in Manipur
  • Is it Living Alive or Living Death ? :: Poem
  • Rabies - A preventable zoonotic disease
  • April 19, 2024: The blackest day of all
  • Ugly turns on voting day
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • The chasm between TB & HIV continues
  • Parliament and its Members
  • Kimchi for health and glowing skin
  • LS election with a difference
  • To vote, or not to vote ?
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamjao, Kakching
  • The Power of Poppy - 27 :: Poem
  • Mother Language based education essential
  • Modi's warriors wear regional hats
  • Nest Asia promoting Northeastern Cuisine
  • Now look beyond LS poll
  • The rot in the system
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laitonjam Warjeet
  • Community seed bank @Umathel : Gallery
  • 10 candidates cracked Civil Services Exam
  • Milk of Paradise: History of Opium : Rvw
  • How plastics find their way into our bodies
  • Condemning attack on Trucks along NH-37
  • Cong looking to buck the trend
  • Saving Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #2
  • Election Duty :: Travellog
  • 1st Nagas' Meet in Punjab
  • How to select right MP to represent Manipur
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Tejpur
  • Bats are Keystone species for the Planet
  • The '15 days' conundrum
  • Free but not so fair
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #30: Download
  • Before You Vote : My Rumbling Thoughts
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Kakching
  • Meiraba wins All India Sr tournament
  • Finding light in dark through my daughter
  • Navigating life's unreasonable expectations
  • Test of people's character
  • BJP's election manifesto
  • Athoubasingi Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Black rice & Glycemic Index
  • What Nadda should speak at Dimapur rally
  • Open Letter to CM Office Manipur
  • Meghalaya unveils Strawberry festival
  • Benefits of maths newspapers for students
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta #1 : Gallery
  • Are you a good person ?
  • Physics Academy of NE : Executive Body
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Moirang
  • Cherrapunji Eastern Craft Gin launched
  • Cong on cautious path
  • Botox for Hair
  • Posers voters should raise now
  • The lull before the storm
  • 80th Anniv- Battle of Kanglatongbi @UK
  • Vir Chakra Ngangom Joydutta's bust unveiled
  • Hun - Thadou Cultural Festival : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Singjamei
  • Election Eclipses: Ballad of Battle & Loss
  • Our voices are equal at the ballot box
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Urgent Call for Solidarity in Manipur
  • Meitei Nongsha #2 :: An Artwork
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Waikhong
  • About NPF-BJP-NPP alliance & why ?
  • World Veterinary Day, 2024
  • The heavy stake behind the LS polls
  • The politics of lying & deception
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Hun-Thadou Cultural Fest @ Delhi: Report
  • Appeal to Parties & Candidates
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wangoo
  • Establishment of community seed bank
  • Awareness Programme on new Criminal Laws
  • Make a right choice at the Lok Sabha election
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #1
  • RIST talk-58 : Support systems of elderly
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Vote, do not boycott !
  • Lok Sabha election: A new dawn in politics ?
  • IIT-Guwahati Half Marathon report
  • Taking ST demand to the election ring
  • Lesson to be learnt from across border
  • Mirabai: Poised for Paris Olympics
  • Legal position for protection of environment
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Keisamthong
  • Heterocyclic compound & biochemical science
  • Inner, torn between two lovers
  • Certification Music Therapy Workshop
  • NOTA as a choice
  • Caesar's wife must be above suspicion
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #29: Download
  • World Health Day 2024
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Pangantabi
  • The Power of Poppy - 26 :: Poem
  • Fulbright Fellowship Outreach at Arunachal
  • Id-ul Fitr da namaz nattana..
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #13 :: Book
  • Lok Sabha election is coming, be prepared
  • 6th Hun-Thadou Cultural Festival
  • Let There Be Free & Fair Election
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamlong
  • Science magazines are important for student
  • Interesting choice of candidates
  • The power of We, the voters
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur #1
  • The Case for Amendment of Article 371-C
  • Meitei Nongsha #1 :: Artwork
  • Link between forest & conflict in Manipur
  • Final Call for Application MFA - Phase-2
  • ST for Meiteis call before elections
  • Passing the buck
  • Beating of the Retreat #1 : Gallery
  • Life of our Lives in Ethnic Strife Era! :: Poem
  • IIT-Guwahati annual Half Marathon
  • Follow up: European Parliament on Manipur
  • Yoga & Kegel exercise: Pelvic floor workout
  • Opting for the NOTA button
  • Yearning of the displaced people
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • 5th NE Women's Peace Congregation
  • World Autism Awareness Day 2024
  • Election fever grips Manipur despite unrest
  • Looking for a decent election hustings
  • Clock ticking towards voting day
  • An exemplary directive
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Memo to Election Commission of India
  • Easter & Holi echo in Nilgiris
  • Holiday Camp for children at JNMDA, Imphal
  • Zero waste is our moral responsibility
  • Elections & loyalty vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • Show of strength without unity
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #2 : Gallery
  • Panthoi Chanu : 1st to play in Australia
  • Intensive labs in film preservation
  • Building bridges with books
  • Need of the hour: Political maturity
  • Accepting defeat before the election
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #28: Download
  • April Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Natural packaging from bamboo : Gallery
  • The Power of Poppy - 25 :: Poem
  • Everyone has their own Bharat Ratna
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #12 :: Book
  • Demand- Manipuri as classical language
  • The Drummer from Odisha
  • Beauty benefits of lemon
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur's original Ponies : Gallery
  • Yaoshang & Dance of Democracy loom
  • Symposium on Jagadguru Shankaracharya
  • Choosing ITI as a campus after X
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang @Nabadwip Dham : Gallery
  • How oral health affects your pregnancy
  • Two faces of Holi
  • Prawaas 4.0, Multimodal Transport Show
  • A decade of development of higher education
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #1 : Gallery
  • Our Eternal Kangleipak :: Poem
  • Micro-livestock for livelihoods: For NE States
  • The fun of Holi used to be monotonous
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • About the "Meitei" community from Manipur
  • Unveiling the medicinal benefits of honey
  • The incalculable value of wildlife
  • Promises of true love
  • Trends, Alliances, & Challenges in Elections
  • Meitei Goddess Ngaleima : An Artwork
  • Water is the most precious gift of God
  • Bharat needs a strong 'India'
  • Transformation of railway stations
  • Not quite the final countdown
  • Missing of 'The Saffron' from electoral colour
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #27: Download
  • 3rd North East Games: Manipur champion
  • The Power of Poppy - 24 :: Poem
  • EBTC & JCRE signed MoU
  • Early Detection Program at Toubul
  • How Holi affects our mood & mental health
  • Lamta Thangja @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur cinema legacy shines at ARCUREA
  • The pulse of politics amidst conflict
  • Forest is most important vital organ of Earth
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Politics of naming candidates
  • Disappearing of spring from season cycle
  • Meira Paibis of Manipur
  • Demand for ST status by Meiteis
  • Project Personal Opening @Assam University
  • World Poetry Day at Manipur University
  • Green skills for sustainable world
  • Supportive interventions during exam time
  • Interesting run up to LS polls
  • Onus definitely on PM to restore peace
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #11 :: Book
  • Water, water everywhere ...
  • 21st March - A special day for Forest
  • RI imprisonment to Rapists at Silchar
  • Arrests threaten fragile ceasefire
  • The Valor Within :: Poem
  • Monitoring the rehab centres
  • True colour of politicians
  • North East Film Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Linthoingambi- 'Jury Honourable Mention'
  • Meitei Goddess Phouoibi : An Artwork #3
  • Formation of Wesean Student Federation
  • 20th March- International Day of Happiness
  • A call to first time voter youths
  • Playing the card close to its chest
  • Targeting FOCS and ITLF
  • Students @ Class X Exam : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Kangla : Gallery
  • Special scholarship scheme for girls
  • Imphal Book Fair 2023 #3 : Gallery
  • Protest for scrapping SoO #2 :Gallery
  • Maharaj Narasingh Statue @Kangla :Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri : Gallery
  • N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #1: Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #3 : Gallery
  • Naorem Roshibina- Wushu Medallist : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD