Refraining from providing a direct answer if farmers’ income has doubled, the Government on Tuesday told the Parliament that several steps have been taken subsequent to the decision to double farmers’ income. Stating that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has compiled success stories of 75,000 farmers, several of whom have reported over two times growth in income.

Replying to several questions related to farmers’ income in the Lok Sabha, Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda said based on the Situation Assessment Survey (SAS) of Agricultural Households, the average monthly income has increased from  ₹6,426 in 2012-13 to ₹10,218 in 2018-19, which is an increase of 59 per cent.

Listing the ministry’s schemes, Munda said the government’s efforts have led to an average annual growth rate of 4 per cent over the past five years in the GVA of the agriculture and allied sector. “Implementation of these schemes has yielded remarkable results towards augmenting the income of the farmers. As part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, ICAR has released a book, which contains compilation of success stories of 75,000 farmers out of innumerable successful farmers who have increased their income more than two times,” he said.

Seven income growth sources

The minister said the government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee in April 2016 to examine issues relating to “Doubling of Farmers Income (DFI)” and recommend strategies to achieve the same. The Committee submitted its final report in September2018 containing the recommendations.

He said the DFI Committee has identified seven sources of income growth — Increase in crop productivity, increase in livestock productivity, resource use efficiency (reduction in cost of production), increase in cropping intensity, diversification to high-value agriculture, remunerative prices on farmers’ produce and shift of surplus manpower from farm to non-farm occupations — to achieve the objective.

Accordingly, there has been substantial enhancement in the budget allocation of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare from ₹27,662.67 crore (BE) during 2013-14 to ₹1,25,035.79 crore (BE) in 2023-24, he said, adding the Ministry of Cooperation, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, and Department of Fisheries were earlier integral parts of the Ministry of Agriculture in 2013-14. In a separate reply, Munda said in the four years between 2019-20 and 2022-23, against the revised allocation of ₹4,77,780.6 crore made for the Agriculture Ministry, the actual expenditure was ₹4,49,869.3 crore, while ₹27,911.22 crore was unutilised.

However, the minister clarified that allocation for North-Eastern States, Development Action Plan for Scheduled Castes (DAPSC) and Development Action Plan for Scheduled Tribes (DAPST) are earmarked in line with the existing guidelines and the Ministry ensures that funds earmarked under these heads are utilised effectively.

Munda said the expenditure on farmers’ welfare in the country has increased manifold in 2022-23 — ₹6.5 lakh crore was spent. He listed expenses on several schemes and subsidies that the government spent on its programmes.