Central Schemes for Farmers Welfare and Agriculture Growth

Farmers farming Early morning

Agriculture forms about 13.6% of India’s GDP (as on June 2016). Due to the prolonged and manufactured negative publicity against the Central Government, the knowledge of most of the Central schemes have not reached the concerned people. A good number of people from the states of Mizoram, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka are alleging that the Centre had not done enough for the welfare of Farmers or for the growth of Agriculture. However their demands are something that have been already initiated and in action. Hence, what is lacking is the awareness on those schemes.

We present before you, the various schemes initiated by Central Government for the benefit of farmers since the year 1998. The schemes are presented in reverse chronological order, with most recent scheme listed at the top. Great schemes initiated by state governments may also figure in the list.

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A2 Milk Unit (Milk from Native Breeds sourced from Farmers):

November 2016 – BJP (Narendra Modi)

This scheme is primarily intended for three reasons.

  1. Promote Native Cow Breeds.
  2. Increase income for Farmers by mandating a direct sourcing clause.
  3. Promote good health for people, especially children

Under this scheme, the state Milk cooperative society (like Amul, Nandini, Aavin etc.,) would produce pure milk that are directly obtained from Native Indian Cow breeds. Also, it is mandated that the state Milk cooperative societies should source the milk directly from Farmers who has native breed of cows. After rigorous quality checks, the society would pay the farmer a good sum of money and will sell it for a small margin. This milk is expected to be priced more (such as Rs.70/- per litre) so that farmers get a good income by maintaining native breed of cows.

This scheme is in pilot stage at the moment. The first pilot is at Amul milk unit at Gujarat. If this scheme is successful it will be replicated across the country.

Government wants indigenous (native) cattle breeds to be promoted: http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/milk-gets-a-swadeshi-nudge-govt-wants-indigenous-cattle-to-get-preference-116122600049_1.html

 

River Interlinking Scheme (Inter-basin Water Transfer):

July 2016 – BJP (Narendra Modi)(Relaunch)

The current Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had interlinking Narmada and Sabarmati rivers in his state of Gujarat, when he was the chief minister, during 2003. This greatly improved the revenue of the farmers there by increasing their quality of life. Seeing this success, the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ideated the River Interlinking Scheme across the nation in 2004.

However his government failed to get a second term and as a result the work on this was very slow. After Shri Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, one of the first task was to initiate a task force for interlinking of rivers. The task force gave their reports on July 2016 after a 1.5 year study. Under this scheme, Ganga and Brahmaputra may be linked to central rivers. In the south, Kaveri and Periyaaru may be linked to Vaigai. Godavari may be linked to Krishna in Andhra (which was successfully executed by the Chief Minister Shri Chandrababu Naidu).

It is expected that this project may take at least 8-10 years to complete, if the government does not change.

https://www.rt.com/news/343635-india-river-linking-drought/

https://www.bna.com/indias-audacious-riverlinking-n57982072325/ (Bloomberg)

 

National Agriculture Market:

April 2016 – BJP (Narendra Modi)

This scheme has the potential to revolutionize agriculture market. This scheme is in line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision to double the income of farmers.

However, the scheme is too futuristic for majority of farmers. However, 21 mandis from 8 states have been benefited by this scheme in a huge way. The scheme aims at opening up “e-trading” avenues to market their produce directly, thereby eliminating middle men in the deal. This scheme can reduce corruption in the process and can benefit the consumer too. However the scheme is too futuristic at this stage.

Prime Minister’s page: http://www.narendramodi.in/pm-modi-at-the-launch-of-national-agriculture-market-nam-in-new-delhi-440352

Press Information: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=133861

 

Latur Drought Management:

March 2016 – BJP (Devendra Phadnavis)(Maharashtra State)

This is not a scheme but a case study. Latur at Maharashtra faced worst drought in decades. The Government of Maharashtra handled the drought in an interesting way. Railways were effectively utilized. Several trains carrying loads of water were brought about from several other parts of the country were water were surplus. These trains were special and were labelled “Jaldoot”. Water were sourced from North-eastern districts that were facing flood warnings. The Government of Maharashtra footed the bills for the trains. It is a showcase of State-Central cooperation and a successful federal setup.

Once the water situation eased a little, the Government started digging canals and were completed in record pace. Subsequently it rained heavily and the canals carried the water to various water storage areas constructed by the government. As a result, drought ended and water became a surplus commodity.

Eventually the residents of Latur rewarded the BJP government by electing them in the local elections held few days back with an overwhelming majority (38 seats). It is to be noted that Latur never had BJP presence and BJP scored a Zero last time. It used to be a Congress strong hold. Congress came second with 31 seats.

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/jaldoot-paved-way-for-bjps-success-in-drought-hit-latur/18021158

 

Krishi Sinchai Yojana:

July 2015 – BJP (Narendra Modi)

This scheme is to improve the irrigation system and water conservation for farmlands. This inline with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of doubling farmer’s income by 2022.

Agriculture gets impacted due to inadequate rains. Only 40 per cent of the country’s area under agriculture is irrigated. This scheme aims at bridging that gap.

More details of this scheme can be seen at Govenment’s portal : http://pmksy.gov.in/

 

Atal Pension Yojana:

May 2015 – BJP (Narendra Modi)

This is a pension scheme aimed to cover poor people including poor farmers. By paying just ₹200/- Per Month (if the person is 18 years of age), a monthly income of ₹5,000/- is ensured after his 60 years of age. The monthly income will be deposited in to the bank account of the pensioner. With age, the monthly amount may increase.

To know more on the scheme, follow the Government portal: https://npscra.nsdl.co.in/scheme-details.php

To know about the slabs: https://www.icicibank.com/Personal-Banking/account-deposit/pension-schemes/atal-pension-yojana/index.page

 

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana

May 2015 – BJP (Narendra Modi)

This scheme is an opportunity for poor people and poor farmers to expand their business or agriculture. Under this scheme, amounts ranging from ₹50,000 to ₹10 Lakhs (₹10,00,000) can be availed under a “free credit” option with very low interest rate.

The initial interest rate is fixed at 7%. However, if the person pays his interest promptly an additional 3% waiver is provided on the interest.

About ₹1 Lakh Crores have been disbursed so far under this scheme and several lakhs of them have been benefited.

To know more on this scheme: http://www.mudra.org.in/

 

Soil Health Card Scheme:

January 2015 – BJP (Narendra Modi)(Relaunch)

An oft neglected aspect is the quality of soil. This scheme attempts to fix that problem.  This scheme is one of the attempts by the current Government to introduce scientific Farming techniques.

Soil Health Card is a “certificate” that a farmer can obtain to analyze his quality of Soil.

12 parameters are mentioned in the Soil Health Card that is issued to the farmers.

    • Nitrogen
    • Potassium
    • Phosphorous
    • Sulphur
    • Zinc
    • Iron
    • Copper
    • Manganese
    • Boron
    • pH
    • Electrical Conductivity,
    • Organic Carbon
    • Water Retention Capacity

Based on this, the Soil Health Card will also indicate fertilizer recommendations and planning required for the farm.

Soil health cards were in use since 2003 (Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s initiative) and followed by UPA government (Shri Manmohan Singh put efforts in propagating it). However the scientific parameters were missing in the card at that time. The card did not provide any recommendations either. All these were fixed by the current government which made the scheme actually usable. Hence the scheme is credited to the current government.

Scheme Details (Government Portal): http://www.soilhealth.dac.gov.in/

 

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Crop Insurance):

January 2015 – BJP (Narendra Modi)(Relaunch)

This is a grand crop insurance scheme that vastly improves existing National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (brought about by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Government). Under this scheme, the farmer can insure his land for an amount (the cap is removed under this scheme) he can afford. In case of crop failure due to drought, floods or market fluctuations the amount insured can be royally claimed and will be transferred directly to the bank account. Also, under this scheme, individual farmlands are covered. In the previous scheme only a cluster is covered. That is, if there is a flood the whole district may have to be affected. But in the improved scheme, even if one farmland is damaged, the insurance can be claimed for that farmland.

This move is the solution to cure the problem of farmer suicides. States like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have enrolled a large number of farmers into this scheme. However states like Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala lag behind.

More details of this scheme can be viewed on the Government portal – https://india.gov.in/spotlight/pradhan-mantri-fasal-bima-yojana

 

Mandatory Neem Coating on Fertilizers:

May 2015 – BJP (Narendra Modi)

This is not exactly a scheme but an order that mandates that Neem extract (such as oil) has to be coated on the urea that is predominantly used as a fertilizer. The idea is to limit the “influence” of harmful chemicals in the farm produce. This scheme is inline with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of doubling farmer’s income.

As an apparent benefit, for the first time in history of independent India, agriculture production has increased but fertilizer consumption had decreased. Previous to this order, both agriculture produce and fertilizer consumption would proportionally increase or decrease.

This has caused a 36% decrease in fertilizer consumption: http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/economy/urea-imports-drop-by-36april-january-1004698.html

 

Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (Rural Electrification):

May 2015 – BJP (Narendra Modi) (Relaunch)

This is a rural electrification program and works in tandem with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision to double the income of farmers. As on May, 2014 several villages in India did not have electricity connection even after 68 years of Independence. As a result, farmers in those regions were using low productive tools for farming.

In 2014, Government had previously identified 18,452 villages that did not have electricity as yet. This scheme is launched with an intent to electrify all these villages within 1000 days. As of now, 12,500+ villages have been electrified. The Government has run short of its target of 1000 days. However, it is good to note that work is progressing quite well and that it had achieved almost 68% of its target.

A previous scheme launched by the UPA-2 government saw no progress. The current govenrment’s scheme encompasses the previous scheme and expands on it.

Government Portal (Power Ministry) Link: http://powermin.nic.in/en/content/deendayal-upadhyaya-gram-jyoti-yojana-ddugjy

Also, under this scheme it is envisaged that 24 hour electricity be provided for most households by 2019. It is heartening to note that the incidents of power outages have been reduced.

 

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (Organic Farming):

April 2015 – BJP (Narendra Modi)

This scheme aims at promoting organic and traditional farming methods that are native to India. This is not a contrast to scientific farming initiatives launched by the government, but complements it. The current Government aims to cut down the fertilizer usage and schemes such as this one and mandatory neem coating, may help in realizing that goal.

Under this scheme, fifty or more farmers will form a cluster totaling over 50 acres of land. The whole land will then be exclusively used for organic farming. This way, since the last three years, 10,000 clusters were formed covering 5 Lakh acres of land under organic farming.

Under this scheme, each farmer is provided a subsidy of Rs.20,000 per year for three years. The farmer can use this for buying organic seeds and for harvesting of crops.

Press Information about the scheme: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=118622

 

Gramin Bhandaran Yojana (Rural Godowns):

April 2013 – Congress (Manmohan Singh)

Under this Scheme, government provides supports to an individual, a company, a farmer , local government, NGOs and various associations, if they build or renovate rural godowns. Government will provide 25% of the capital investment made in such a venture. If the Godown is built or renovated by a woman farmer, the government support is 33.33% of the total capital investment.

This scheme is to address the storage and standardization of farm produce.

Several people who can afford to own a godown, got benefited under this scheme.

Government Portal (Press Information Bureau): http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=96201

 

Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme:

February 2008 – Congress (Manmohan Singh)

This is an one shot Agriculture Debt waiver scheme. Government figures peg the numbers at ₹52,000 Crores. This caused a huge stress in the finances of the country. The final tally of the scheme crossed ₹72000 Crores – when considered the direct and indirect impact.

But the scheme had not actually solved the problem. Even after this, after a couple of years, farmer suicides continued to rise. A comprehensive scheme like the crop insurance scheme may be a better idea to resolve the issue of farmer suicides. Waivers are not the solution.

This scheme was heavily criticized by all sections of people including educated farmers. This scheme excluded private borrowings. Most of the poor farmers borrow from private loan vendors. This scheme had enriched those farmers who could have repaid the loan even without this scheme.

Government portal of the Scheme: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=104122

RBI Governor’s criticism on the scheme: http://www.firstpost.com/business/debt-waiver-schemes-benefited-farmers-says-raghuram-rajan-2019043.html

 

National Horticulture Mission:

July 2005 – Congress (Manmohan Singh)

National Horticulture Mission is implemented by State Horticulture Missions in selected districts of 18 States and four Union Territories.

This scheme aims to augment production of all horticultural products (fruits, vegetables, flowers, coco,cashew nut,plantation crops, spices, medicinal aromatic plants) in the state and also to increase employment opportunities.

Official Website: http://nhm.nic.in/

 

Mandatory Rainwater Harvesting Scheme:

September 2001 – AIADMK (Jayalalitha)(Tamilnadu State)

This was a bold scheme and it mandated Rainwater Harvesting system in each household at the expense of the owner. Thereby Government did not incur any loss due to this scheme. Due to this scheme, the level of groundwater visibly rose and dry wells were starting to hold water.

Link of the scheme: http://www.tn.gov.in/dtp/rainwater.htm

 

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana:

December 2000 – BJP (Atal Bihari Vajpayee)

The motive of this scheme is to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages. Shri Vajpayee initiated “Golden Quadrilateral Scheme” to build six lane roads for the first time in India, connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Gujarat to Mizoram. But under this scheme, rural roads was constructed that improved rural connectivity.

This scheme reduced the cost and time in farmers monetizing their farm produce. This scheme had seen a great amount of success in several states. But because 40% of the cost is to be state funded – some states saw no progress.

The current government is focused on this scheme as this falls inline with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision to double farmer’s income.

Government Portal Link (Ministry): http://www.pmgsy.nic.in/

 

Farmer’s Direct Market:

June 1999 – DMK (Karunanidhi)(Tamilnadu State)

In 1999, DMK supremo Karunanidhi who was the then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu launched this scheme at Madurai, Tamilnadu. Since then the scheme expanded to few other places across Tamilnadu. The idea is to provide a “sales” window to farmers to directly sell their produce to prospective customers.

Link of the scheme: http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/agricultural_marketing/agrimark_Farmers%20market.html

 

Kisan Credit Card Scheme:

August 1998 – BJP (Atal Bihari Vajpayee)

Under this scheme, NABARD and few other Indian banks provide a credit card capped at 6% per annum interest exclusively for farmers. The scheme has short term credit limits for crops, and term loans. KCC credit holders are covered under personal accident insurance up to ₹50,000 for death and permanent disability, and up to ₹25,000 for other risk. The premium is borne by both the bank and borrower in a 2:1 ratio.

Link of the Scheme: http://www.bankofindia.co.in/english/KisanCreditCard.aspx