Agriculture and farmers are backbone of rural economy. With a view to provide income support to farmers’ families across the country, to enable them to take care of expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs, Government launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN). Under the scheme, an amount of Rs. 6000/- is transferred directly into the bank accounts of farmers’ families every year, in three 4-monthly installments of Rs. 2000/- each. Farmers falling within the purview of exclusion criteria relating to higher income status are not eligible to get the benefit. Land owning farmers practicing animal husbandry and fisheries may also avail the benefit of this scheme subject to the exclusion criteria of the scheme.
Government has also been taking various other long term sustainable measures to boost agriculture productivity and farmers’ income and rural economy. For example:
(i) With a view to provide better insurance coverage to crops for risk mitigation, a crop insurance scheme namely Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has been launched, which provides insurance cover for all stages of the crop cycle including postharvest risks in specified instances, with low premium contribution by farmers.
(ii) Minimum Support Price (MSPs) are announced for various crops from time-to- time.
(iii) Scheme of Soil Health Cards (SHC) has been implemented so that the use of fertilizers can be rationalized.
(iv) “Per drop more crop” initiative has been undertaken under which drip/sprinkler irrigation is encouraged for optimal utilization of water, reducing cost of inputs and increasing productivity.
(v) Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) has been implemented for promoting organic farming.
(vi) e-NAM initiative has been undertaken to provide farmers an electronic, transparent and competitive online trading platform.
(vii) Agro forestry has been promoted under “Har Medh Par Ped” for additional income.
(viii) An Umbrella Scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PMAASHA) has been launched, aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers.
(ix) Bee keeping has been promoted under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) to increase the productivity of crops through pollination and increase the honey production as an additional source of income of farmers.
(x) The scheme of Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) has been implemented for easy availability of agricultural credit to farmers, including animal husbandry and fisheries farmers.
(xi) Institutional agricultural credit at affordable interests has been brought within the reach of more and more farmers. Government provides interest subvention of 2% on short-term crop loans up to Rs.3.00 lakh. Presently, loan is available to farmers at an interest rate of 4% per annum on prompt repayment.
(xii) Further, under Interest Subvention Scheme 2018-19, in order to provide relief to the farmers on occurrence of natural calamities, the interest subvention of 2% has been made available for the first year on the restructured amount. In order to discourage distress sale by farmers and to encourage them to store their produce in warehouses against negotiable receipts, the benefit of interest subvention will be available to small and marginal farmers having Kisan Credit Cards for a further period of upto six months post harvest on the same rate as available to crop loan.
Further measures may be considered from time to time for enhancing the financial condition of farmers and to boost rural economy.