At a time India’s farm crisis deepens and farmers protest across the country, Niti Aayog member Prof Ramesh Chand on Tuesday said that farmers in India are being spoilt by politicians through populist measures such as loan waivers, which can have an adverse impact on the agriculture sector in the long run.
The agriculture expert also said farmers are not “as excited about increasing agricultural production as they were at the time of Green Revolution”. He was delivering the first Dadabhai Naoraji lecture on the issues of inequality and growth in the agricultural and rural sectors, at the National Institute for Advanced Studies in New Delhi.
The Niti Aayog member has also said that states must go for more progressive reforms such as a model contract farming law, to accelerate agricultural growth and reduce inequities, Indian Express reported.
Largely, farmers of this country are being spoilt by politicians through their commitment to populism. This will be adverse for this sector. Expectations of farmers are becoming more and more unreasonable. They want free water, free fertiliser; they want loan waivers, and they want governments to pay 50 percent of price of the cost of production. No country can meet these kind of thingsRamesh Chand, Niti Aayog member
Niti Aayog estimates income from agriculture per cultivator in India as Rs 9,761. Chand further added if a farmer has no other sources of income then as many as 53 percent of farmers are below the poverty line.
“This speaks of a need to take farmers out of agriculture, or creating norms for employment for them. Even if we consider non-farm income of farmers, 22.5 percent of farmers on an average are below the poverty line. In some states it is as high as 45 percent,’’ Chand was quoted by the daily.
After 1991, non-agriculture growth began accelerating and agricultural growth remained at around 2.8 per cent. If you take the co-relation between growth rate of the two sectors over a 10-year period, we see that it was 0.9 (per cent) till 1991 and a constant…it has now suddenly dropped, and is now 0.4 per centRamesh Chand, Niti Aayog member
According to him inequality in income distribution between agricultural sector and other sectors has aggravated after 1991 due to lopsided reforms of, which have not touched the agriculture sector.
“Reforms were done in the non-agricultural sector but not in agriculture. As a result, there is no modern capital or new ideas coming into the sector. There is no competition, and between the producer and consumers there are five to six intermediaries,’’ he added.