While presenting the first budget of the NDA government, finance minister Arun Jaitley made it clear that the Modi-led government is committed for upliftment of the farming community. In the budget, he reiterated the promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Keeping its commitment, the government took various measures in the last 4 and half years. Some of the initiatives taken by the government are bringing all APMCs under electronic trading platform through eNAM, Fasal Bima Yojana, increasing MSP 1.5 times of cost of production, increasing agricultural credit facility etc.
During the latest cabinet meeting held on September 12, 2018, the government approved a new umbrella scheme “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA). The scheme is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce as announced in the Union Budget 2018.
The scheme PM-AASHA includes the following:
1. Price Support Scheme (PSS)
2. Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
3. Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS)
Price Support Scheme (PSS)
Under this scheme, the existing method of procurement of paddy, wheat and nutri-cereals/cereals will be through the department of food and public distribution (DFPD) and cotton through ministry of textiles. These procurements will be done through government nodal agencies such and NAFED and FCI.
Price Deficiency Payment Scheme
This scheme will cover all oilseeds for which MSP is fixed. Under this scheme, farmers will get direct payment of difference between MSP and selling price. To avail this benefit, farmers are required to register themselves in the notified markets and sell their produce through transparent auction system. All payment will be done directly into the registered bank account of the farmer. This scheme was adopted by the Madhya Pradesh government under the name Bhavantar Bhugatan Yojana (BBY).
Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPSS)
Till now, the government was involved in procurement of essential commodities through its nodal agencies at MSP from the farmers when the price of the produce falls below MSP. Now, with introduction of PPSS, state governments can permit private players to produce oilseeds at MSP. This scheme will be launched on a pilot basis in selected districts/APMCs. The selected districts/APMCs will cover one or more than one oilseeds. Since this is similar to PSS, the physical procurement in selected districts/APMCs is substituted by PPSS.
Apart from the above mentioned schemes, the other schemes available for upliftment of farming fraternity are Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, 2017, Model Contract Farming and Services Act, 2018, setting up of Gramin Agriculture Markets (GrAMs) to give proximity access to farmers to sell their produce. Besides, several other pro-farmers’ initiatives such as implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri KrishiSinchai Yojana, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and distribution of Soil Health Cards have been undertaken.
The author is the DGM of Karvy Comtrade Limited