Impossible to double farmers’ income by 2022: PC

Impossible to double farmers’ income by 2022: PC

P Chidambaram

Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday contested Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 and said it was impossible to do that even several years beyond 2022.

“In the last five years, agriculture sector income growth has been 2.8%. If the farm income has to double in three years, it has to grow by about 16% a year (compounded). Now, it has to grow by about 30% in the remaining period to reach that level, which is just impossible.

DH Exclusive | Top 3 issues in 2019 polls are jobs, jobs and jobs: PC

“Farm income will not double by the date they have set for themselves and it may not even double for several years thereafter,” he told DH.

The senior Union minister said the whole approach of the NDA to calculate farmer’s income based only on the agricultural produce was flawed.

“That is a wrong approach. In fact, what we need to argue is how will the farm income and non-farm incomes of the farmer together get doubled,” he said.

On the contrary, Chidambaram said if his party came to power after elections, it would ensure that the farm income is duly supplemented with non-farm income and off-farm income.

According to estimates, the real income of farmers, adjusted for inflation, would remain close to their 2016 income levels until the basic issues of input cost, MSP and infrastructure are addressed.

Increasing input costs such as seeds, fertilisers and irrigation, an absence of market infrastructure and warehouse facilities have been the major impediments in doubling farmers incomes.

‘85% do not benefit from it’

Though the Centre has introduced the crop insurance scheme about three years ago, 85% of farmers do not benefit from that.

On MGNREGA, Chidambaram said the Modi government reluctantly continued with the UPA scheme because if they had removed that, there was a fear that hunger would return.