Monday, October 3, 2011

Direct cash transfer for farmer’s family welfare

We have been discussing various farmers’ issues from past few years i.e. remunerative price, simple interest loans and all kind of subsidies… no favorable progress in this direction. The conclusion what do farmers expect is a stable income to lead their quality life just the same as others in the society. Each and every profession has its own remuneration for their service and the same way all kind of products have their own market price, but farmers don’t have stable remuneration for their hard work or remunerative price for their produces. Government has been intervening in crop production and marketing issues but still no righteousness for farmers and still they are agitating for all kind of supports. Now the time is up… no more jokes (false promises), no more time killing committees, farmers need a constructive permanent policy with economical reforms which gives care to get out of the agriculture crisis.

I strongly feel that the direct cash payments to the farmers is the best alternative option to support them, government has been giving all kind of subsidies in the form of seeds, fertilizers and so on which are actually going to manufacturers not direct to the farmers. If the direct payment goes to the real farmers; they can use the money wisely creatively for not only on fertilizers or pesticides but also for other farming activities. The government should provide direct cash payments to the farmers to assist in labor wages for farm operations, every body knows that farm labor cost has increased due to expensive cost of living and they have got great bargain power with several social welfare schemes. It’s the best way to integrate the NREG schemes to agriculture. I am very glad about Mr. Nandan nilekani’s proposal on direct cash transfer model for fertilizer subsidies but the implementation methodologies shall be discussed.

Farmers need a fixed amount of crop based cash assistance when the crops don’t reap by natural calamities; direct cash is a security from drought, floods and rising diesel prices. As we know that small farmers and land less farmers can’t survive simply on agriculture, they used to do animal herding but still they are in low socio economic status. They need some fixed amount of cash for reasonable standard of living and away from the poverty. The government should examine the real incomes and living costs while recommending the direct cash assistance every year; the money should go to every agriculture family including share croppers. The direct cash payment program shall be designed to encourage women farmers, organic farming and sustainable agriculture.

In recent survey conducted by India's National Sample Survey Organization showed 40 percent of Indian farmers would like to quit agriculture. If it really happens, the government face huge burden to provide alternative livelihood for all of them and country unable to feed its own population. Nevertheless, what the farmers need is… a substantial income and economical security to restructure their farming activities. The practice of directly giving money to the poor is a popular one in developing countries which has given positive results; I hope the same will be implemented for our Indian poor farmers.