For farmers, the worst case scenario is a repeat of March 2015. That month – the wettest March in 48 years – saw unseasonal rains, accompanied by hailstorms and gusty winds, lash large swathes of north, west and central India.
Last year, the Government blinked on this uncompromising stance, fiscal deficit deepened from the targeted 3.2% to 3.5% of GDP. And the interim Budget put the fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 at 3.4% of GDP, marginally higher than the budgeted 3.3%.
Under the Pradhan Mantri — Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, all farmers cultivating up to two hectares (5 acres) will get direct income support of Rs 6,000 annually, payable in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each.
A single statement in the Budget — farmers would have the right to be paid up to Rs 2 lakh a day in cash for any sale backed by a bhugtan patra (payment slip) — will help bring back liquidity in produce markets.
Demonetisation, coupled with daily limits on cash transactions and fear of being tracked by revenue authorities post the Goods and Services Tax regime, have made traders less inclined to purchasing and stocking up produce during the harvest season.
In Uttar Pradesh, mills are blaming low sugar prices for the inability to pay SAP to farmers. At ex-factory rates of Rs 3,100-3,150 and average recovery of 10.9 per cent, mills can realise Rs 338-343 from every quintal of cane that is crushed.
As PM Hasina storms back to power, her country stands on the cusp of transformative social and economic change — anticipated by interventions by state and society, already seen in development indicators.
In both onion and pulses, the NDA government’s trade policy has seen a distinct shift over the last year – from pro-consumer to pro-producer, which is also clearly linked to growing agrarian unrest and steep fall in crop realisations.
The new year could witness the first national elections being fought on farmers’ issues. And it could test both the ruling BJP pushed to the defensive, particularly in the larger sugar-producing states, and the Congress under pressure to deliver loan waivers