Amid growing distress and farmers' suicides, the Shinde Fadnavis government proposes to launch its scheme to provide Rs 6,000 annually to eligible farmers. The scheme, which is being coined as Chief Minister’s Kisan Sanman Nidhi Yojana, will be implemented along the lines of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. The government will soon decide the criteria of eligible farmers to be entitled to take benefits under the proposed scheme.
The state government sources told the Free Press Journal that the details of the scheme are being worked out and it will be made by making the budgetary provision. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who chaired the meeting with the officials of the agriculture department, took the decision.
The Centre launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana in 2018 to solve the financial problems of farmers. Under this scheme, Rs 6,000 is deposited in the farmers' account every year by the central government. This money is distributed to the farmers in three installments of Rs 2,000 each.
CM’s move is clearly with an eye on upcoming elections to the rural and urban local bodies across Maharashtra. Besides, this aims to send a strong signal among the farmers, who are struggling to weather damages caused by nature furies, that the state government is solidly behind them and is resolved to go the extra mile to address their issues.
Shinde in the monsoon session had announced that the government would come out with an action plan to prevent farmers' suicides and appealed to farmers not to give up. ‘’You should not cry, you should fight,’’ said Shinde in his appeal to farmers. In a letter addressed to farmers, CM had said that they had first right on Maharashtra’s soil.
The government’s proposal needs to be seen in the context of the present state of agriculture in Maharashtra.
According to the state agriculture department, the average size of operational holding as per Agriculture Census 2015-16 is 1.34 ha as against 4.28 ha during Agriculture census 1970-71. As per the Agriculture Census 2015-16, the total area of small & marginal operational holdings (up to 2.0 ha) constituted 45 per cent of the total area of operational holdings whereas the number of small and marginal operational holdings constituted 79.5 per cent of the total number of operational holdings.
During the Kharif season of 2021-22, sowing was completed in 155.15 lakh ha area. The production of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane is expected to decrease CM Kisan by 11 per cent, 27 per cent, 13 per cent, 30 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively in the previous year. During the rabi season 2021-22, by the end of January sowing was completed on 52.47 lakh ha. The production of pulses is expected to increase by 14 per cent while production of cereals and oilseeds is expected to decrease by 21 per cent and 7 per cent respectively over the previous year. The area under horticulture crops is 21.09 lakh ha and production is expected to be 291.43 lakh MT during 2020-21.