Farmer income doubled in fiscal 2021-22 as compared to FY18 for certain crops in some states. In all other cases, it rose in the range of 1.3-1.7 times a recent study conducted by State Bank of India (SBI) has shown.
- The study is based on primary data of SBI agri-portfolio across states.
- It contains granular data of various crops from agri-sensitive branches, and analyses the change in incomes of farmers over the last five years.
- The study said that the increase in farmers’ incomes, engaged in cash crops, has been more prominent compared to those growing non-cash crops.
- Allied/non-farm income showed a significant increase of 1.4-1.8 times in the majority of states in tandem with farm income during the same period.
- This substantiates the trend according to the 77th National Sample Survey that source of farmer income has become increasingly diverse apart from crops.
Beneficiaries of farm loan waivers –
- The study found that since 2014, out of approximately 3.7 crore eligible farmers, only around 50% of the farmers received the amount of loan waiver till March 2022.
- As of March 2022, the poorest implementation of farm loan waiver schemes in terms of proportion of eligible farmers who had received the announced benefits, were in Telangana (5%), Madhya Pradesh (12%), Jharkhand (13%), Punjab (24%), Karnataka (38%) and Uttar Pradesh (52%).
- Despite much hype and political patronage, Farm Loan waivers by States have failed to bring respite to intended subjects.
- This has sabotaged credit discipline in select geographies and making Banks and financial institutions wary of further lending.
- Reason behind low reach of farm loan waivers —
- The report identified the following three factors as the possible reasons for the low implementation rate of these loan waivers –
- Rejection of farmers’ claims by State Governments,
- Limited or low fiscal space to meet promises,
- Change in Governments in subsequent years.
Does it actually reach the intended beneficiaries?
- Apart from benefits not reaching the targeted farmers, the report also flagged concerns about whether they actually help farmers in genuine distress.
- Of the total accounts eligible for farm loan waiver, most of the accounts (more than 80%in some States) were in standard category.
- This raises a question about whose interest rampant waivers actually serve.