The income of agricultural households in Punjab and Haryana would improve drastically compared to the income of farmers’ households in other States if the government of India succeeds in its target to double farmers’ income by 2022.
These two States are already leading in the agricultural income and any growth would keep them ahead of their counterparts. But even after doubling of farmers’ income, there no certainty that agriculture labourers either in Punjab and Haryana or the other Indian States will get any benefits.
The government wants to double farmers’ income as against the base year 2015-16, as per the annual growth targets. As of now, there is no latest estimate of the annual income of farmers achieved and the percentage annual increase for the States vis-a-vis the base year 2015-16, the Ministry of Agriculture informed Lok Sabha recently.
For the purpose of arriving at the average annual income for 2015-16, the Doubling of Farmers’ Income (DFI) Committee extrapolated the NSSO survey-based income estimates for 2012-13, and estimated that average farmers’ income stands at ₹96,703 per year for the year 2015-16 at 2015-16 prices.
Going by this data, agricultural household income in Punjab and Haryana is much higher compared to other States. In absolute terms, annual income of an agricultural household in Punjab after doubling of income would be ₹4.61 lakh and for Haryana, it would be ₹3.74 lakh compared to the national average income of ₹1.93 lakh ( after doubling the income). Eleven States where agricultural household income is lower than the national average would still remain in the lower rank even after doubling of income as they have started double income journey on the low income.
The average income of agricultural households at 2015-16 prices in Bihar was just ₹45,317, lowest among all States.
Will labourers get any benefit?
DFI strategy as recommended by the Committee include seven sources of income growth including improvement in crop productivity, improvement in livestock productivity, resource use efficiency or savings in the cost of production, increase in the cropping intensity, diversification towards high-value crops, improvement in real prices received by farmers, and shift from farm to non-farm occupations.
These programmes do not give any specific attention to increasing labourers income.
About 14.43 crore agricultural labourers, constitute 55 per cent of the people involved in agriculture in India. But the doubling of farmers’ income programme leaves them high and dry.
As per the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) India Wage Report real average daily wages for skilled agricultural workers increased just by 48 per cent from 1993–94 to 2011–12.
The real average daily wages for them was ₹120 in 1993-94 while it became ₹177 in 2011-12.