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Indian farmers to get direct cash benefits (indianexpress.com)
46 points by poloolop 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments

It's not all farmers. This scheme is limited to farmers of one state, Chhattisgarh.

Furthermore, this is one of the few states that the Indian National Congress (INC) holds power in the state legislative assembly. At the center however, INC has little sway, and is actually in the opposition.

It is to be noted that the party ruling at the center, and indeed, most of the states in the union is a different one: Bhartiya Janata Party, that the Indian Prime Minister belongs to.

Pointing this out because the title of this post makes it look like all farmers in India are getting cash benefits and that it's a national scheme. While in reality it's anything but.

In fact, the central government has been dragging its feet on any sort of direct cash transfers to the poor, or even small businesses for that matter, choosing instead to hand out loans to businesses in order to boost growth.

>In fact, the central government has been dragging its feet on any sort of direct cash transfers to the poor.

It's almost as if deciding policy for 1.3 billion people without encountering unexpected effects like runaway inflation is a difficult task.

Am not advocating for one or the other. Am not an economist.

My use of the expression `dragging its feet`, was in light of most prominent Indian economists advocating that the government must increase spending now without worrying about the deficit.

Wow, that's lots of money. If they're growing wheat, that's 34 bushels worth at $5 per bushel. I don't know what yields are like in India, but in Saskatchewan, Canada 34 bushels per acre of wheat is not a great crop, but it's not a bad one either.

In other words, that payment could double a typical Saskatchewan farmer's gross income. And considering that the farmer's expenses are typically 90% of the income, that's about 10x the net income. (A typical Saskatchewan farmer has about 2000 acres of land).

I do not think a typical Indian farmer would own anything close to 2000 acres of land. Most farming in India is not mechanised but is instead highly dependent on human labour. From what I know a typical farmer would probably own only a couple of acres of land (many in single digits? anecdata with no citation) which is cultivated by their family subject to further fragmentation when inherited by the next generation.

Agricultural landholdings in India are pretty small. The average size of a landholding is 1.08 acres. Large landholders, defined as those holding 10+ hectares, hold about 8% of the total agricultural land. (Among them, the average holding size is 15 acres.)


I should have left the farm size out of my post, it's fairly irrelevant. The relevant point is that it would double a Saskatchewan wheat farm's gross income whether it was 0.5 or 5000 acres.

Yes, makes sense.

Per-acre of per-bushel support doesn't work as well when many folks hold such little land. The money required for subsistence is constant per person. Smallholders may not be able to do non-farm work to make up for their low farm-based pay right now.

I think their must be clause in there somewhere which forbids from paying to already rich farmer or someone who has more than 10 acres of land.

The farmers with 2000 acres are not the ones I'm most worried about

> “Through the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan NYAY Yojana, steps have been taken to provide all requisite resources to the farmers of Chhattisgarh, encourage crop production and send funds directly to their bank accounts. There is a plan to include landless tribal agricultural labourers in the second phase of this scheme. This is a very unique decision which will make them all self-sufficient,” said Sonia Gandhi.

Next phase is providing ubi to labourers who don't have any land. This sounds like a great step forward.

Interestingly coming out at the same time as people are criticizing Andrew Yang and Jack Dorsey for their UBI initiatives.

Sounds great, now how do they really plan on making sure the money actually gets to the farmer?

Many (all?) Indian banks have to offer a no-frills zero-balance bank account by law. Since many banks are government owned, it’s quite easy for such banks to offer these accounts. A lot of welfare schemes directly transfer the money to the recipients’ bank accounts. I suspect this will, too.

To prevent welfare fraud, many bank accounts have been linked with a biometric database called “Aadhar”. In fact I believe all Indian residents need to have registered their biometrics to operate a bank account (as you can imagine, people who don’t receive welfare aren’t huge fans of this rather invasive approach).

Quick aside since "lakh" is used in the summary: In Indian numbering, a lakh is 100,000. There is also a crore, which is 10M.

The Indian numbering system names numbers up to 10^18. The vedic number system goes even further up to 10^62


It is spelt "lakh" or "lac" in Roman script.

doh! Updated, thanks.

Mods, please correct this title. The title here is not the title of the news report and is misleading. You could include that this is in just one state in India (something like “Farmers in Indian state of Chhattisgarh to get direct cash benefits” may be easier to understand and appropriate).

So... it's a payout to landowners?

You have to realize that vast majority of India farm land owners are small farmers (very very small compared to US farm sizes). In my town and villages, 2 acre would be considered a lot of land for a farmer, and I don't even know if there was anybody nearby with anything like 10 acres of land. Most farmers own very small pieces of land. The scheme in question will help these farmers and is a very good step for national food production.

There are some states with somewhat more centralised farms, but the state mentioned by the article is not one. Large scale industrial farming is very rare in India outside of a few select areas.

So the small landowners will get a little money.

But also the big landowners will get a lot of money?

exactly, what the heck

? I am confused by this remark.. here in the US farmers are some of the poorest people in the country. Their land is nothing more than a burden and they live at or near poverty levels.

Surely they must be strictly better off than not owning any land?

You think so? Have you ever tried farming before? It's a rough life, and they never make money; they live off subsidies. When you own land you have to care for it and that costs: money, time and a substantial amount of effort. Most farmers I know would love to sell, but there is no one willing/able to buy.

Can they give it away? Can they let it go unmaintained?

If you had a plot of land worth millions would you give it away? No, they can't let it go unmaintained that's illegal.

>> Surely they must be strictly better off than not owning any land?

> If you had a plot of land worth millions would you give it away?

WTF is happening in this conversation.

What is happening is that your being naive. You are attempting to paint a colorful situation with black and white. This is not a boolean if statement.

You're wondering why wouldn't these farmers just walk away from their farm? Well there are many reasons:

It's been in their family for generations. It's all they know how to do. They have legal obligations.

The land may be worth millions but if all the buyers are aware of the fact that it's not worth buying then all those $$'s just mean you can take another loan out against it; which is better than parting with it for nothing.

How about instead of asking questions you go do some research. I am not a farmer I just know a lot of farmers and they all drive old shitty cars and can't afford to get pay for their mothers dialysis.

That's awesome, I think it's a great idea. I wish they had a similar situation setup here in the US. Our farmers are and have been in dire straights for a long time now and they could use the help.

State governments should reject Modi regime's stimulus package and instead seek autonomy to print local currency https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiemgauer

Interesting. Never heard of local currency. There is also the concept of dual currency at national level. One normal free floating with varying conversion rates and other pegged to USD

Why should the do that?


Balkanisation of India won’t happen. Keep trying though.

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