National Democratic Alliance is seeking re-election whereas Congress led opposition parties are bidding to form alliance in key states. Looks like agriculture will form an important part of the narrative of the general elections which will be held in seven phases with polling ending on May 19.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took control in May 2014, a period when a large part of India was reeling under drought which lasted for two years until June 2016.
Thereafter, three successive years (2016-2018) of normal monsoon rains were observed, leading to record harvest of grains and horticulture crops. However, this sadly resulted in crop prices crashing.
The Modi government has set an ambitious target to double farmers’ incomes by 2022 wherein 2015-16 was considered as the base year. However, in reality the farm revenues have collapsed due to a consistent drop in crop prices. The wholesale food prices rose by just 2.3% after being in negative territory for each month between August and December 2018.
It has come to notice that in the northern states the issue of stray cattle menace is a major problem for farmers.
In the February budget 2019, an income transfer scheme for small and marginal farmers called the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi was introduced to win back the support of aggrieved farmers ahead of general elections. It is expected that this scheme would help in forming a major part of the BJP’s electoral campaign along with the issue of minimum support price (MSP), wherein the government would agree to farmers’ demand by fixing the MSP of 22 crops at one and a half times their input costs.
This new scheme was PM Modi’s counter to the pan-India loan waiver as promised by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. This loan waiver promise helped Congress in defeating BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh elections held in December 2018.
Image Credit: DNA India
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