Ground Report | New Delhi: Farmers are now mainly labourers; An average farming family in India earned Rs 10,218 per month in 2018-2019, up from Rs 6,426 per month in 2012-2013. Business Standard reported that this represents modest earnings growth of about 60 percent over six years. An analysis shows that a farmer earns only Rs 7,639 from one hectare of wheat against the cost of production of Rs 32,644.
However, after adjusting for inflation using the Rural Consumer Price Index, farmers’ income grew only 21 percent in real terms. India’s real GDP (the real size of the economy) grew by 52 percent during the same period.
Farmers are now mainly labourers
In 2012-13, an average Indian farmer earned 30,81 per month from farming. It has increased to just 3,798 in 2018-19. 50% increase in income has been possible due to an increase in wages. This amount used to be Rs 2,071 per month in the year 2013 which has increased to Rs 4,063 per month in the year 2018.
Out of an average monthly income of Rs 10,218 per agricultural household (based on the ‘expenses paid’ approach), Rs 4,063 came from wages; 134 from leasing out the land; 3,798 came in as net receipts from crop production; Rs 1,582 as net proceeds from livestock farming; and Rs 641 as net receipts from the non-agricultural business.
Number of families in Agriculture increased
The survey defines an agricultural household as receiving more than Rs 4,000 as the value of produce from agricultural activities (for example, cultivation of field crops, horticultural crops, fodder crops, plantations, animal husbandry, poultry, fisheries, piggery, beekeeping, vermiculture, sericulture, etc.) and at least one member has been self-employed in agriculture either in principal position or in subsidiary position during the last 365 days.
The data represents the state of agricultural households before the pandemic struck. Having said that agriculture has taken a back seat in rural Indian at an overall level. While the number of families in Agriculture increased from 90 million to 93 million in just six years, the number of households engaged in agriculture increased from 66 million to 80 million in the same time period (2013–19).
Farmers’ debt increased
According to the survey report of the National Statistical Office, in the year 2013, the average debt of farmer families in the country used to be Rs 47,000 but in the year 2018, it increased to Rs 74,121.
The report defines a family as an agricultural household if it earns more than ₹4,000 per year from agricultural activities.
While the national average outstanding debt during July-December 2018 was Rs 74,121, it was highest in Andhra Pradesh at Rs 2.45 lakh and Nagaland at Rs 1,750. Of the 28 states for which data is available, 11 states – Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh – had an average outstanding loan per household higher than the national average. in 2018.