ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Doubling Farmers' Incomes by 2022

What Would It Take?

How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022? Is there a precedent? From estimates of change in income of agricultural households over the period 2003-13, this article suggests what needs to be done to achieve a doubling of real incomes. A focus on income from cultivation alone will be inadequate. Policy aimed at increasing net income from animal farming will be key.

The views expressed in this article are personal and do not represent those of the organisation to which the authors belong. This article is also available as part of the IGIDR working paper series.

While presenting Union Budget 201617, the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley mentioned that one of the objectives of the Government of India is to double the income of farmers by the year 2022. This announcement was probably driven in light of evidence of agrarian distress. A notable contribution in the recent literature on farm incomes in India is by Chand et al (2015: 139), who suggests that growth in farm income after 201112 has plummeted to around 1%, and this is an important reason for the sudden rise in agrarian distress in recent years.

In light of the objective of the Government of India, the logical question is whether there have been any earlier instances of doubling of income of farmer households. In this article we look at the evidence on incomes of agricultural households using a different database than used by Chand et al (2015). Hence, our estimates are not comparable with their estimates. We analyse data from National Sample Survey Offices (NSSO) Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers conducted in 2003 (hereafter referred to as the 2003 survey) and Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households 2013 (hereafter referred to as the 2013 survey).

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