Punjab farmers being rich a misconception: PAU VC

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31

The farmers’ protest has led to a debate on the impact of such laws on farmers’ income and livelihood. “The general assumption of farmers being rich has been made after seeing them taking a bite of that crunchy pizza or driving a swanky tractor. But in reality, the richness of Punjab farmers is a misconception. The financial position of marginal and small farmers is even worse as they struggle to meet their subsistence consumption requirements. The farm sector laws may further deteriorate the farmers’ income and may pull a majority of the marginal and small farmers towards poverty,” says Punjab Agricultural University’s Vice Chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon.

“A perception is being created that protests are an effort to protect the MSP and its beneficiaries who are only 6 per cent of the total farmers of the country and largely belong to Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh. It is being argued that these farmers are rich who benefit from the MSP and assured procurement and are depriving their poor brethren from other states of the benefits of market efficiency likely to be brought by these laws,” he said further. The question here is that these farmers are so rich that they do not need any price assurance and government support ?

According to NABARD Survey of 2016-17, an average farming household in Punjab earns Rs 23,133 and that in Haryana Rs 18,496 per month. The per capita monthly income of these households comes out to be Rs 4,449 and Rs 3,490 only. Is this income sufficient to term these farmers and their dependents rich? asks Rajinder Singh Sidhu, Registrar, PAU.

Punjab farmers being rich a misconception: PAU VC