Monsoon 2018: When the Narendra Modi-government came to power, little did they know they would face two consecutive drought years after almost three decades.
Monsoon 2018: When the Narendra Modi-government came to power, little did they know they would face two consecutive drought years after almost three decades. The drought years created turbulence in the farm economy and subsequently led to farmers’ suicides and multiple nation-wide protests. The farm economy also suffered due to demonetisation in November 2016, just when the agriculture sector was recovering from the drought situation.
However, this year is going to be the year of first good monsoon in the Modi regime, weather forecaster Skymet said. Indian Meteorological Department also predicted the same. In India, a good monsoon means a big boost to about 61% population dependent on the farm economy. And this could be decisive in the impending 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which is being seen as Narendra Modi’s re-election bid.
But, too much rainfall in some areas and too little in other could be a party spoiler. “A spell of excess rainfall in the Karnataka region had turned out to be worrisome for the coffee planters there,” Care Ratings said in its ‘Monsoon Monitor’ report. The cumulative rainfall for the season between June 1 and July 25 was 384.7 mm, a departure of -3% from the normal level.
While 25 regions (mostly in the west and south) received normal to excess rainfall, the eastern region received deficient rainfall, with east Uttar Pradesh being most affected. East Uttar Pradesh received 43% below normal rainfall. The acreage for Kharif crop cultivation has declined by about 9% since last year, the report said.
Pulses, tur and groundnut are causes of worry due to their falling acreage, while oilseeds and soya witnessed an increase in acreage due to western regions recording a normal monsoon. Ironically, sugarcane, despite having highest acreage as compared to last year, may spell trouble. “With a shortage in storage space and a dim export side, the markets may face an oversupply situation,” the report said.
Modi government’s sops:
Poll years often lead to higher sops for the rural economy. Along with the aim of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, the government also took some decisions to help farmers in the last couple of months. Sticking to its promise of increasing the farmers’ income by one-and-a-half times of the production cost, the union cabinet last month cleared the proposal for the Kharif crops.
- The MSP of paddy (common grade) has been increased by Rs 200 to Rs 1,750 per quintal, while that of Grade A variety by Rs 160 per quintal to Rs 1,750.
- The MSP of paddy (common) was Rs 1,550 per quintal and Rs 1,590 per quintal for paddy (grade A) variety.
- The MSP of cotton (medium staple) has been increased to Rs 5,150 from Rs 4,020 and that of cotton (long staple) to Rs 5,450 from 4,320 per quintal.
- In pulses, tur MSP has been raised to Rs 5,675 per quintal from Rs 5,450, and that of moong to Rs 6,975 per quintal from Rs 5,575. Urad MSP has been hiked to Rs 5,600 from Rs 5,400 per quintal.
- Hike in paddy MSP will increase the food subsidy bill by over Rs 11,000 crore based on procurement figure of the 2016-17 marketing year (October-September).
However, some farmer groups have expressed disappointment over the calculation of the MSP, stating that it is not as per Swaminathan Commission recommendations.
The government also announced last month that it is increasing the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane by Rs 20 per quintal to Rs 275 per quintal for the next marketing year starting October. “This may come as some relief to the cane growers, who have been long worried about the falling prices of sugarcane,” Care Ratings said in the report.