New Delhi: For nearly 75 per cent of the 17.9 crore (nearly 180 million) households in rural India, the monthly income of the highest-earning member is less than Rs.5,000, even as close to 40 per cent are landless and work as manual casual labourers for their daily bread, latest official data reveals.
This is the finding of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 for Rural India released Friday which also shows that nearly 25 per cent of the rural households still do not own a phone despite India boasting a telecom subscriber base of around a billion.
Also, among the the fortunate families that actually own land, the dependence on rains for their crops is rather high, with 25 per cent having no access to irrigation, as per the Census released by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Only 8.29 per cent of the rural households reported a member who was drawing more than Rs.10,000 per month, while for 17.18 per cent others the monthly earning was between Rs.5,000 and Rs.10,000 per month.
The latest Census covered all the 640 districts in the country in a paperless manner, using some 640,000 electronic handheld devices. The government on Friday released only the provisional data of the socio-economic Census for rural India.
The Census seeks to provide useful data on households on various aspects of their socio-economic status – housing, land-holding, education, women, the differently able, occupation, possession of assets, and members of scheduled castes and tribes.
In a bid to target government schemes better and ensure they the intended beneficiaries alone, it also provides for automatic exclusion of families on the basis of 14 parameters as also automatic inclusion on the basis of five criteria.
“The progress which households in India have made, who are the ones who have qualitatively moved up in terms of quality of life – a document of these will be an important input for all policy makers, both at the Centre and in the states,” Jaitley said.
“I am sure that with the enormity of the schemes and their reaches that all governments have, this document will form the basis of helping us to target groups to support in terms of policy planning,” the Finance Minister added.
Based on 14 parameters for families — which include criteria such owing a vehicle, possessing a kisan credit card, having a serving government member, drawing an income of Rs.10,000 per month, or owing a refrigerator — only 7.05 crore families (39.39 per cent) stand to be excluded.
Similarly, based on five parameters — households without shelter, those living on alms, manual scavengers, primitive tribals and legally released bonded labourers — 16.50 lakh families are eligible for automatic inclusion.
At the same time, 10.69 crore (over 100 million) of rural families, or 60 per cent, qualify for “deprivation” based on seven criteria — which include those with one room, kuccha walls, no member in 18-59 age group, no literate adult above 25 years and landless households.
Among them, while 21.5 per cent belong to scheduled castes or tribes, 23.5 per cent are without a literate adult above 25 years of age. This apart, 30 per cent are landless households deriving a major part of their income from manual labour.
New Delhi: The entire Indian agriculture value chain is set to change drastically and food processing is going to be one of the main industries of the country in the future, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.
“The farm to kitchen chain is going to change in India, like elsewhere, with increased agricultural production, better storage facilities, more food processing and changing consumer food preference,” Jaitley said at the inaugural session of the World Food India 2017 here.
“Food processing is going to be one of the principal industries of India in future, and an entrepreneur in 2017 should think of the industry from the perspective of where it will be in 2040, 2050,” he said.
In terms of market size, the Indian food market was worth $193 billion in 2016 and is expected to cross $540 billion in 2020, officials said here. The sector has been growing at the rate of 12 per cent annually.
“There is a silent revolution ongoing in India. There is an expanding middle class and below that there is a growing aspirational class, which is building up reasonable purchasing power,” the Finance Minister said, noting that this provided an enormous potential market for food products in the country.
About the potential, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that only about 10 per cent of agricultural produce is processed in the country, leading to a lot of wastage.
The industry enjoys many fiscal incentives, including preferential credit under priority sector lending, she said.
“There is 100 per cent FDI (foreign direct investment) allowed into the sector through the automatic route and we have seen inflows increase 40 per cent over the last year,” she said.
“The proposal for a Food Processing Bank is also under active consideration.”
In the presence of delegates from many countries, the event was inaugurated earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who pointed out that India is the biggest producer of milk in the world and the second in rice, wheat, fish and vegetable output.(IANS)
Prostate cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among men worldwide
Experts claim, that the second most common cause of cancer, is rising in rural India
The rural masses need to be made aware of the treatment, drugs and technologies to combat the disease.
New Delhi, September 22, 2017: Prostate cancer, the second most common cause of cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among men worldwide, is rising in rural India, experts claim.
Cancer projection data shows that the number of cases will be doubled by 2020.
“Most of the metastatic prostate cancer cases are from rural areas. Therefore, it’s a challenge to government and doctors to decrease the risk factors and take prostate cancer risk in the rural areas very seriously,” P.N. Dogra, Professor and Head of Urology at AIIMS, said in a statement on Thursday.
The rural masses need to be made aware of the treatment, drugs and technologies to combat the disease.
“There is an urgent need to create awareness about prostate cancer threat amongst the rural population,” said Anup Kumar, Head (Department of Urology and Renal Transplant) at Safdarjung Hospital.
Safdarjung Hospital sees more than one lakh patients every month from all over the country.
Of these, 20 per cent are prostate cancer patients, in which 40 per cent are clinically localised, 30 per cent are locally advanced and 30 per cent are metastatic prostate cancer cases, Kumar said.
“Prostate cancer has become a major health problem globally during the last few decades. This disease is the second most common cause of cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death among men worldwide,” Dogra said.
According to the Population Based Cancer Registries in Delhi, the disease is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in the national capital, accounting for about 6.78 per cent of all malignancies. (IANS)
New Delhi, September 18, 2017 : Indian and International media is full of articles regarding large number of farmers in India committing suicide due to debt pressure.
Instead of going to the root of the problem and analyzing the reasons for this phenomenon, Indian politicians have come up with an absurd idea of farm loan waivers.
Majority of Indian farmers under debt trap own very little land. Farming on such small piece of land is not economically feasible. This sector is highly unorganized. Most of the time, no planning is involved in cultivation, irrigation and harvesting.
Middlemen exploit farmers by buying their produce at a very low price and then selling it at a premium to the end consumers.
The irony is that a large number of Indian politicians claim huge incomes from agriculture while farmers starve.
In the province of Madhya Pradesh 24 farmers committed suicide this year over crop loss and failure to repay loans but 18 of the 20 cabinet ministers of the state have shown ‘agriculture’ as their main source of huge incomes.
How come politicians are earning in Billions through farming while the real farmers are struggling to make both ends meet?
Let’s examine the issue in-depth.
The income earned from agricultural land is exempt from income tax under section 10 (1) of the Income Tax Act 1961. Politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen in India launder their money misusing the above income tax clause.
Normally, one cannot own agricultural land in India unless their forefathers have been agriculturists. Rich and influential people in the country obtain agriculturist certificates by ‘greasing the palms’ of the local land officials.
Farmers are not required to maintain detailed records in India. This provides an excellent loophole to pass off unaccounted and undeclared cash as agricultural income. It is done by showing fake sales cash receipts of agricultural produce, which like other certificates can be purchased in India through bribes.
Approximately 800,000 tax declarants in India state exorbitant amounts as agricultural incomes while filing their annual income tax returns.
This income, a whopping INR. 874 Lakh Crores was eight times more than the cumulative GDP of India for the financial years 2011 and 2012.
The average annual income declared by these assesses comes out to be anywhere between Rs. 30-80 Crores, on which they don’t pay any taxes.
It’s obvious that the aforesaid is not agricultural earning instead it’s declared as agricultural income by these assesses just to avoid paying taxes.
According to National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Delhi, with hardly any farming land has more farmers indulging in agriculture than Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal provinces.
Delhi’s so called ‘farmers’ received Rs. 22,077 Crores in agricultural loans during 2009. In reality, these ‘self proclaimed farmers’ are the owners of big farm houses on the outskirts of the capital.
The authorities are well aware of this malpractice. The Tax Administration Reform Committee in its report in November 2014 said, “Agricultural income of non-agriculturists is being increasingly used as a conduit to avoid tax and for laundering funds, resulting in leakage to the tune of Crores in revenue annually”
The Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley on 26th April said that the government of India does not plan to tax the farm income.
It reveals that Indian politicians cutting across party lines indulge in this malpractice, 27% of the winning Lok Sabha M.P’s in 2014 elections have declared wealth of over Rs. 1 Crore, majority of which has been mentioned as agricultural income.
Indian opposition politicians blackmail the political party in power by indulging in spurious farmer agitations.
If there is a bumper crop then the opposition parties start shouting that prices have crashed due to over-supply in the market. When farming cultivation fails due to the vagaries of nature, then they start throwing statistics about farmers suicide.
A group of ‘self proclaimed’ farmers from Tamil Nadu province camped at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, the Indian capital city during March this year and indulged in cheap theatrics to draw attention to their protests.
The leader of this group, P. Ayyakannu is demanding that all farmers should be given loan waivers from banks and quoted highly inflated figures of farmers suicides in Tamil Nadu.
The Tamil Nadu government on 28th April, 2017 conveyed to the Supreme Court of India that no famers committed suicide in the state and clarified that a few, who took this extreme measure did it due to personal reasons.
Many farmers died due to old age and other medical issues. Ayyakannu clubbed all of them together to gather national as well as international attention.
Ayyakannu called off this whole play in Delhi on 23rd April after 40 days, when the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu came to meet these protestors.
He said that their group is giving a one month’s time-frame to the government in order to fulfill their demands otherwise, they would resume their protests in the national capital from May 25 on a bigger scale.
This impostor farmer leader Ayyakannu again came back to Delhi again on 16th July with his gang of ruffians to continue their drama.
Ayakannu as per media reports is not even a farmer, but a lawyer, who makes huge amounts of money through out of court settlements and personally owns hundreds of acres of land.
He and his bunch of hooligans all look quite healthy and well-fed. They don’t appear like destitute farmers as claimed by them.
Fake farmers like the aforementioned Ayyakannu are just the front faces of this façade in the name of farmers.
The remote controls of such characters remain in the hands of politicians, who use them for their narrow, selfish, corrupt agendas depending on the political situation at the state and national level.
The governments of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan & U.P. provinces have waived off agricultural loans worth Billions. This has set up a very bad precedent for the rest of the country.
There are no ‘free lunches’ in this world. These half baked measures like loan waivers just make people lazy parasites.
The following steps would go a long way in helping the real distressed farmers;
Scientific soil and climate testing should be done across all farming regions in India. Farmers can then be educated about which crops to grow profitably, in how many cycles; depending on the soil conditions and climate of the region.
Implement agricultural reforms like farming co-operatives, where farmers having small agricultural land holdings can be encouraged to come together and pool their land plus resources together.
Crop storage infrastructure should be built and maintained in every village so, that farmer can store their surplus produce rather than sell it desperately at a low price.
Crop insurance must be compulsorily introduced all over the country wherein, farmers by paying a nominal amount need not bother about their crops getting destroyed through excessive rain or drought.
Organic farming needs to be encouraged instead of over-reliance on chemical fertilizers. The food waste produced by an entire village can be easily turned into biodegradable compost, through innovative schemes like Vermicomposting.
Vermicast can replace fertilizers in the agriculture fields. This would save money for the farmer and provide high quality chemical free crops.
The APMC’s (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees) have created a coterie of middlemen, who along with the complicity of these committees, form a virtual barrier between the farmer and the consumer, paying the former a pittance for his produce and charging the latter exorbitant amounts for fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables are purchased at Rs. 2 or 3 a kg from farmers and then sold at 30 to 40 rupees per kg to urban consumers.
This setup has been going on for decades in every town and city of India. Millions of urban Indians pay artificially higher prices and majority of farmers are underpaid due to this flawed system.
The profits are made by middlemen, who do not pay taxes on these huge earnings. It is a common practice for them to store money in cash and not in banks.
These APMC’s must therefore be abolished immediately. Farmers should get direct access to the end consumer through the elimination of middlemen. This would ensure a better monetary return for farmers.
Private moneylenders in and around the villages charge a very high rate of interest from farmers. This unscrupulous sector should be bought under government regulation by bringing down the rate of interest to a rational level.
Government schools in villages are in shambles. They need to be upgraded so, that quality education at an affordable price is available to every child in the village.
This would uplift farmers children through educational empowerment. It will enable them to make a transition to non-agricultural professions in future and enhance their family earnings considerably.
The aforementioned steps would cost the government far less than what it is losing in the absurd loan waiver schemes, which anyways don’t help the poor marginal farmer at all.
As regard dealing with the fake farmers of India.
The solution entails; no farm loan waivers and bringing the agricultural income above a certain threshold under the tax bracket.
The aforesaid measures would prevent the fake farmers façade spreading rapidly all over the country, while resolving the agrarian crisis of India by assisting needy farmers of the country.
The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.
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