Kolkata: While the Centre aims at doubling the farmers' income by 2022, the Bengal government has already set an example for other states by increasing the income level of farmers three times. The average annual income of farmers in the state has gone up threefold in 2017-18 financial year than what it was seven years ago.
According to the agriculture department sources, the average annual income of a farmer now stands at Rs 2,91,000 in 2017-18 financial year while it stood at Rs 2,39,123 in 2016-17. During 2010-11, the average annual income of a farmer remained Rs 91,000. This has become possible due to various social schemes introduced by the Mamata Banerjee government to improve the socio-economic conditions of the farmers across the state. Distribution of paddy seeds in subsidized rates by the state Agriculture department and giving them platforms to sell off their produce directly at various state government-managed outlets and Kishan Bazars at proper costs are among those contributing to the rise of income for the farmers. The state Agriculture department has already ironed out the middle-man system that had become a practice during the regime of the erstwhile Left Front government. No wonder that the food production in the state has gone up by a huge margin due to various schemes introduced by the government.
Prodded by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the state Agriculture department has been providing Rs 400 crore as subsidy to the farmers. The agricultural growth rate has gone up which in turn is expected to drive up the state's economic growth rate. Agriculture fields that continued to be a victim of apathy and neglect during the Left Front rule have got significant boost.
Asish Banerjee, state Agriculture minister, said his department has been providing certified seeds to the farmers at 50 percent subsidized rates or Rs 20 is given to them against one kg paddy seeds as subsidy. One farmer can receive up to 100 kg seeds at a time. "Farmers can either avail 50 percent subsidy in the seeds procurement or get Rs 20 as subsidy per kg, whichever is less. The amount would be credited to the account of individual farmers through the involvement of assistant director of agriculture at the block level," Banerjee maintained.
"The Chief Minister has laid enormous emphasis on the well-being of the farmers and also the increase in the productivity through the introduction of a host of new schemes. The overall production of each farmer has shot up as their expenses have slashed due to the availability of certified seeds at much cheaper rates. The farmers can now directly sell their products at various procurement centres and other outlets set up by the government without any interference from the middlemen," Banerjee further added.