While government employees are jubilant over the impending salary hike based on the seventh pay commission’s recommendations, farmers in MP are forced to live a miserable life with meagre incomes from agriculture.
Since 1970, while the income of farmers (taking into account the minimum support price of wheat) has increased just 19 times, the income of government employees (basic salary and dearness allowance) has increased 120 to 150 times, agriculture expert Devinder Sharma claimed on Sunday.
Sharma was here to speak at a day-long national conference of agriculture graduates in the state capital. The conference organised by the newly formed Association of Agriculture Graduates was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from various parts of the country.
Sharma lamented that not many people or lobbies were raising their voice for the cause of the farmers. “Agriculture has become a downtown market subject. These days many economists are even suggesting that, with GDP share of agriculture coming down to 13 %, why should government invest on priority basis in the agriculture sector? But they don’t understand that in the US, where GDP share of agriculture is just 4 %, the government still focuses on agriculture and those who are into farming,” he said.
Sharma emphasised that unless the incomes of farmers are increased, we cannot stop their migration to urban areas.
“The government should train farmers in rural areas; train them into better practices; give them better support price; and ensure they get good profits,” he suggested. He said Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, known for his pro-farmer policies, should constitute a state farmers’ income commission to improve their life.
Earlier, responding to the demands of agriculture graduates which included treating agriculture as part of technical education, agriculture minister Gauri Shankar Bisen said they would be considered.