The 'pension' revolution by farmers had hit Odisha badly just a couple of years ago. Some 15k farmers under the banner of Nava Nirman Krushak Sangh had stormed the roads of the Capital City demanding 'Pride, Prestige And Pension'. The recent success of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana (PM-KMY) in the State nails down the real demand for pension in the State.
As per the data available with Union Agriculture Department, 22 months after the launch of the scheme, a whopping 1.506 lakh farmers below 40-years of age in the State have enrolled under the farmer pension scheme. Odisha has the 6th highest enrolment in the country.
According to the available data, Haryana with an enrolment of over 4.29 lakh farmers in the pension scheme, topped the list. It is followed by Bihar, UP, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Living Conditions Of Farmers
A glance at the data reveals that in the top-10 enrolled states, except Haryana, the top-5 states are backward states like UP, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, Madhya Pradesh. And the remaining states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat. have been hit often by the agrarian crises.
The 'Situational Assessment Of Farmer Households-2013' by NSO shows that the average farmer’s income in Bihar was recorded the lowest at just Rs 3,558 per month per agricultural household and is followed by West Bengal at Rs 3,980. The average monthly income of farmers in Odisha is the 6th poorest in the country.
The NSO data purs the average income of farmers per month in the State at Rs 4,976. Uttarakhand (Rs 4701), Jharkhand (Rs 4,721) and UP (Rs 4,923) preceded Odisha.
However, the monthly average income per agricultural household in Haryana has been highest at Rs 14,434. In contrast, Punjab, another state where the average monthly income of farmers is very high, has a total enrolment of a mere 12,685.
A look at the top-10 enrolled states reveals that, except Haryana, enrolment is high in states where the farmers face the brunt of high crop loss due to natural (cyclone, flood, drought) and pest disasters. All the top enrolled states have very poor irrigation coverage vis-a-vis Haryana and Punjab
In order to see saturation, Odisha has a long way to go. The State has around 36 lakh small and marginal farmers. The total enrolment at present is a mere 4.1 per cent of the total target group of the farmers here. Despite having a lower population of eligible farmers, the enrolment in neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand is higher than in Odisha.
The pension scheme was launched in September 2019. The objective was to provide social security to small and marginal Farmers in their old age when they have no means of livelihood and have minimal or no savings to take care of their expenses.
Under this scheme, a minimum fixed pension of Rs.3,000 is given to the small and marginal farmers (owning up to 5 acres of cultivable land), subject to certain exclusion criteria, on attaining the age of 60 years.
However, it needs mentioning is the scheme is a voluntary one. And the eligible farmer (18-40 years) is required to contribute to a Pension Fund between Rs.55 to Rs.200 per month depending on the entry age. The Central Government will also contribute in equal amounts to the Pension Fund.
The enrollment to the Scheme can be done through self-registration online or through the Common Service Centres (CSCs) in various states. The enrollment is free of cost. The central govt gives Rs 30 per registration to the CSCs.