Fact Checking Government claims about schemes for Farmers

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In an infographic published by the government on the 48-months portal, there are three claims related to the goal of doubling farmer’s incomes. The claims pertain to the soil health cards, e-NAM and farm credit. The following article is a fact check of these claims.

In an infographic published by the government on the 48-months portal, there are three claims related to the goal of doubling farmer’s incomes. The claims pertain to the soil health cards, e-NAM and farm credit. The following article is a fact check of these claims.

goal of doubling farmer’s incomes_infographic

How many soil health cards have been distributed?
The first claim is that 12.68 crore Soil Health Cards (SHCs) have been distributed and that this number is equal to the combined population of Germany and Spain.

The government in an answer to the Lok Sabha stated that, ‘Soil Health Card Scheme is being implemented to assist all State Governments to evaluate fertility in all farm holdings across the country and issue soil health cards to farmers regularly in a cycle of 2 years. The aim and objectives of the scheme is to issue soil health cards giving information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.’

The government also stated that National Productivity Council (NPC), in their study, has reported savings of 8-10% of fertilizers and 5-6% increase in crop yield, as a result of fertilizer application as per the recommendations of soil health cards.

In another response to a question in the Lok Sabha in July 2018, the government stated that, ‘In the 1st Cycle of the scheme (2015-16 to 2016-17), against the target of distributing 10.74 crore soil health cards full target has been achieved. In the 2nd Cycle of Scheme (2017-18 to 2018-19), against the target of distributing 12.20 crore soil health cards, 4.71 crore soil health cards have been distributed to farmers.’

The above numbers imply that a total of 15.45 crore SHCs have been distributed. The Soil Health Card website, as of 18th November 2018, shows that, in the first cycle  (2015-16 & 2016-17) 10.73 crore SHCs have been dispatched whereas  6.03 crore SHCs have been dispatched in the second cycle (2017-18 & 2018-19). The total does add up to more than 16 crore SHCs. It has to be noted that this claim was made in May 2018 and hence the current numbers are more than the numbers mentioned in the claim. As per estimates of the United Nations, the combined population of Germany & Spain is 12.8 crore as of 2015.

Soil Health Cards (SHCs) were also distributed during the previous UPA government. According to an answer provided in the Rajya Sabha, the UPA government had setup 1206 Soil Testing Laboratories across the country and issued 5.69 crore SHCs by March 2013.

Claim: 12.68 crore soil health cards have been distributed. This is the combined population of Germany and Spain.

Fact: A total of 15.45 crore SHCs have been distributed till July 2018. The combined population of Germany and Spain is around 12.8 crore.  Hence, the claim is TRUE. It has to be noted that the number of SHCs issued by the current government is substantially higher than the ones issued by the previous government.

What has been the performance of e-NAM?
The second claim is that Produce worth 41,591K crore rupees has been transacted through 417 Mandis and 87.5 lakh farmers and sellers registered through the e-NAM portal. As per a response provided by the government in the Lok Sabha in March 2018, ‘National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC Mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.’ The government further stated that e-NAM has been deployed 551 regulated wholesale markets in 15 States and 02 UTs across the country as of March 2018. The pilot of the e-NAM was launched in 2016.

The e-NAM website lists 585 Mandis in different states and UTs. In response to another question in the  Lok Sabha,  the government stated that a total of 1,11,80,475 farmers spread over 16 States and 02 Union Territories have been registered on e-NAM platform till July 2018.  The total amount of transaction remains unverified since data regarding the transaction amount is not available in the public domain.

Claim: Produce worth 41,591k crore rupees has been transacted through 417 Mandis and 87.5 lakh framers and sellers registered.

Fact: The e-NAM website shows 585 Mandis in different states and UTs. A total of 1.12 crore farmers have been registered on the platform. The amount of transaction is unverified. The first part of the claim remains UNVERIFIED but the latter two are TRUE.

What is the farm credit target?
The third claim is that farm credit target has been raised to a record high of 11 lakh crore rupees for 2018-19. The Finance minister, in his budget speech (2018-19) announced that the target for the institutional credit for the agricultural sector has been raised to 11 lakh crore rupees from 10 lakh crores in 2017-18 and from 8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15.

In the  2013-14 budget, the then Finance Minister had announced increasing the target of farm credit to 7 lakh crore rupees for 2013-14. The following graph shows the increase in farm credit targets in the Union budget since 2009-10. The data has been gathered from the union budget speeches over the years.goal of doubling farmer’s incomes_Farm Credit Target (2009-10 to 2018-19)Successive governments have increased farm credit target every year. During the 2nd term of UPA between 2009-10 to 2013-14, the farm credit target increased from 3.3 lakh crore rupees to 7 lakh crore rupees (an increase of more than 100%). On the other hand, during the current government, the farm credit target has increased from 8 lakh crore rupees in 2014-15 to 11 lakh crore rupees in 2018-19 (an increase of about 40%).

Claim: Farm credit target has been raised to a record high of 11 lakh crore rupees for 2018-19.

Fact: Farm credit target has been set at 11 lakh crores in the budget of 2018-19. Though it is a record high, this is inline with the increase that happens every year during successive govenments. Hence, the claim is PARTLY TRUE.  It also has to be noted that successive governments have increased the farm credit target and the increase during the UPA-2 was over 100%, more than the percentage increase during the current government.

This story is part of a larger series on the 4-years of the Modi government. This series has been made possible with the flash grant of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Read the rest of the stories in this series here.

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