On farm distress, reform and dole

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme proposing to directly transfer Rs 6,000 per year in three instalments to all farm families holding up to two hectares of land is without a doubt the centre-piece of the interim Budget 2019-20. As A K Bhattacharya observed in these pages, no past interim budget proposed such a large outlay (Business Standard, February 2, 2019). Even the former finance minister P Chidambaram labelled it the “Big promise” (The Indian Express, February 10, 2019). This transfer is in reality a top-up, and not any variant of the much-discussed universal .....

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