Marathwada: In Modi govt’s farm income success stories, ‘fake’ pics and ‘invisible’ women

The first part of a series exploring the ground realities in stark contrast with a government institute’s research.
Cartoon of Modi driving a tractor over pages of lies
Cartoon of Modi driving a tractor over pages of liesManjul
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“This is not a picture of our farm. It seems to be lush green while our farm is arid, and doesn’t yield this much.”

Sitting outside a temple in Marathwada region’s Dharashiv district, Sakharbai Sagur seems shocked to be counted among a government institute’s 75,000 success stories of farmers whose income had doubled between 2016-17 and 2020-21.

These are in a booklet published in 2022 by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, with a foreword from Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, to mark 75 years of Independence – or India’s entry into the Amrit Kaal according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It appeared to validate the PM’s promise in 2016 to double farm income by 2022, pointing to a policy push and a location-specific strategy implemented through the council’s Krishi Vigan Kendras, or farm science centres, and has been mentioned several times.

But Newslaundry had earlier reported on how the ground realities were in stark contrast to the booklet’s claims in several case studies. 

And while touring other states to explore the developing story on farm income, we met Sakharbai Sagur, a farmer in her sixties from Barul village of Tuljapur tehsil, in the shadow of the Balaghat mountains, in a district infamous for farm suicides – it had recorded 717 such deaths between 2017 and 2022.

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