Government is preparing to give farmer pension with identity card after classifying the farmers

National Farmers Group Federation Nepal has been raising this question since its inception. In particular, it is necessary to increase the contribution of marginalized and deprived farmers in the development of the agriculture sector by establishing the rights of marginalized and deprived farmers and equitable distribution of government services in the agricultural sector. The advocacy activities of the federation for this are as follows.

1. Memorandum paper presented before the then Nandan Kumar Datt on 2068.08.23.

2. On 2068.09.01 re-presented the memorandum before the then Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhatrai.

3. On 2071.05.01 re-presented the memorandum before the then Constitutional Committee Chairman Dr. Baburam Bhatrai.

4. Distribution of identity cards started by the government by issuing farmer identity card distribution and usage guideline 2071.

5. Study of the status of farmer identity cards distributed by the government and demand to postpone the distribution of identity cards without classification in the presence of stakeholders.

6. On 2073-Bhadra-02 presented a memorandum to the Honorable Minister of Agriculture Gauri Shankar Chaudhary and Hon. Minister of State Radhika Tamang.

7. On 2073-Mangsir -02 a reminder letter has been submitted in this regard to the Honorable Minister of Agriculture Gauri Shankar Chaudhary and Hon. Minister of State Radhika Tamang.

8. The Ministry of Agriculture Development has decided to postpone the study on the issue of distribution of identity cards and pensions to the farmers through consultancy.

Current situation

The Ministry of Agriculture Development has started discussions to provide pensions to all farmers across the country who are over 60 years of age. A task force has been formed under the coordination of Joint Secretary of the Ministry Kashi raj Dahal to further study the report on providing pensions to farmers. The same task force has initiated discussions to provide pensions to all the farmers who have been cultivating for 20 years and above 60 years.

In the report, it was recommended to start pension distribution from the poor VDCs of Sindhupalchok, Siraha, Chitwan, Khotang, Lamjung, Kailali, and Mugu. However, the ministry is preparing to provide pensions to farmers across the country who meet the criteria, estimating that providing a limited number of pensions could lead to disputes. Dahal, the coordinator of the task force, said that it was necessary to move forward by including all the farmers as it was a long-term action plan. "It would be awkward to start distributing pensions only to a limited number of farmers," he said.

There is a concept that farmers over 60 years of age who have been cultivating for 20 years can be selected on the basis of recommendations of local government bodies including community and agricultural service centers. The report has recommended providing a monthly pension of Rs 2,500 to the farmers who fall under such criteria. The Ministry is preparing to start the distribution of pensions to farmers from the current Fiscal Year 2013/14. Apart from this, the ministry has also formulated a concept to set up a pension fund and farmers will start getting pensions after contributing to it.

Additional Budget Required

A sum of Rs. 10 million has been allocated for the Farmer's Pension Program for the current Fiscal Year 2013/14. Dahal said that the amount was for study and necessary discussions and preparations only. "Additional budget is needed to implement the pension distribution program," he said.

This is the Process

The ministry had appointed a consultant to the Alternative Studies Society for the distribution of farmers' pensions. Society has already given the report. The Ministry will discuss and resolve the issue further. The required budget is then submitted to the Ministry of Finance. The money reaches the Planning Commission after the program and budget are approved. Even if the commission approves, the Ministry of Agriculture will submit the file to the Council of Ministers. And, the program will be implemented after the approval of the Council of Ministers.

Pension to all eligible farmers

In the report prepared to provide pensions to the farmers, it has been recommended to provide Rs. 2,500 pensions immediately to those who have lived in the poorest VDCs of seven districts for more than 60 years. It may be embarrassing to start distributing pensions from a limited number. It doesn't even send a positive message and may seem discriminatory. There are also legal challenges. Therefore, we are discussing the issue of providing pensions to the farmers across the country who have reached the criteria after completing the necessary preparations. We are trying to implement it as soon as possible.

Our perception

1. Priority to farmer classification

2. Land owners with more than 6 hectares of land should not be included in the farmer classification.

3.  Arrangement should be made to give identity cards to 2 persons (male and female) in one house.

4. Non-farmers should be discouraged from identifying real farmers.

5. Landless farmers should be identified and given identity cards.

6. Emphasis should be placed on social security including farmer's pension and life insurance.