I watched the Budget session in a local tea stall in Laxmapur village of Shamirpet mandal, Telangana, with farmers and farm workers around. The moment the finance minister said farmers’ incomes would be doubled, I translated it from English to Telugu (local language) for the benefit of a few of my farmer friends who were around. A women farmer Girijamma, who produces vegetables on 2 acres of land, sipping her tea, jokingly said: “That man (finance minister) doesn’t know what we earn today. How do they know whether our incomes are doubled or whether they halve by 2022?”
Girijamma might be an illiterate poor farmer who does not have much exposure to the word of finance and development, But her words were profound. She highlighted the most important problem: Lack of reliable statistics regarding farmers’ incomes in India.