"Who is a farmer?"
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was unable to answer this question recently in the Rajya Sabha.
In the National Policy for Farmers, which was officially approved by the Centre in 2007 there is a clear and comprehensive definition available for the term farmer.
'For the purpose of this Policy, the term ‘FARMER’ is referred to a person actively engaged in the economic and/or livelihood activity of growing crops and producing other primary agricultural commodities.
It will include all agricultural operational holders, cultivators, agricultural labourers, sharecroppers tenants, poultry and livestock rearers, fishers, beekeepers, gardeners, pastoralists, non-corporate planters and planting labourers.
It will also include persons engaged in various farming related occupations such as sericulture, vermiculture and agro-forestry.
The term will also include tribal families / persons engaged in shifting cultivation and in the collection, use and sale of minor and non-timber forest produce.
The National Policy for Farmers was drafted by the National Commission of Farmers headed by M.S. Swaminathan. The Centre provides income support to all farmer families who own cultivable land, via the PM-KISAN scheme.