Even a $500 per hectare commitment, when implemented over 190 million hectares of gross planted area, works out to $95 billion annually, or 3.5% of pre-Covid GDP. It’s true that fragmented landholdings will greatly vary the amount households receive, but in India’s hinterlands, a $1,000 payout for two hectares won’t be negligible. It could become a starting point to gradually dismantle the market-distorting support prices. That’s when the handout will pay for itself. The challenge will be to make it reach tenant farmers. That’s been a problem even for the $80-a-year income subsidy for small farmers Modi announced before the 2019 general election. 

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