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Farmer no fool, govts should put the money where the mouth is

More than the promises, it's their tardy implementation that is hurting the rural population more

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

Agriculture Minister wants cheaper credit, not loan waivers

All along the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, a couple of things stood out during my two-day trip to the region in the midst of the state-wide farmers’

First, unlike our common perception, today are highly informed and well versed about their rights, government schemes and programmes. So, they would not shy away from claiming their due, be it from the district administration, or

The that spread across and has been gathering strength since June 1 is also on account of many unfulfilled promises of both the Central and governments. 

The immediate cause, though, is sharp crash in prices of all major commodities grown in the region, but there also is growing anger against tardy implementation of programmes and unfulfillment of promises both by the and

More than the promises, it’s there tardy implementation that is hurting the rural population more. 

Central and schemes look good on paper but when it comes to actual implementation many things are still riddled with inefficiency and corruption.

In fact, as a farmer told Business Standard, the has enhanced the allocation for building houses under the from Rs 75,000 per unit to over Rs 1,20,000 per unit, but the local patwari or other block official demand a cut before approving the unit for central allocation. 

In the Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana, said that the compensation paid is much less than the total premium collected which gives rise to the suspicion that the entire programme is being run to benefit insurance companies. 

A delegation of Swaraj Abhiyan which tried reaching Mandsaur but was prevented from doing so by the district administration found that in banks deduct their loan installment from savings account of as soon as payment is received in them through mandis.

It is here that the role of local administration and officials become important. How the schemes or programmes or announcements can be of best use unless implementation issues are addressed remains to be seen.

It is in this perspective that the Madhya Pradesh’s government’s recent announcement of banning purchase of any produce whose (MSP) has been determined by the or government in mandis should be seen.

The government on Monday announced that all farm produce whose has been determined by the and the procurement process is on in mandis can’t be sold below  

And in commodities where there is no procurement, the farm produce will have be sold at the maximum rate at determined through an open auction system. 

The also instructed all mandis to file a report with district marketing board if any farm produce is being sold below for two consecutive dates.

This incidentally, also includes onion, where there is no (MSP). The has also directed the mandi samitis to relax the quality parameters for procurement of farm produce.

One big cause of resentment among several of has been a sharp drop in prices which does not come under the regime but has seen one of the biggest fall in prices. 

In most retail markets, is selling at 5-10 per cent less than the rate prevailing a year back. For farmers, the government has decided to purchase all of their produce at Rs 8 per kilogram and sell it through fair price shops at Rs 2, bearing a financial burden of Rs 6 per kg.

Already, till last announcement has bought around 300,000 tonnes of onions from in the last few days incurring a loss of around Rs 30 crore. Going forward, it is planning to step up the procurement and open more centres across the  

It has directed mandis to enable sell their onions multiple times in a day and is himself monitoring the ground situation. For pulses, NAFED under direction from the government has decided to open 48 purchasing centres for urad, 80 for tur and 62 for masur and their numbers could be raised if there is demand.

But, the events happening since June 1 and the that shook the country shows, unless there is an effective, proper and a corruption-free implementation of schemes and programmes and announcements are done both by and government, challenges confronting India’s farm sector won’t go away soon.

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