Farmers Badly Hit by Demo, Says Agricultural Ministry in Report

A report submitted by the Union Agriculture Ministry to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, stated that millions of farmers were badly affected during demonetisation, as they were unable to buy seeds and fertilizers for their winter crops, The Hindu reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as part of the government’s attempt to curb the black money in the market, had announced the shock-ban on 8 November, 2016. With the Prime minister’s announcement, currency notes worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes ceased to be legal tender and would no longer be in circulation.

Congress MP Veerappa Moily, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, was briefed about this development on Tuesday, 20 November, by the Ministries of Agriculture, Labour and Employment, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

WHAT DOES THE REPORT CLAIM?

According to the report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation in India, at a time when these farmers were in between selling their Kharif crops or sowing the Rabi crops – activities which require a significant amount of cash, that was not available in the market after the move was implemented, The Hindu reported.

The report further stated:

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“Millions of farmers were unable to get enough cash to buy seeds and fertilisers for their winter crops. Even bigger landlords faced a problem, such as paying daily wages to the farmers and purchasing agriculture needs for growing crops.”

DID DEMONETISATION AFFECT BIGGER PLAYERS IN THE SECTOR?

It wasn’t just the small-scale farmers who were affected by the demonetisation policy. Even the National Seeds Corporation (NSC) – a government organization – failed to sell nearly 1.38 lakh quintals of wheat seeds as a result of it, the report added.

This, despite the government allowing wheat seeds to be bought in the old currency notes.

Also Read: ‘Bhavantar Nahi, Bhav’: Mandsaur Farmers’ Plea for ‘Right Prices’

WHAT WAS THE IMPACT OF THIS REPORT?

Following the report being handed to the Standing Committee, it asked the officials from the Agriculture Ministry to return, as the Secretary of Agriculture, had not been present at this meet, the report added.

The revelation of the distress caused to farmers during demonetisation at this point of time is extremely crucial to the ruling government, as it is a key issue to address in the upcoming elections taking place in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

The news about the report led opposition parties to strike hard at the Modi-led government and the Committee – asking them whether they were aware that along with this, about 1.5 million jobs were also lost due to demonetisation.

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