The unrest on the courtyard front shimmers like straw fire

A complete loan waiver for Punjab farmers was an important driver of Captain Amarinder Singh's campaign During the polls in 2017, but as soon as he was in power, the congressional government he cited at the end of 2017 introduced a watered-down version of agricultural debt forgiveness. The scheme included only 10.25 lakh fringe and small farmers who own up to 5 acres of land with loans up to Rs 2 lakh.

After the congressional administration in Punjab has expired two years of office, the government figures show that the debt of Rs 4,514, amounting to 5.64 lakh farmers, was written off in three phases. In the fourth phase, which began on March 7, a discharge of 164 rupees was granted. This means that so far 5.80 lakh farmers have benefited from the loan waiver of 4,678 Rs. Apart from that, the farmers and farm workers of 2.85 lakh to be granted relief of 520 rupees. However, this accounts for only a fraction of the total debt burden of farmers, which is due to cooperative, commercial and private banks in the amount of Rs 81,130 crore. From this they owe the cooperative sector 12,500 rupees. The debts of the small farmers and small farmers are at 20,000 rupees. In a letter to the Prime Minister on March 22, 2017, shortly after the state took office, Amarinder had applied for a special one-off waiver package on which these figures were based.

Has the Punjab government's debt relief brought small and small farmers something? A majority of small farmers and small farmers have raised agricultural loans from arhtiyas (commission agents) up to 36%. Experts point out that about 1 lakh farmers are not even covered by the waiver.

BKU Ekta Ugrahan Secretary-General Sukhdev Singh Kokri said: "Prior to the February 2017 elections, Congress made several promises to farmers. The biggest was a complete abandonment of agricultural loans. However, after taking power, the waiver of Rs 2 lakh was limited to only two pound farmers with up to 5 hectares of land. Two years have passed, but the debts of all eligible farmers have not been written off. "

The center's NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced a plan to help farmers, assuring that farm income will double by 2022. However, not much has changed on the ground.

Farmers say that debt relief has brought only minor relief to small and medium-sized farmers, while the rural banking sector believes that it has affected the recovery of rural and co-operative banks.

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Punjab farmers are in protest mode. They seek a complete loan waiver, set the MSP according to the C2 formula, receive uninterrupted compensation for suicidal peasant families, and end the practice of receiving checks from farmers while advancing loans.

Farmers are also unenthusiastic of improving crop damage to Rs. 12,000 per hectare of Rs. 8,000 per hectare. You want the value to be increased to 20,000 rupees per hectare.

Punjab has more than 13 lakh peasant families, and the state government has granted the 10.25 lakh peasants and peasants a debt relief of RM 9,500. Nevertheless, farmer outfits claim that more than 600 peasants and farm workers have ended their lives since the Amarinder government took power in Punjab. The opposition parties, however, estimated the number of suicides committed by farmers at that time at 900.

Diversification Blues

With 128 out of 148 areas in Punjab, which were considered critical in view of the depleted water level, the state government put into this household 60 rupees for diverting a quarter of the rice field – nearly 7-8 lakh hectares – into the citrus plantation growing vegetables and cotton , Achieving this goal is, in the view of agronomists and farmers, almost impossible, as there is no marketing mechanism for crops other than wheat, rice or cotton. The Kinnow breeders in Fazilka, Muktsar-Gürtel, complain about the lack of a suitable marketing system or solution for waterlogging. They cite the situation of potato producers in the Doaba region in the last three years and those of sugar cane producers. The farmers describe the claims of the state government for diversification as "hollow".

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna

Farmers say Fasal bima yojna is for harvest insurance companies only. They describe the system as flawed because the insurance companies treat the entire village as one unit to determine the loss of crops in the event of a natural disaster. They point out that in Punjab, the entire village generally sees no crop damage and ultimately, farmers do not benefit from it.

Checks from banks

Punjab farmers are fighting against the state-level bankers' commission, which is currently headed by Punjab National Bank. Farmers are protesting against forcing the panel to stop collecting checks as a security tool from farmers. They claim that if a peasant check is disgraced, a case will be filed under Section 138 of the Tradable Instruments Act and land auctions or the farmer's arrest warrant will be sought. The State Cooperative Department has called on banks not to compel farmers to pay checks, and the committee is considering redeeming the checks. Farmers, however, are determined in protest until the state gives a written assurance that they will not receive checks from farmers while prescribing loans.

Suicide compensation

The previous SAD BJP government had raised the ex-gratia for "suicide in agriculture due to debt" to Rs 3 lakh from Rs 2 lakh towards the end of term. Congress had promised to raise it to Rs 5 lakh. However, the farmers' organizations claim that families are not even given compensation of Rs 3, as most cases are rejected on weak grounds. A district-level committee takes up the case and sends its recommendation to the country-level committee, which sanctions the state revenue and rehabilitation department. Farmers claim that hundreds of cases are turned down, and it takes months and even years for the cases to be resolved.

General Secretary of the BKU Dakonda, Jagmohan Singh, said that all promises of debt relief, full of MSP, double income and Fasal Bima Yojna, made by the central government and state governments, have proved hollow. The state government has even failed to compensate families of farmers who have committed suicide because of debt.

A leaf from the past

In 2006, Kerala relied on the Punjab's Sir Chhotu Ram Commission model to address the problem of agricultural distress. This helped the state to eliminate the debts of agriculture. A team of farmers, legal experts, agricultural scientists, policy officers and others goes to the villages, talks with the farmers and decides on the extent of the relief on the ground.

Stubble economy

State farmers accuse the congressional government of having forced them not to burn rice stubble without formulating a durable workable solution. The farmers do not want to burn the stubble, but have no other option. They call on the government to pay them compensation of Rs. 200 per quintal or Rs. 6,000 per hectare, and farmers are spending the money on a viable solution so that they can sow the next crop without burning rice straw the demand was not met. The government has provided subsidies for various equipment for the management of rice straw, but farmers are unable to buy expensive machinery or combine SuperSMS with harvesters, says Punjab Kisan Union President Ruldu Singh.

Farmers are also suffering from the stray threat and want a solution to the annoying problem. They say they must keep watch over their fields all the time, so that the stray cattle can not invade and destroy the standing grain. Frequently, the stray cattle cause friction among the inhabitants of villages, with the peasants of one village trying to chase stray cattle to another village.

In the past, in Bhucho in Bathinda and Tapa in Barnala, there were certain incidents in which farmers were even injured in such clashes.