Centre’s Covid package doesn’t offer much, claim farm experts - ECAS Punjab

Centre’s Covid package doesn’t offer much, claim farm experts

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Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, May 16

Measures proposed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to give an impetus to the farm economy of the country have perhaps not gone down well with experts.

Farmers protest

  • Farmers in different parts of the state on Saturday held a protest against the "anti-farmer policies" of the Centre by standing on the rooftops of their houses while maintaining social distancing.

  • As many as 10 farmer organisations in Punjab participated in the protest. While most farmers waived green flags standing on the rooftops, at some places, nukkad meetings were also organised.

They are of the view that the provision of easy loan in the 1.63 lakh crore package is not really required by the farmers of Punjab, who already have an access to institutional credit mechanism and are already reeling under heavy indebtedness.

Economist Sardara Singh Johl said: "I found yesterday's speech of the minister more of a reiteration of the budget that she has already announced. She has primarily made loans easier, but this is not what the state farmers need. They have already been asking for waiver of previous loans. As many as 80 per cent farmers of Punjab are in the marginal category. They cannot fulfill the needs of their families till the time we set up small industrial unit in their vicinity for supplementing their income. Small farmers cannot even go for e-marketing of their produce. We just need to integrate some agricultural services for them such as giving input and output machinery like tractors on contract and setting up some service centres."

Retired principal, Cooperative Banks Staff Training College, Jalandhar, Nachhatar Singh, said, "There was neither any immediate relief plan announced by her nor any improvised marketing model, which the farmers were actually waiting for. The farmers of Punjab have various issues before them. They are being asked to go in for direct seeding, for which there is no study to show how it could affect their productivity. All those studies which have been done are for controlled environment and not from fields where wagaries of weather really matter."

Punjab Agricultural University Registrar Dr Rajinder Sidhu too maintains that the volume of credit for Punjab farmers should not be enhanced and needs to be carefully monitored. "All studies, including those by NABARD, have shown that the indebtedness in Punjab is the highest in the country. The farmers here are bad financial managers," he said, adding that the relief package could in no way be related with Covid-induced crisis as it did not offer any immediate relief.

He said there were some offers which if taken well could help uplift the

rural sector in Punjab in the longer run.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/2X6XPOV

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