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Swaraj India report highlights deficiencies in kharif crop procurement in Haryana

File photo for representation.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

Delayed payments, grossly insufficient numbers of farmers scheduled for sales per day, arbitrary quantitative limits on procurement and the lack of a grievance redress system are some of the problems highlighted by Jai Kisan Andolan and Swaraj Abhiyan in their report on deficiencies in the ongoing procurement process for kharif crops in Haryana. The report also offers 17 suggestions to the government for improvement.

Titled ‘Deficiencies in Procurement System and Difficulties Faced by Farmers in Haryana,’ the report has been handed over to Haryana Agriculture Minister Jai Prakash Dalal in Bhiwani by a delegation of Swaraj India led by its national president Yogendra Yadav.

Referring to the inconvenience faced by the farmers due to the new software and alleged wrong policies of the government, Mr. Yadav attracted the attention of the minister to the fact that none of farmers was paid for the crops procured so far. He said that Swaraj India would be forced to launch an agitation if the government failed to address the farmers’ grievances.

Based on the Swaraj Abhiyan team’s visit to a dozen mandis across six districts in South Haryana, the report claimed that notwithstanding the government’s claim to make payment within 72 hours, they “did not come across any farmer or trader who supported this claim”, adding that “the impression we gathered is that yet no farmer has received the payment in their account. This is putting farmers to great distress in this festival and wedding season. This delay acts as severe disincentive for the farmers and pushes them towards the private traders at severe losses”.

The report pointed out that only 5-11% of the total registered farmers in four districts – Bhiwani, Mahendragarh, Charkhi Dadri and Rewari – had managed to sell their crops in the first two weeks of the six-week procurement session. The slow procurement process forced the farmers to sell their crop to private traders at a price much lesser than Minimum Support Price and the commission agents were also forced to work much below their capacity. It suggested that 500-600 farmers be scheduled per day and all registered farmers cleared by mid-November. “Purchase must take place on all days, without any break for holidays,” the report said.

The report argued that the eight quintal and 33 quintal per acre limit on procurement of bajra and paddy respectively was irrational and punished the farmers for producing more. It said the limit fixed using the arithmetic average of the production in the state defied logic and the ceiling, if imposed, should be the upper end of statistical range.

The report said the online registration at “Meri Fasal Mera Byora” had increased, but in backward areas like Mewat, many farmers were still not aware about the requirement of registration and thus lost out on this opportunity for a fair price for their produce. “In the previous years we had noticed a clear system of grievance redress...this time we did not find public notification of grievance committee in any of mandis we visited,” said the report.

Among important suggestions, the report demanded that the farmers are sent a voice message along with an SMS to inform them of their scheduled date for procurement at least two days in advance, the schedule for the entire period of procurement must be prepared and made public, penal interest be paid at 18% per annum to farmers in case of delayed payment and commission agents must be authorised to purchase cotton on behalf of Cotton Corporation of India in those mandis where there are no corporation centres.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 12:26:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/swaraj-india-report-highlights-deficiencies-in-kharif-crop-procurement-in-haryana/article32907307.ece

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