Swaraj India – Jai Kisan Andolan
26th March 2020
– Existing right of farmers under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) shockingly camouflaged as new relief: Yogendra Yadav, Founder, Jai Kisan Andolan
– Share Market speculation supported by government but food production ignored: Avik Saha, National Convenor, Jai Kisan Andolan
Farmers of India were conspicuously left out of the relief package of Rs. 1.75 lakh crore announced by the Finance Minister of India today. It is shocking that the Finance Minster attempted to disguise the existing entitlement of famers under PM-KISAN to receive Rs.2000/- in April 2020 as a new relief and the mislead the nation. Even if there was no pandemic in India, farmers would have received this sum of Rs.2000/- in April 2020, said Yogendra Yadav, Founder of Jai Kisan Andolan.
Avik Saha, National Convenor, Jai Kisan Andolan, said: While additional food and some monetary entitlements were announced which may lead of saving of lives, already tenuous and crisis-ridden livelihood of farmers have been completely ignored and are on the verge of being destroyed. Winter crops of cereals, pulses, potatoes and seasonal crops of vegetables of farmers all over India are ready for harvest and sale at agri markets but the government has remained silent on how during the lockdown period farmers will harvest their crops, transport it to markets and sell the same and derive income. Milk and Poultry farmers are in similar quandary. It has to be kept in mind that March-April is the period when farmers derive their half-yearly income which sustains them for the next 6 months, before the monsoon crops are ready for harvest and sale. It is surprising that the government considers the speculative stock market operation vital for economy and therefore protected from lockdown but considers production of food as secondary and therefore undeserving of any attention.
Jai Kisan Andolan demands that the Central and all State Governments should:
1. Issue Special ID Cards or Passes to Farmers, farm produce transporters, vendors etc. to carry out daily operations
2. Ensure that wholesale agri-markets remain open for transaction, maintaining due norms and precaution of social distancing and medical protection
3. To minimise travel and gathering, government agencies should immediately commence mobile procurement of farm produce (especially perishable produce)
4. Ensure that the e-NAM system actually works and bulk of the transactions can be done online
5. Declare moratorium on all loans for a period of one year, subject to review after control of the pandemic
This is also the time when the Central Government should ensure the the benefit of PM-KISAN reaches all farmers of the country and the existing shortcoming of the system are rectified.