FinMin denies farmers to buy seeds with old notes

New Delhi, November 18: The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has rejected a proposal entailing permission for farmers to buy seeds worth Rs 10,000 per day with old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 until November 24 for Rabi crop. The proposal was sent by Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Radha Mohan Singh on November 15.

Thus demonitisation of 86 % of cash inflow in Indian economy is hard hitting country’s 500 million farmers as this is the most ripe period of season to sow the Rabi crop.

The Agriculture Minister also highlighted how badly the sector is hit by the ban as the country’s Rabi target is around 638.09 lakh hectares of sown area while till November 11 only 146.85 lakh hectares which is 23 per cent of the national target was achieved. After December 10, the sowing seeds would hurt the both the quality and yield.

Finance Minister rejected the proposal and allowed farmers to draw up to Rs 25,000 per week against crop loans.

Department of Economic Affairs however cited the “rise of deposits in Jan Dhan accounts” to reject the Agriculture minister’s request of allowing old currency for seed purchase. The Ministry also said this may turn into “a conduit to offload black money.

Rejecting the Mohan Singh’s plea for relaxation to farmers for the coming week, the Ministry further 16 crore Jan Dhan active accounts in the rural sector could be used by farmers to exchange currency or withdraw cash and used for buying seeds and fertilisers.

The agriculture minister also highlighted that if farmers could buy new seeds with old currency they could purchase certified quality seeds from public sector National Seeds Corporation (NSC) rather than relying on low-yielding seeds saved from their earlier produce due to lacking funds.

The low quality seeds would lower the national output and waste the high-yielding seeds cultivated by NSC, said the agriculture minsiter.

The proposal was well designed as Mohan Singh had also suggested that selling agencies like NSC, ICAR or state agriculture departments may collect attested identity cards and details by farmers so ensure the best use of the provision. Another suggestion was to deny the refund of money or seeds for the made purchases through old currency notes.

But the finance Ministry rejected the proposal and allowed 25000 allowed farmers to draw up to Rs 25,000 per week against crop loans.

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