As reported earlier, on Centre’s insistence and consistent efforts, the Punjab government had recently agreed to ensure online payments for crops procured at MSP directly into the farmers’ accounts.
The DBT system has been successful and according to the data by Food Cooperation of India(FCI), central government agencies have procured 18.24 lakh tonnes of wheat in Punjab.
Punjab’s first two farmers who received direct benefit transfer (DBT) for their crops – Tarlochan Singh (48) of Rupnagar district’s Bhurara village and Dalip Singh (39) of Patiala’s Neelpur village — were all praise for the central government’s new system and said that they feel empowered, reports Hindustan Times.
“I feel happy as I got the payment within 48 hours of procurement of my crop. Earlier, it used to take 7- 10 days for the payment transfer. But this has come with a responsibility as now I have to manage the funds myself and not the arhtiya who did it in the past. Now we have to be careful about our spending as we do not have anyone to fall back on. But we will get used to the new system,” said Tarlochan, who received ₹1.58 lakh in his account.
Meanwhile, Dalip Singh said he felt empowered as the old system has finally changed. “The arhtiyas used to delay payments to farmers for weeks and sometimes months and it led to overcharging and fleecing. There is no worry of being fleeced now. But the commission agents should not be worried as the age-old farmer-arhtiya relationship is here to stay. Farmers reposed faith in the arhtiyas for decades. The tables have turned now and it is their turn,” said the 39-year-old who received ₹1.48 lakh payment.
Farmer leader Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Dakaunda, said the new system marks a big day in the life of the farmer — he has, for the first time, got the price of his crop in hand without having to depend on others.
These words from the farmers in Punjab hint at how farmers are benefiting from centre’s schemes and how moneylenders and middlemen who didn’t want to loosen their clutches over farmers were apparently fuelling the anti-farm bill protests in the name of farmers.