05 March, 2021

Bananas, Anyone?

No power, no hands. The small farmer sees little relief.

P. Anil Kumar
Bananas, Anyone?
View From The North

Balwinder Singh of Sakho Majra in Ropar district is frustrated with our policymakers. Ordinarily, a small farmer like him with six acres of land should have been happy with the budget's promise of more funds for rural infrastructure and agricultural credit, as well as plans to set up a task force to deal with non-institutional loans. But Balwinder's experience a couple of years back of trying to get subsidy on a zero drill machine costing Rs 45,000 has made him cynical. "I am entitled to a Rs 5,000 subsidy, but the process of getting it proved so expensive and cumbersome that I gave it up." Though farmers are happy that the government is planning to provide fertiliser subsidy directly to them, "what will eventually matter is the mechanism by which it reaches us".

In the middle of a harrowing paddy sowing season with no signs of monsoon rains, few farmers have paid much attention to the budget. In village after village, all the farmers want to...
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