"No Adverse Affect Of Demonetisation": Agriculture Ministry Makes U-Turn, Withdraws Earlier Report
The Agriculture Ministry has taken a U-turn on the earlier published report which said that millions of farmers were affected by demonetisation. Quashing the earlier report, the new report says that there was no “adverse impact”.
Additionally, the Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, on November 27 informed the Parliamentary Panel on Finance that show cause notices have been issued to two Directors and a Joint Secretary for the old report.
“No adverse impact”
As reported by The Hindu, according to official sources, Agarwal said that he was overseas when the earlier report was submitted and that it was not evaluated by him.
As per the new report submitted on November 27, measures taken by the government ensured that the farmers were not adversely affected by demonetisation. The report further says that the government adopted several strategies to ensure the availability of credit, seeds, fertilizers and marketing avenues. The claims made in the fresh report was supported by various statistics showing that the grain production in ‘Rabi’ rose during 2016-17 to 1367.78 lakh tonne against the 1264.50 lakh tonne in 2015-16. The number further grew to 1441.02 lakh tonne in 2017-18. However, it is not clear if the remuneration received by the farmers was affected.
The ministry has said that earlier there was a mistake in the compilation of data which led to an “erroneous” report, as reported by NDTV.
Reportedly, Veerappa Moily, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance rebuked the ministry for presenting two contrasting reports. An Opposition member told The Hindu, “It is very unusual for the Ministry to replace a report it has submitted. It looks like there was pressure from certain quarters on the Ministry.”
The old report
The Union Agriculture Ministry in the report submitted on November 20 to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance stated that millions of farmers in the country were affected by the implementation of demonetisation in 2016, as they were unable to buy seeds and fertilisers for the winter crops.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Congress MP Veerappa Moily, on Tuesday was told that demonetisation was launched at the time when the farmers in the country were busy in either selling their Kharif crops (Autumn crops) or sowing the Rabi crops (Spring harvest). The report said that both these operations require a huge amount of money but during that time, the farmers’ either didn’t have cash or if there was cash(demonetised money), it was useless. In the meeting, the Union ministry acknowledged that demonetisation made all the cash that the farmers had in their hand useless affecting their sale and purchase drastically.
Stating that the move was problematic for both small and big farmers. The report pointed out that India’s 263 million farmers live mostly in the cash economy. It further added that “Millions of farmers were unable to get enough cash to buy seeds and fertilisers for their winter crops. Even bigger landlords faced problem such as paying daily wages to the farmers and purchasing agriculture needs for growing crops,” as reported by The Hindu.