On Monday Modi govt. has extended a huge relief for farmers by allowing them to buy seeds with old currency notes from any state or central government outlets and agri universities ahead of the Rabi harvesting season.
Farmers can purchase seeds from the centres, units or outlets belonging to the central or state governments, public sector undertakings, national or state seeds corporations, central or state agricultural universities and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), on production of proof of identity, the finance ministry said in a statement. The government is committed to ensure that farmers are suitably facilitated during the Rabi season, it said.
Demonetization has severely affected the rural areas. A large number of agrarians who do have accounts, bank with the local co-operative and Gramin banks, which in compliance with RBI guidelines were not authorised to exchange or deposit the defunct notes.
Add to this the fact that almost all transactions in rural India are cash based and only a fraction of Indians use “plastic money” for day to day paltry payments. The move hit daily-waged farm labourers even more, as cash-starved farmers are unable to pay wages on time in the right currency.
Moreover, with the seeding season for Rabi crop at its peak, the farmers had been in a fix as they didn’t have the new currency notes to purchase fertilisers and new seeds.
Meanwhile, with their hardships in mind, the government has issued a slew of measures to ease the burden on the cash strapped economy. Apart from announcing the relaxation in buying seeds, the government had on Thursday increased the withdrawal limit for farmers to 25,000 apart from allowing them a 15 day grace to pay their crop insurance premiums.