A few months ago, a large number of Arhtiyas provoked the farmers of Punjab to protest against the Modi government for the three farm laws. The politically and financially powerful Arhtiya association has been able to fuel the misguided protest for a few months and even got the Punjab government on its side. A number of farmers actually thought that the Modi government is bringing something evil and protested (although the violent protest was primarily driven by Khalistani elements).
However, the farmers of Punjab are now cheering for the Modi government, as, for the first time in their lives, they got the money for MSP procurement directly transferred to their bank accounts.
“This is the best system. What could be better than getting payment for our crop in our account?” Dalip, a farmer who sold his produce on MSP a few days ago and now got the direct payment, told The Indian Express. “Earlier, Arhtiyas gave us a cheque. After we took our crop to the mandi, everything was in the hands of the agent. The final settlement of accounts took time, as the Arhtiyas always found an excuse to defer the payment even after the farmer had repaid any debts he might have had.”
The enforcement of a pan-India DBT system for procurement at MSP is a big win for farmers, and as such a major achievement for Piyush Goyal. By launching the scheme from Punjab, Goyal has also sent out a message to the Amarinder Singh government. Earlier, there was a disagreement between the Punjab government and the Centre over the implementation of DBT and bypassing the Arhtiyas to pay out the farmers for their crops.
The Punjab government took the side of Arhtiyas and wrote letters to Prime Minister Modi and Piyush Goyal to make payment through Arhtiyas. However, despite the letters and meeting of Punjab’s finance minister with Piyush Goyal, the Minister refused to pay MSP until the DBT is implemented.
The government of Punjab finally gave up and Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said, “The Government of India refused to budge on the DBT issue and insisted that Punjab will have to transfer money directly to the farmers within 48 hours. Otherwise, they said, they (the Centre) will not procure from Punjab. They said that it’s their money, their food and this is the way they want it. They will not pay the Arhtiyas (commission agents).”
One Nation, One MSP, One DBT: Dalip Kumar of Rajpura, Punjab is the happiest he’s ever been in his 15 years spent as a farmer after getting DBT as MSP for his crop
Modi govt. is working hard to ensure happiness of crores of farmers across Punjab & India.https://t.co/lcMhp4hYfP
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) April 17, 2021
More than 1.6 lakh farmers of Punjab got 13.71 lakh crore rupees from the Food Corporation of India for the direct purchase of their produce through DBT. “One Nation, One MSP, One DBT: Dalip Kumar of Rajpura, Punjab is the happiest he’s ever been in his 15 years spent as a farmer after getting DBT as MSP for his crop. Modi govt. is working hard to ensure happiness of crores of farmers across Punjab & India,” tweeted Piyush Goyal, Minister of Food and Public Distribution.
So, with the announcement of one nation, one MSP, one DBT, the procurement process in Indian agriculture finally stands standardised and the farmer’s of Punjab are freed from the clutches of middlemen.