Skip to main content

Demonetization: Gujarat farmers "reveal" how they are suffering, yet say they are scared to talk about it

By Pankti Jog*
Ben majoor manasoni daya nathi avti sarkarne” (sister, government does not even pity for these daily labourers). A farmer from Surendranagar district of Gujarat told me on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline number, 9924085000. He continued telling me about the status of agricultural workers in the area.
Farmers pay them Rs 100 to Rs 140 as wages plus tea, and Rs 20 for gutkha for 5 hours of work. However, for the last 15 days, no one is calling them for work. Wage rates have fallen down to Rs 60 for 5 hours. Agricultural laborers in around 28 villages of Kharagodha of Patadi area in the district are now ready to go for work at the cost of their daily food.
When farmers tell agricultural workers that they can’t be engage due to shortage of cash, many of these labourers say, “No problem, give us food”. Agricultural labourers from many of the villages are making their daily living by having bajra rotla and chutney as they can’t afford anything beyond this. Farmers are getting concerned over the status of agricultural labourers, who have begun dialling RTI helpline for rescue and guidance.
Many of the farmers have chosen to cultivate only 60% of their land due to cash crisis. “Once we sow seeds, we require money to be given to labourers, for buying fertilizers and pesticides, and for using tractors. Banks in our areas do not have any cash. We can’t let our crop die, hence we chose to sow only 60% of the land and leave 40% as fallow”, said a farmer on RTI helpline.
“As large amount of land will be fallow in this area, demand for agriculture labour will be go down throughout the season. This is not going to settle in 50 days”, added another farmer.
Pankti Jog
Another type of issue came up with bhagiya share croppers. Farmers gave them advance in the same week when the government declared ‘notebandhi’ (demonetization).
“I had Rs 20,000 saved from the rainy season crop, and as I was to continue with the same farmer from whom I received Rs 70,000 towards advance for the jeeru crop. On the next day, however, I had to put all of Rs 90,000 in my account, which will now be considered as my ‘income’,”, complained a sharecropper.
“And I am not been able to withdraw money. My jeeru season is gone, as I need cash now to sow, to buy fertilizer and pesticides”, the share cropper, who belongs to Santalpur block of Patan district, said, narrating his plight over the helpline.
Another caller, who is a famer from Amreli district, had asked four agricultural labourers' families from far away Jhabhua to help him on his far. He said, he was standing in queue throughout the day to get Rs 4,000 after three days. He was supposed to pay Rs 10,000 per family as advance once they reached his farm. Sounding tense, he wondered whether his name would be spoiled if he did not pay pay them on time.
“Why don’t you raise this issue?”, I asked each of the callers. Not one among hundreds of callers wished to share their names in public. “Please do not take our names”, was the cryptic reply. Most of them requested: “We don’t want to be looked like talking against the government”.
People across rural Gujarat are suffering because of demonetization, but are scared to talk about it.
---
*Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.