ECONOMY

Monthly Archives: APRIL 2018


India collects Rs 7.41 trillion from GST in 2017-18
27.04.18 - Team PT
India collects Rs 7.41 trillion from GST in 2017-18



GOVERNMENT OF INDIA collected Rs 7.41 trillion in taxes in the first year of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The government had last reported a GST collection of Rs 7.17 trillion for the first eight months since the new tax regime that subsumed 17 central and state taxes on sale of goods and rendering of services was rolled out in July.

As per a business-standard.com report, from 2018-19 fiscal year that began this month, the government is shifting to a cash basis of accounting where revenues accrued at the completion of a month would be taken on record. Accordingly collection for April is likely to be released on May 1.

For the period ending March 31, 2018, the GST collection has been put at Rs 7.41 trillion, a finance ministry statement said.

"During 2017-18, total revenue collected under GST in the period between August 2017 and March 2018 has been Rs 7.19 trillion.

"This includes Rs 1.19 trillion of CGST, Rs 1.72 trillion of SGST, Rs 3.66 trillion of IGST (including Rs 1.73 trillion on imports) and Rs 620.21 billion of cess (including Rs 57.02 billion on imports)," the statement said.

At the end of March, the Centre has Rs 200 billion in its cess pool, which will be utilised to compensate the states for revenue loss, an official said.

Under GST, the tax levied on consumption of goods or rendering of service is split 50:50 between the Centre and the states. Such tax is known as Central-GST or CGST and State-GST or SGST.

On inter-state movement of goods as well as imports, an Integrated-GST or IGST is levied, which accrues to the Centre. A cess is levied on top of these taxes on sin and luxury goods which make up for the compensation kitty used to make good of any revenue shortfall faced by states on implementation of GST.

"While the tax on domestic supplies in a month is collected through the process of returns and gets collected in the next month, IGST and cess on imports gets collected in the same month.

"Therefore, during the current year, GST on domestic supplies has been collected only in eight months from August 2017 to March 2018, IGST and cess on imports has been collected for nine months, from July 2017 to March 2018. Including the collection of July 2017, the total GST collection during the financial year 2017-18 stands provisionally at Rs 7.41 trillion," the statement said.

The SGST collection during the year, including the settlement of IGST has been Rs 2.91 trillion.

The total compensation released to the states for a period of eight months during the last financial year was Rs 411.47 billion to ensure that the revenue of the states is protected at the level of 14 per cent over the base year tax collection in 2015-16.

The revenue gap of each state is coming down over last eight months. The average revenue gap of all states for last year is around 17 per cent.

The government said there has been a steady increase in compliance with 62.6 per cent of those required to file returns doing so in March as compared to 57.7 per cent in July 2017.
"Financial Year has reached to an average of 65 per cent from around 55-57 per cent observed during initial months. The cumulative compliance levels (percentage of returns filed till date) for initial months has crossed 90 per cent and for July, 2018, has reached 96 per cent," it said.

The government has met the revised estimate of indirect tax collection, the official said.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT






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OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES
Debt-ridden farmers can earn big money by making asthma patients smell honeybee, or making you listen to “bee music”
06.04.18 - S Pal
Debt-ridden farmers can earn big money by making asthma patients smell honeybee, or making you listen to “bee music”



THIS WAS THE most serious move the Punjab Government made to analyse reasons behind farm suicides in the state and suggest ways to ensure no farmer or agricultural labourer opts to end his life because of agrarian distress: Chief Minister Amarinder Singh proposed, and the Punjab Assembly set up a five-member committee of lawmakers to take upon this onerous task.

Nine months, 53 meetings, innumerable visits to villages and towns of Punjab and elsewhere, the Committee of the Punjab Assembly has come up with never-before-heard solutions, some of them absolutely out-of-the-box, metaphorically as well as literally.

Out of a box, in fact. An apiary, boxes in which honey bees are kept.

"Many diseases can be cured with just the aroma of honey bees. For example, a disease like asthma can be cured in 3-4 such sittings (of inhaling the bee/honey aroma emitting out of an apiary box). A farmer can enhance his income by Rs 500 per sitting," the Committee's report says in a matter-of-fact way, educating Punjab's farmers about how to increase their income, after it deduced, following massive brainstorming sessions, that the real reason behind suicides was low income of farmers.

If a farmer could earn Rs 500 by allowing an asthma patient to inhale the honey/bee/wax aroma from one box for a few minutes, it should be possible for him to offer this service to at least 20 patients in one day, thus adding a neat Rs 10,000 per day income to the farmer's budget.
 
Allowing for a weekly off day to the farmer, a luxury in the agrarian world, it can still result in an income of more than Rs. 2.50 lakh in a month. Two boxes of honey bees can jack up the farmers’ gross income to Rs 5 lakh a month.
---------
"Many diseases can be cured with just the aroma of honey bees. Asthma can be cured in 3-4 such sittings. A farmer can earn Rs 500 per sitting by allowing an asthma patient to smell the honey/bees/wax."
— Punjab Vidhan Sabha Committee's Report, Page 65.
---------
 
When this author informed agricultural policies’ expert Devinder Sharma about this unique (read peculiar) profit-garnering formula proposed by the Vidhan Sabha panel comprising MLAs, he was left shell-shocked. "I keep coming across many inanities in government reports, having spent years poring through such documents, but this was something I could have never expected,” he said, as he tweeted the visual of this particular para with his comment. 

In its 99-page report, tabled in the Punjab Assembly in the last Budget Session, the Committee has also advised farmers to become entrepreneurs and profit from the widespread instance of cancer and diabetes. 

"Because of cancer and sugar disease (literal translation - Ed), the demand for pollen of bees (sic) is rising. This pollen sells for Rs 2,000 per kilogram in the market. It takes just 5-7 days to collect this much pollen, from which medicine is prepared. Much income can be had in this way," the report, currently being seriously studied by top Punjab bureaucrats, said. (Page 64).

In fact, poor Punjab farmers, who find themselves pushed to the brink of suicide and reeling under debt from which they are crying for an escape, can actually become global entrepreneurs, if only they turn to Page 64 and care to read the exertions of the Committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which claims to have fulfilled its "responsibility" (zimmevari, page v) with "complete honesty" (poori imandari, page 1) and "complete dedication" (poori tan-dehi, page v).

"Makhiyan di royal jelly di antar-rashtri mandi vich bahut zayada mang hai." (There is massive demand for the royal jelly of honeybees in the global market.)

Under the sub-head, Bee Propolis, a term that the Committee did not care to translate for the farmers, the report said propolis (also popularly known as bee glue) is now an ingredient in many medicines, "even in toothpaste." 
----------
Honey bee based tourism can be developed and huge profits can be made. Children, youth and elderly people enthusiastically come to witness the mysterious lifecycle of the honeybees. This show of nature can be ticketed and profits can be earned.
—Lawmakers’ panel in its report submitted in the Punjab Assembly.
----------
The farmers of Punjab, who are finding it hard to eke out decent wages, should market this resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from plants. Also, the Assembly panel suggested that "there is great demand for comb honey in the market. "Iss nu vech ke vee fayada uthaiya ja sakda hai. (Profits can be made by selling it, too.)"

Suggesting still more ways of enhancing the income of farmers to keep them from committing suicide and beating the agrarian distress, the Committee said they can earn a lot of money by selling tickets for Apitourism.

Here is a rough translation of the Committee's exertions (page 65): "Apitourism can be developed and huge profit (chokha munaafa) can be earned. Children, young people and the elderly enthusiastically come to witness the mysterious lifecycle of the honeybees. This (show occurring in nature) can be ticketed and profits can be earned."

In its report, published in Punjabi, the panel did not care to translate ‘Apitourism’.

Surprisingly, the Committee strongly recommended that the government should formulate a "solid policy” (Thoss Policy) to encourage the apiary sector but did not propose that the poor farmers of Punjab be immediately given subsidised apiary boxes so that they can start earning big bucks without losing any time. The panel did, however, ask the government to check spurious honey being sold in Punjab ("naqli shehad nu farriya jaave”).

The Committee did not leave any aspect uncommented upon. Out to analyse the reasons for farmers' suicide, and tasked with making suggestions to ensure that no farmer walks that fatal path, it said:

"Makhiyan di awaaz de sangeet naal man di shanti vee mildi hai te bahut lok raat nu makhiyan di awaaz sunan layee uhna paas raat bitaunde hun." (Page 65)
 
"ਮੱਖੀਆਂ  ਦੀ  ਆਵਾਜ਼  ਦੇ  ਸੰਗੀਤ  ਨਾਲ  ਮਨ  ਦੀ  ਸ਼ਾਂਤੀ  ਵੀ  ਮਿਲਦੀ  ਹੈ  ਤੇ  ਬਹੁਤ  ਲੋਕ  ਰਾਤ  ਨੂੰ  ਮੱਖੀਆਂ  ਦੀ  ਆਵਾਜ਼  ਸੁਨਣ  ਲਈ  ਉਹਨਾਂ  ਪਾਸ  ਰਾਤ  ਬਿਤਾਉਂਦੇ  ਹਨ."

(Punjab Today Editorial Staff decided not to translate this paragraph into English. With due apologies to the Punjab Assembly's Committee, we request the readers to seek help of friends to decipher the last sentence. - Ed)
 
For more comprehensive reports on the important work of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha's Committee meant to help ameliorate the problems faced by farm suicide affected families, please click the following links:

 
 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT    






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REPORT OF PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA COMMITTEE TO HELP SUICIDE-AFFECTED FAMILIES
Assembly panel finds farmers not paid ACP share since 1981, then stays mum about it
04.04.18 - S Pal
Assembly panel finds farmers not paid ACP share since 1981, then stays mum about it



IN A RATHER bizarre case of becoming aware about a blatant case of injustice and then deciding to do nothing about it, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Committee, tasked with ameliorating the lot of suicide-affected families, made a shocking revelation that the sugarcane farmers of Punjab were paid the Additional Cane Price due to them only once in 1981 and never again, but did nothing about it.

The 5-member Committee decided not to make any recommendation that the farmers be paid these dues at least from this year onwards, if not retrospectively, even though the amount is rightfully theirs under the law.

Dwelling upon the woes of the sugarcane farmers, the Committee, in its 99-page report tabled in the Punjab Assembly on the last day of the Budget Session, said it has learnt, courtesy farmers' unions, that as per the Sugarcane Act, after the crushing season, excluding the average sugar recovery, it was the government's job to calculate the sugar production beyond the 8.5% norm, and the resultant profits are to be given to the farmers as Additional Cane Price (ACP).

"It is the duty of the government to compute this price component and ensure payment to the farmers," the Committee wrote, and even added, "So far, only once, in 1981, were the farmers paid this (ACP) and since then, they have not been paid their dues on this account." (Page 49)

However, when it came to making its final recommendation, the Committee merely said, "The state government, in order to encourage sugarcane farmers, should affix the price of sugarcane equivalent to the highest price obtainable in any state of India. Also, arrangement should be made so that the farmers received the payment for the sugarcane within one week of the cane sale." 
 

It did not even mention the ACP dues, and did not even ask the government to consider the issue or study why farmers were not being paid the ACP despite the fact that the Sugarcane Act provides for this right.
------------
Under Sugarcane Act, the Additional Cane Price component of the profit accrued from sugar produced above and beyond the average, was paid to the farmers only once in 1981, and never again. 
------------
Why did such a powerful Committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, even after coming to know of the utter injustice and illegality that has allowed the sugar mills to pocket this significant profit component which was due to the farmers, did not utter a single word about it, is beyond comprehension. 

Punjab's cane growers have been demanding a hike in the State Assured Price (SAP) for the past four years but the state government — the earlier Badal regime as well as Amarinder Singh's — is widely perceived to be kowtowing to the private sugar mills, owned by big business houses.

Just seven big mills crush 70% cane grown in Punjab. The president of a leading body of cane growers, the Doaba Sangharsh Committee, Manjit Singh Rai said the mills earn huge profits but do not want to pay a just price to the farmers.
 

Come winters, and Punjab witnesses protests by cane growers in the month of November. The Punjab Vidhan Sabha Committee made no mention of these. The state has 16 sugarcane mills in Punjab, including 7 private and 9 state-owned co-operative mills, but readers should not make deductions from the sheer number of these mills.
------------
The committee found out about this anomaly, acknowledged it, but did not include it in its recommendation.
------------
The fact is that the 7 private mills have a capacity of around 32,000 TCD (tonnes crushed per day) against 15,766 TCD of nine cooperative mills.

With the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Committee even taking note of the fact that the mills have been gulping the ACP share of the farmers, and then doing nothing about it, the cane growers of the state can shut the door on any hope of receiving what is rightfully theirs.

The Punjab Government did not increase the SAP for four years, and the Assembly Committee did not care to even mention this fact. Only in late 2017, the Punjab Cabinet enhanced the SAP by Rs 10 per quintal. It still remains below even neighbour Haryana's SAP.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE LOOT THAT RAJASTHAN COMMITTED – An insult bigger than Bollywood’s Padmawati! 

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT    






[home] 1-5 of 5


Comment by: Dr.Naveen Kartik

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PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA COMMITTEE REPORT -
‘Thorri bahuti ehna nu sharam auni chaheedi hai’
03.04.18 - S Pal
‘Thorri bahuti ehna nu sharam auni chaheedi hai’



Assembly’s MLAs panel on suicide-hit families exposes own ignorance, disconnect 
 
 
IN RANGRIAL, at the centre of Ground Zero of farm suicides in Punjab, everyone knows Harpreet Singh's family made a mistake. Harpreet (30) committed suicide on August 7, 2017. Constable Gagandeep Singh, Belt Number 1481, brought his body to Police Station Baretta, Mansa. Harpreet's brother Gurpreet Singh and cousin Gurjant Singh accompanied the body. Dr Parven Kumar carried out the post-mortem.

A number of people, including the Sarpanch, signed a Panchayat Nama (Panchnama), stating the facts of the case and indicating that they do not intend to prosecute anyone for the death of Harpreet since he committed suicide on his own after finding himself hopelessly debt-ridden.

Everyone and his uncle and nephew in Rangrial had been pushing the family to apply for compensation.

As the month of November began, some of Harpreet's relatives underlined the need to hurry up with the application since it would have been three months after the suicide, the deadline to submit documents for compensation.

All of November passed, and then December. The family was in too much grief to run around dealing with bureaucratic red tape. 
 

In scores of Mansa villages, people know Harpreet's family has not been able to apply for compensation in the given time of three months.
 
> Suicide-affected families have three months to file compensation claim, but Punjab Assembly’s Committee thinks it is 30 days! 

During a number of trips to Jhunir, Rangrial, Kot Dharmu, Bhamme Kalan, Bhamme Khurd, Fatehgarh-Sahnewali, Uddat Bhagat Ram, Sirsiwala and many other villages of Mansa, I did not come across a single family that did not know that an application for compensation must be filed within three months of any farm suicide.

It takes special skills to remain this dumb. 

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha Committee, tasked with personally meeting members of farm suicide affected families and recommend ways to ameliorate their pain and suggest solutions to stem such suicides has now delivered a shocker.
 
 > The Committee’s recommendations are a dilution of even the Punjab Government’s own policy for suicide-affected families.

In its recommendations to the Punjab Assembly, it said those families which have not been able to apply for compensation "in the mandated period of 30 days" should be given a relaxation to submit their application (Page 99).

That period is already three months, not 30 days, but it takes special skills to remain this dumb.

Of the innumerable instances of utter casualness, an apathetic attitude and an insultingly sermonising tone adopted in its report by the all-party committee of five MLAs, this is perhaps the most glaring and symptomatic of the panel's inability to understand even the most basic issues involved.

In village Bhamme Kalan, Rani Kaur and Sinder Kaur, having lost a husband and a son, respectively, take pains to describe themselves as total illiterates. "Jma hee anpadh han asee dono, dast-khat vee nahi karne aunde saanoo (we are totally illiterate, we can't even sign our names)," they tell senior journalist Hamir Singh who has been touching base with many of these families.
 
> The Committee accuses farmers of having no plans to return loans at all. 

But Rani and Sinder know that a suicide-affected family must apply within 90 days of such a tragedy. In any logical next move, the entire panel of Punjab Vidhan Sabha should be mandatorily sent to study the situation under the guidance of Rani and Sinder. At least one of the sides is a "total illiterate."

 

Without having read the Punjab Government's own policy regarding suicide-affected families, the Punjab Assembly's committee recommended that "all possible efforts should be made for the rehabilitation of suicide-affected families" (Page 98, 79 GH 4).
 
> The Committee says farmers taking loans and using it to buy new cars. 

This, when the policy of the Punjab Government is far more elaborate and states in detail what should follow:

"The officials of Revenue and Agriculture Departments would work with the distressed families for at least one year or as long as it is necessary to bring the family out of distress. These officials/employees would guide the deceased families regarding agricultural technology, inputs use, diversification, marketing etc." 

The policy, duly communicated to all Deputy Commissioners, Senior Superintendants of Police (SSPs) and Chief Agricultural Officers (CAOs) of Punjab on July 23, 2015, goes much beyond even these expansive steps.

The only thing left for the committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha was to detail how in every single case, the government officers, employees and system failed to do the mandated needful. Not only did it not come up with any recommendation to take punitive measures, but it ended up diluting what was already available to the victim families.

On July 19, 2017, speaking in the Punjab Assembly, CM Amarinder Singh had gone back on his own promise of waiving off the entire loan of suicide-hit families. The official statement said "his government had decided to take over the outstanding crop loan from institutional sources of all the families of farmers who committed suicides in the state."

That was a decision of the Congress government. This was an all-party committee, which included members of Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party. And this panel faithfully justified Amarinder Singh's decision to waive off "only crop loan." (Page 98, Point 79 ਘ-4) 
Many of the Committee's observations are outright insulting to the farmers and agriculture labourers. Sample this one: "Farmers use the facility of easy loans but make no concrete plans to return it. Therefore, they become burdened with debt." (You should read it in the panel's own words in Punjabi. See accompanying picture of the excerpt)

So, all businessmen, traders, corporates avail of loans and have concrete plans to return it, and farmers do the exact opposite. Clearly, they are either rank dishonest, or plain stupid. This wisdom is now part of the record of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, duly laid on the table of the House.

And then the Committee takes this wisdom forward, explaining in excruciating detail how stupid the farmers and agricultural labourers actually are. (Please remember that this Committee's task was limited to analysing the reasons behind farmers' suicides, and impoverishment of agricultural labourers, and making recommendations thereof. So every word it says, every recommendation it makes is towards that purpose, purportedly.)

Page 15: It has been brought to the notice of the Committee that some farmers ... wrongly spend their limit (loan amount - Ed)...for example, buying a car, building a house, sending children to study abroad etc.

Since the panel met a large number of suicide-affected families and toured endless villages and towns, it is now incumbent upon this five-member Committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to provide details to buttress its understanding of the issue. It is obvious that the Committee will inform the electorate about the suicide-affected families which bought cars, the brands of these cars, the loans availed for the purpose, the kids who were sent abroad to study at foreign schools/universities and the list of these schools/universities in foreign countries where children of these families are studying.
 
> The Committee analysing causes of suicide claims it has come to its notice that farmers have been taking agricultural loans and using these to send children abroad to foreign universities. 

"I just want to know even a single suicide-affected family whose kid has gone abroad for higher studies, that too, by misusing loan availed for agricultural purposes," Kiranjit Kaur was directly addressing the Assembly Committee, even as MLAs of Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party listened in rapt attention. Her debt-ridden father committed suicide in April 2016, and she is now leading a crusade on behalf of the suicide-affected families, trying to ensure that they are able to apply and have all the required documents.
 

But the Committee is adamant. Flip to Page 16: "Eh aam dekhan vich aaya hai ke kisana vallon khetibari de kamma vaaste karze...un-upjayoo te gair-khetibari kamma layee varte jaande hun, jiven motorcycle/cars khareedan layee..." (Rough translation - It is commonly seen that farmers avail loan for agriculture but use them for other purposes, such as buying mobikes/cars...)
Watch Kiranjit in the accompanying video. Mark her words: "Thorri bahuti ehna nu sharam auni chaheedi hai." The Punjab Vidhan Sabha should feel free to summon her for contempt of the honorable members and its Committee..

And then the Committee makes broad-sweep statements, excluding even the possibility of there being a single exception.

Sample this: "Not a single person marries a girl because of her qualities; instead, dowry takes preference." Surely, the Committee's five members would know at least a couple of families that behaved differently, or it must be referring to the suicide-affected, or Punjab's farmers in general, since one can take it for granted that it was not meeting Kerala farmers.
 ---------
"I just want to know even a single suicide-affected family whose kid has gone abroad for higher studies, that too, by misusing loan availed for agricultural purposes." — Kiranjit Kaur, daughter of a farmer who committed suicide, and now a crusader for such families. 
----------
The most interesting are the certificates that the Committee issues itself in the report:

"The Committee fulfilled the responsibility given to it with honesty." Correction: Full honesty; poori imaandari. (Mere 'honesty' is not enough in such cases. - Ed.)

In other places, the panel takes pain to remind us that it did its work with "poori tan-dehi", "honesty", "mutual cooperation" etc. You know why? It's right there on Page 1.

"Committee mehsoos kardi hai ke kisani da visha bahut gambhirta da visha hai."

The Committee feels that the issue of farming is a very serious issue.

Thank you. It shows in the report. Your slip, too. 


 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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THEIR FROZEN TURBULENCE - Income freeze makes farmers’ harvest bitter
02.04.18 - Devinder Sharma
THEIR FROZEN TURBULENCE - Income freeze makes farmers’ harvest bitter



IT IS OFFICIAL. For almost a decade now, farmer’s real income stands frozen. Yes, you heard it right, frozen. A Niti Aayog paper has worked out that the real income of a cultivator has increased barely by 0.44 per cent every year over a five year period leading to 2015-16. In other words, farm incomes have stagnated. 

This was followed by the severe blow inflicted by demonetisation in 2016. The pressure to sell their produce at whatever price they are able to get resulted in an unprecedented crash in farm prices, forcing farmers to throw their produce onto the streets across the country. Tomato, potato and onions have been the worst hit. The impact is still lingering. For instance, an analysis published recently by Agrowon showed that by invariably buying at a distress price, Maharashtra farmers have been short changed to the tune of Rs 2,579-crore alone for pulses, and Rs 769-crore for oilseeds, this season. 
--------
Keeping agriculture starved of public sector investments, and turning farming into an uneconomical enterprise was (and is still) considered to be the best way to push farmers out of agriculture. 
--------
The story is same everywhere. Just to illustrate, an interesting estimate done by Swaraj Abhiyan shows that farmers are likely to incur a loss of Rs 325-crore in the case of barley. The modal price is ruling at 15 per cent less than the procurement price of Rs 1,410 per quintal. For chana, it has shown a dramatic fall of 30 to 38 per cent in the market prices in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Gujarat when compared with the prices farmers received a year ago. For mustard, farmers have been protesting seeking lifting of the entire stocks arriving in the mandis. The situation in ENAM markets is no different. In fact, despite the fanfare the fact remains that none of the proposed 585 eNAM mandis have been able to buy from farmers at the MSP. The modal price that is being provided in the eNAM markets, which is based on the average price recorded in a day’s trading, is in reality a distress price. 

It certainly has been a bitter harvest.  
---------
Land is the only economic security the poor have. Divesting the poor of their meagre land assets is certainly not good economics but has been legalised now because of the growing focus on farm land grab across the globe
---------
The terrible agrarian crisis that prevails has brought farmer’s anger to the fore. Over the year, farmers’ anger has spilled to the streets. Between 2014 and 2016, a period of two years, farmers protests across the country increased by a whopping 680 per cent. In 2016, the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) recorded 4,837 protests, roughly 14 protests a day. Since then the number and intensity of farmers’ protests have only multiplied. 

Unless the agrarian crisis is able to sway the electoral outcomes I don’t think the political leadership will ever understand the severity of the socio-economic fallout. The dominant economic thinking is that agriculture has to be sacrificed to achieve economic growth. Agriculture therefore is being deliberately kept impoverished to keep the reforms viable. Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has time and again iterated that the biggest reform would be when a sizeable percentage of population in agriculture is moved to the cities which are in need of cheaper labour. This is what the World Bank had directed way back in 1996, seeking 400 million people to be moved out of the rural areas in the next twenty years, by 2015. Successive governments have merely followed the economic design. Left, Right or Centre, the underlying economic thinking remains the same. Keeping agriculture starved of public sector investments, and turning farming into an uneconomical enterprise was (and is still) considered to be the best way to push farmers out of agriculture. 
---------
What is the logic of giving big business houses huge tracts of land at almost a throwaway price of Re 1 per square mts? If only such vast tracts of land were made available to millions of landless farm workers at that price, the entire face of rural India will undergo a transformation beyond recognition. 
---------
In such depressing times, agriculture needs to be reinvented. It needs more than a booster dose. It needs a paradigm shift in economic thinking if agriculture has to be saved. Considering that employment in the cities has been shrinking over the years, the only alternative we have is to reinvent agriculture. Let me explain. Since 2004-05, despite the high GDP growth rate, against the requirement of 1.25- crore jobs a year, only a fraction of required jobs in the labour intensive industry have been created. In other words, against the expectation of 17.5-crore jobs, only 1.6-crore new jobs have come. Forcing people out of agriculture therefore does not make any economic sense. Since the job market has dried up, common sense tells us that the challenge should be to make farming economically viable and ecologically sustainable. With 52 per cent population dependent on agriculture, almost 60-crore people, the emphasis should be on providing gainful employment in rural areas. This can only happen if the economic thinking shifts from creating an army of dehari mazdoor in the cities to rebuilding farming. 

Land is the only economic security the poor have. Divesting the poor of their meagre land assets is certainly not good economics but has been legalised now because of the growing focus on farm land grab across the globe. In India, a majority of the farmers now are landless tenant workers. If only they were given small pieces of land, the economic fallout would be enormous. I don’t understand the logic of giving big business like Tata’s Vedanta, Infosys, Laxmi Mittal, Adani etc huge tracts of land at almost a throwaway price of Re 1 per square mts. If only such vast tracts of land were made available to millions of landless farm workers at Re 1 per square mts, the entire face of rural India will undergo a transformation beyond recognition. That is the first step required to rebuild farming. It has to be accompanied by a farm income policy that assures a minimum living package every month.     
---------
Where will the money come from is what the economists are asking. Nobody asked where will the Rs 4.5-lakh crore for 7th Pay Commission will come from. 
---------
It’s a question of priorities. The 7th Pay Commission is expected to benefit 45-lakh central government employees and 50-lakh pensioners. Finance Minister says it will cost an additional Rs 1.02-lakh crore every year. But when implemented by State governments, PSUs and colleges across the country, Credit Suisse bank tells us that the additional burden will be around Rs 4.5-lakh crore. This will benefit an estimated 1 to 2 per cent of the population, the salaried class. Surprisingly, no economist has ever asked where the money will come from nor has anyone raised the question of widening fiscal deficit. In fact, the industry calls it a booster dose since the additional money into the hands of employees is expected to create more demand. 

But talk of providing a profitable price to farmers; economists are quick to raise eyebrows. Although, only 6 per cent farmers get the benefit of MSP, some studies point that if the MSP regime is properly implemented it will entail an additional expenditure of Rs 45,000-crore every year. Where will the money come from is what the economists are asking. Nobody asked where will the Rs 4.5-lakh crore for 7th Pay Commission come from. That’s how an inequitable and unjust economic system has been designed. 

Imagine the demand that will be created from the rural areas if agriculture is to receive even an annual additional budgetary provision of Rs 4-lakh crore.  Although economists will raise heckles of widening fiscal deficit and the elite is going to question the source of money, the fact remains that the huge demand created in the rural areas will propel the economy in a rocket dose. This is not only good politics, but also good economics.
 
 
 
 
Devinder Sharma is a well known agriculture policy analyst and columnist.
 
  

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

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_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT    




 
 






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