Centre insists on land records for online MSP payment to farmers | IDR
April 7, 2021

Government insists on land records for online payment of MSP to farmers

Agriculture: Farmer and arhtiya (commission agent) unions from Punjab have launched protests against an order issued by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which seeks land records of farmers for online payment of the minimum support price (MSP) directly into their bank accounts.

The FCI’s northern zonal office in Noida has sought land records of farmers, citing that this is mandatory if farmers are to receive direct online payments of MSP for wheat in the upcoming Rabi Marketing Season (RMS). Land records need to be updated on the Anaaj Kharid Portal before commencement of RMS 2021-22 so that the FCI can verify them.

While farmers are worried that the FCI’s insistence on direct payment and tenancy documentation could derail the crop procurement process and leave out many from getting a fair price for their crop, arhtiyas feel that they will not be able to avail their 2.5 percent commission on crop sales. (Arhtiyas facilitate the procurement of crops from farmers to government agencies, and charge commission for this service).

Ravinder Cheema, President, Punjab Arhtiya Association, said that they plan to call a meeting of the arhtiyas in Punjab, to develop a plan of action and go on strike. They also plan to stop the procurement of wheat from the coming season.

Listen to this discussion between former Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain and the leader of a farmer collective, Kavitha Kuruganti on the ongoing farmer protests, dissent, and the process of consultation and policy reform in India.

April 9, 2021

Over 56 lakh people in Karnataka received work under NREGA in 2020-21

Livelihoods: As many as 56.87 lakh workers completed 100 days of employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in Karnataka in FY 2020-21 as compared to 41.09 lakh workers in FY 2019-20. This is an increase of 38.4 percent.

While the number of works undertaken during FY 2020-21 was 8.66 lakh—much higher when compared to 2.37 lakh number in FY 2019-20, the number of works completed was lower at 1.42 lakh against 1.8 lakh in FY 2019-20.

A sum of INR 5.9 crore was spent by the government to provide jobs under the scheme in the last financial year, while the amount spent on providing wages stood at INR 3,970.94 crore. On April 1st, 2021, the state government revised the daily wage for NREGA workers from INR 245 to INR 289.

Read this article on how NREGA fared during lockdown.

April 9, 2021

Government to invest more than INR 1 lakh crore this year to ensure tap water supply to rural homes

Water & Sanitation: The government’s Jal Jeevan Mission which plans to provide a household tap connection to every rural home by 2024, has received a central grant of INR 50,011 crore for FY 2021-22. There is also an additional INR 26,940 crore assured fund available under the 15th Finance Commission. These are ‘tied-grants’ to rural local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions that match the state’s share of funding to water and sanitation. As a result, more than INR 1 lakh crore is available for this key mission.

Prior to disbursing funds, a committee chaired by Secretary, Department of Drinking Water Supply (DDWS) and comprising members from different central ministries, and NITI Aayog, scrutinises the proposed annual action plans submitted by the various states and union territories.  Once this is done, funds are released throughout the year and regular field visits and review meetings are held with the states to ensure implementation of plans.

During implementation, states have been asked to prioritise water quality-affected areas, villages in drought prone and desert areas, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe majority villages, the 117 Aspirational Districts, and the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana villages.

Read this article on why we need to rethink equitable access to water and sanitation to build resilient communities.