The Union Agriculture Ministry, while dismissing its earlier report on demonetisation which stated that the noteban was harsh on farmers, has submitted a new report claiming that demonetisation had no “adverse impact.”
The Parliamentary Panel on Finance was informed by Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal that show-cause notice had been issued against two Directors and a Joint Secretary for the earlier report.
Quoting official sources, The Hindu said that Agarwal said that he could not vet the earlier report as he was going abroad for some official work and that the earlier report was withdrawn by the government as it had a “compilation error.”
According to The Hindu, the new report claims that a multi-pronged strategy was adopted to ensure availability of credit, seeds, fertilisers and marketing avenues for the farmers.
To support its claim, the report mentioned that food grain production in Rabi increased to 1367.78 lakh tons in 2016-17 from 1264.50 lakh tons in 2015-16.
In its earlier report, the Union Agriculture Ministry had submitted that demonetisation gave a tough time to farmers.
Ministries of Agriculture, Labour and Employment, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises briefed the Parliamentary Standing Committee, headed by Congress MP Veerappa Moily, on the impact of demonetisation on November 20.
“India’s 263 million farmers live mostly in the cash economy. Millions of farmers were unable to get enough cash to buy seeds and fertilisers for their winter crops. Even bigger landlords faced a problem such as paying daily wages to the farmers and purchasing agriculture needs for growing crops,” the earlier report said.
Even the National Seeds Corporation (NSC) had to bear the brunt of demonetisation. It failed to sell nearly 1.38 lakh quintal of wheat seeds because of low cash availability. The Hindu reported that even after old currency notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000 for wheat seed sales were allowed, even then the sales of seeds did not pick up.