"They successfully portrayed us as tax evaders and were themselves well-prepared to handle the new system. The Narendra Modi government has forced the cyclewallah, who cannot afford to employ chartered accountants, to compete with the carwallah," says Sharvan Singh.
Potato is a major crop in Agra, grown in 57,879 hectares of the district (2017-18 data) that includes both Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. The tuber is also extensively cultivated in Hathras (46,333 hectares) and Aligarh (23,332).
Given that the average yearly increase in the consumer price index (CPI) for rural India has been 5 per cent during this period, it means crop prices have actually fallen in real terms for farmers, who mostly sell their produce wholesale and buy everything retail.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had swept all the eight constituencies. In the 2017 state polls too, it won as many as 24 of the 30 Assembly segments in the six constituencies, besides 9 of the 10 in Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar.
Under the system of post-sale subsidy disbursal — as opposed to companies being paid on their fertiliser material reaching an approved district railhead point or godown — every transaction, along with the farmer’s details, is to be captured on a PoS machine linked to a central server.
Agrarian crisis is an opportunity, for the government that assumes office after elections, to enact a law giving farmers the right to sell any quantity of their produce to anybody, anywhere and at any time.
Currently, out of ICAR’s 103 research institutes, “nearly 63 are without a regular director for the last 2-4 years,” the Nationalist Congress Party chief has written in a recent letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Since for the farmer, it is not mere output but income (output multiplied by price) that matters, growth in nominal agricultural GVA being at low single-digits isn’t good news. Nor would it be so for any ruling party ahead of elections.