Protesting farmers should stop taking benefits from the Centre?

November 01, 2021 02:59 PM
Ajay Bhardwaj
As the farmers' crowd at the Thikri border, where they have been staging protests for the last one year,  started thinning down amid reports that they wanted to go back to their villages to fend for their crops, a fresh debate has triggered about how fair is it for farmers to continue taking benefits from various Central schemes while demonstrating against the three bills.
While farmers are making sure that there were no losses to their crops while carrying on with their disruptive demonstrations, they express no concern at the losses they are causing to various business houses.
There have been reports that an estimated 250 business centres in Punjab are forcibly shut down by farmers in Punjab for the last almost one year resulting in huge financial losses to their owners. 
Not just that its adverse impact is also seen in youths losing their jobs following the closure of the business centres. Surprisingly, there is no voice of protest from the youths, mostly coming from poor rural backgrounds for fear of reprisal from the farmers.
More significantly, many traders and business houses have demanded that protesting farmers should immediately stop taking benefit from various farmers' welfare schemes run by the Centre.

According to official data, over 23 lakh farmers in Punjab have registered to get the minimum income support from the Government of India under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) Yojana of which 17.50 lakh farmers have been getting the benefit. The scheme provides income assistance of Rs 6,000 per annum to farmers. This assistance is given in three instalments in a year.

Similarly, more than 9.5 lakh farmers have been registered under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme of which about eight lakh have been enjoying fruits of the schemes during the procurement seasons.

Punjab farmers have been accruing benefits also from other schemes like the PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojna and the PM Kisan Nidhi Yojna.

There are loud rumblings in the business houses that farmers should give up all such benefits from the Centre so long as they are fighting the Centre over the three agriculture bills.  Otherwise, they should stop disrupting the business of others who have an equal role in running the state economy. 

As it is the state has already lost GST to the tune of Rs 900 crores in the last one year due to farmers' disruptive activities in the name of protest.

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