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Singh rebuts comments of Parliamentary Panel on demonetisation in agri
Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
Radha Mohan Singh, minister of state for agriculture and farmers’ welfare, Government of India, rebutted a report by the Parliamentary Panel, which contained some adverse remarks for the union government on the impact of demonetisation on agriculture.

Calling it a politically-motivated smear campaign, he stated that the very notion that the sales of seeds were low due to demonetisation in the year 2016 was false.

The Standing Committee on Finance report, which got leaked recently, suggested that farmers were unable to buy seeds and fertilisers for winter crops in 2016 due to demonetisation, and that the impact was officially acknowledged by the ministry of agriculture while presenting its answers to the committee headed by Congress Member of Parliament Veerappa Moily.

However, Singh said that the sale of seeds in the year of demonetisation was higher than the previous year, as were the production and area of land under cultivation.

“In the year 2016-17, 348 lakh tonne of seeds were sold across India, while 304 lakh tonne of seeds were sold the previous year. This itself debunked the theory of the impact of demonetisation on agriculture,” he added, replying to FnB News on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.

Singh added that the agriculture production, and the area under cultivation in the year of demonetisation were higher than the previous year. “Those who are speaking on this subject either don’t know it fully or are just making political overtones,” he stated.

It must be mentioned here that the outcome of an examination by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance rapped the agriculture ministry on the subject of impact of demonetisation on agriculture.

The leaked report stated that demonetisation removed cash from the market, while farmers were in need for their winter crops, and as a result, they were unable to get enough cash to buy seeds and fertilisers.

It also questioned the sale of seeds by the National Seeds Corporation (NSC), adding that the corporation failed in its duty due to demonetisation.

To this, Singh said that the report of the Parliamentary Committee had not been published then, adding that it was clear that somebody spoke on the issue in political overtones.

“Secondly, as regards to the sale of seeds, not only does NSC sells seeds in the country, but states have their respective corporations for the task as well. Besides, the private sector is also selling seeds. I am quoting the figures based on the reports,” he added.

“And if fewer seeds were sold, how it is possible that the land under cultivation was high for that year along with the production,” the minister said, adding that overall for seed sales in the country, only 4-5 per cent was done through NSC.
 
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