The Punjab government which till now resisted Direct Bank Transfers (DBT) to pay farmers of Punjab the Minimum Support Price for crops guaranteed by the centre, has agreed to implement the DBT system for farmers. The Punjab government had insisted in the past that the farmers would be paid MSPs for their crops only by the Arthiyas or middlemen / commission agents, who only paid part of the MSP amount due to the farmers and kept the rest to themselves as commission.

Notably, the so-called farmers’ protests is mainly driven by the arthiyas or commission agents who are well connected politically. The new farm laws and payment of MSP to the farmers directly by DBT would completely exclude the role of the extortionist arthiyas.

While all other state governments in India has accepted payment of MSP to farmers directly through DBT, the Congress led Punjab government had been insisting that the payment would be done only through the middlemen.

When the Union government made it very clear to Punjab government that the procurement of crops this season would not be possible if the Punjab government does not implement DBT system for payment of MSP to farmers, the Punjab government finally relented on Friday to implement the DBT system for farmers.

Now after procurement of crops by the FCI, the farmers would be directly paid through DBT the amount due to them by excluding the arthiyas.

The Central government had clearly told Punjab government to keep away middlemen while paying MSP to farmers. The central government has been requesting all state governments since 2018 to implement DBT system for payment to farmers to keep the extortionist middlemen out of the picture and to ensure the whole amount reaches the farmers directly without any pilferage.

Punjab had been resisting DBT system of payment to farmers as the arthiyas or the middlemen have a stranglehold on agricultural economy system in Punjab.

These middlemen or arthiyas take away a good 40% of the payment due to farmers as commission for themselves and pay the farmers only 60% of the ensured MSP to them. This commission amount cumulatively runs to crores of rupees making it very lucrative for the arthiyas, who literally run a parallel economy of extortion.

The central government led by PM Modi, wanted to free the small and marginal farmers from the extortionist regime of APMC mandis with its commission agents who procure crops from farmers and sell it in the APMC mandis and make a huge commission for the same leaving the small and marginal farmers eternally poor and impoverished.

Wheat procurement is to begin within 2-3 days in Punjab for this season and an estimated 130 lakh tonnes of wheat would be procured by the government.

The actual protest against the new farm laws began in Punjab by the very influential arthiyas in the state, which was taken over and financed by Khalistanis and passed off as farmers’ protest. A lot of misinformation was also spread by the arthiyas, Congress, communists, other political parties and NGOs with known allegiance to Breaking India ideology to use it as a ruse to create mass scale anarchy and violence in India.

Insistence on payment of MSP through DBT to farmers directly by the Modi government at the centre is a master stroke as the real small and marginal farmers who benefit from full payment of MSP without any commission cuts. The small farmers would start putting pressure on Punjab government to stop resisting implementation of the new farm laws in Punjab which are much needed beneficial reforms for revitalisation of agriculture sector and making it economically viable for the marginal farmers.

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