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Farmers in Bengal hit hard by Modi replacing Kisan credit cards with Rupay debit cards

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 13 January 2017, 15:58 IST

Centre's decision to stop providing Kisan credit cards to the farmers has affected the farming community in Bengal. This was followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi further announcing that Rupay debit cards will be issued in place of the Kisan credit cards.

A few days back the district magistrates (DMs) of all the districts sent a letter to the state headquarter at Nabanna expressing the difficulties the farmers are facing after the Centre stopped issuing fresh Kisan credit cards.

It was mentioned in the letter that nearly 50,000 farmers who had applied for the Kisan credit card afresh within last 22 days, have been rejected. Modi announced that three crore Rupay debit cards will be given in place of the Kisan credit cards within three months and farmers can get all the facilities through online transactions.

According to farmers, the situation had turned grave after Centre stopped providing Kisan credit cards and matters have gone critical in past two weeks with most of the farmers being unable to take loans through Kisan credit cards.

Times of distress

Birsa Das, a farmer of Burdwan, said, "We fear that we might have to stop farming as the Centre has stopped giving us Kisan credit cards. If they provide Rupay debit cards then it is difficult for us to operate."

Few farmers said that they have urged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take necessary steps so that the Centre gives options for both Kisan credit card as well as the Rupay debit cards.

Moreover, through the Kisan credit cards farmers can get insurance facilities and disaster relief cheques - neither of which is available to them for now, making matters worse for them.

Another farmer of Birbhum, Nrityanada Barui, said, "As most of the farmers are unaware of how they can operate the Kisan credit cards, there is a need for providing options to the farmers, so that they can choose whether they want the Kisan Credit Card or the Rupay debit card."

The farmers in Bengal have decided to launch a series of agitations if the Centre fails to provide options for both cards.

Barui added, "Our chief minister is fighting for our cause and we will lend all our support to her to fight against the evils of demonetisation."

The numbers

According to the statistics collected from the state government, nearly 1 lakh farmers in Bengal are suffering after the Centre decided to stop providing Kisan credit cards and 30% people have become jobless in Bengal in only two months since the note ban.

It may be mentioned that Mamata Banerjee has time and again said that the Centre has reduced funds in 55 central schemes and 39 central schemes have been closed down and as a result, states are suffering.

AITMC MP Sultan Ahmed said, "We will continue our move against demonetisation as the prime minister is yet to give any figures on the amount of old currency deposited in banks after demonetisation was announced. Rather it has affected the small traders, farmers and the tea garden workers a lot."

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 13 January 2017, 15:10 IST