New Delhi, November 21
The government today allowed farmers to use now-invalid Rs 500 notes for buying seed and fertiliser for the ongoing Rabi season.
“The relaxation has not been allowed for Rs 1,000 notes as the government doesn’t want hoarded money to come out through this channel,” a top government functionary said.
Farmers can use old Rs 500 notes on production of an ID proof to buy seed from outlets of the Central or state governments, PSUs, national or state seeds corporations, central or state agricultural universities and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The government’s focus in the “next eight to 10 days” would be to ease the situation in rural areas, which are suffering due to lack of banking infrastructure and financial instruments.
Besides addressing farmers’ issues by increasing the number of mobile ATMs and banking correspondents, the government is considering relaxation in payment of instalments of term loans and allowing transactions by “some cooperative banks with the help and guidance” of apex institution NABARD.
The move to allow use of old Rs 500 notes follows the pre-Budget meeting on agriculture called by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday where he was apprised of the difficulties being faced by farmers.
Along with representations to allow cooperative banks to exchange and accept old currency, they also asked for more new currency at wholesale mandis.
A section still believes that today’s relaxation is “too little, too late”. Bharat Krishak Samaj said the norms need to be eased as of the total seed sale, the private sector also has a substantial share.