In a bid to provide immediate relief to cotton-growing farmers in the Vidarbha region, a prominent farm activist has suggested that Maharashtra government follow the ‘Gujarat model’ and declare bonus for the produce sold through Cotton Corporation of India centres.
The Gujarat government recently declared a bonus of Rs.650 per quintal on the produce sold through CCI centres.
"Cotton-producing farmers are already facing an economic burden due to crop failure for the last two years. On top of it, market rates of cotton are also sluggish, nearing the minimum support price (MSP) level," Kishor Tiwari, who has now been appointed director of the state government’s Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM), said.
"Thus, the state government, as a healing touch to these farmers, should declare a bonus for them, taking cues from the Gujarat government."
Tiwari said he has written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, stating that the condition of farmers here is worse than in Gujarat, asking it to consider giving a bonus on the lines of an advance bonus payout for cotton, which existed before 1997.
"By the time results of government flagship schemes like ‘Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan’ and loan waiver of farmers make their mark at the ground level, it might get too late. The government can at least help cotton farmers as a temporary relief now until the long-term measures bear fruit," he reasoned.
Providing financial assistance in the form of bonus would cost the state exchequer around Rs.300 crore and the move is seen to benefit around one lakh cotton-growing farmers.
"Until the government brings in reforms in rural areas of the state, investments can never come up in those places.
And unless that happens, all the relief measures undertaken by the government will remain temporary." Tiwari added.