After waiting the situation to change for a fortnight, the primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) of Maharashtra have decided to go on one-day token strike on December 1 against the Centre’s decision of not allowing them and district central co-operative (DCC) banks to accept or exchange scrapped Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes. This will be followed by a protest march at Azad Maidan in Mumbai.
An RBI circular on November 13 said no DCC bank and credit societies in India can exchange or deposit old notes of Rs500 and Rs 1,000. Finance minister Arun Jaitley refused to reconsider the decision.
The decision has hit farmers hard in the state as most of them have their accounts only at either of them. The move is also likely to have a negative impact on rural economy as DCC Banks and credit societies are currently facing liquidity crisis and thus unable to provide money to farmers to continue their farm activities for rabi season.
“We have decided to go on strike day to oppose the Centre’s arbitrary decision as we fear the cooperative system of Maharashtra will collapse if things are not sorted out in the coming days,” said Vasant Shinde, executive chairman, Maharashtra State Federation of Credit Co-operative Societies.
When asked about the announcement of Rs21,000 crore to be disbursed by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) to cooperative banks, Shinde said the amount is nothing but crop loan which the farmers gets every year to complete their agricultural operations. “Our problem is we don’t have money to give to the account-holder farmers. Nationalized banks, too, are not giving us the money we had deposited with them, citing cash crunch,” Shinde said.