The previous state government may have rejected the Centre's move to make direct payment to farmers for their produce bypassing commission agents (arhtiyas), economists in the state have opposed the stand, terming the "commission" as the main cause behind farmer suicides in Malwa region.
"Rising costs, dipping income and increasing incidence of indebtedness has ruined farming in the state. It is necessary to free farmers from tyranny of the middlemen," stated the policy document prepared by economic experts, entitled 'Rejuvenation of Punjab Economy'.
The document has been prepared after long discussions during a workshop of economic experts of the state conducted by the Centre for Development Economics and Innovation Studies (CDEIS) and Planning Commission Chair, Punjabi University, Patiala.
The policy document stated that the interlocking of credit and output markets is a major factor behind the crisis of indebtedness leading to suicides. It says the first step towards saving farmers from these suicides is breaking the credit-crop nexus.
The experts also demanded immediate amendments in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act, which prohibits farmers from selling crop directly. "The Act has now become a facilitator for arhtiyas to recover their dues from farmers, rather than facilitating the farmers," said CDIES director LS Brar.
The document has been forwarded to the CM and union agriculture and finance ministers. The experts have demanded waiving the whole institutional and non-institutional debt of victim families.
The 10-page document has views of well-known experts, including AS Bhullar from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, AS Sethi from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Anita Gill from Punjabi University, Patiala, BS Ghuman, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Gian Kaur from GNDU, JS Sidhu, PAU, MR Khurana, Panjab University, Chandigarh, MS Sidhu, PAU, MS Toor, PAU, and Ranjit Singh Ghuman, professor, SAIL Nehru Chair Centre, Chandigarh.