The government has directed companies to sell fertilisers to farmers on credit basis in places if there are no cash or banking services in order to ensure that farmers do not face problem in buying soil nutrients in this rabi season due to demonetisation.
The companies have also been told to ensure cooperative societies, dealers and retailers accept “all modes of payment” like cheque, credit and debit cards from farmers.
Asserting that there is adequate supply of fertilisers in the country for the ongoing rabi season, the government said instructions have been issued to ensure smooth sale of fertilisers. At present, sowing of rabi crops like wheat, pulses and oilseeds is underway. The Centre has already allowed farmers to use old Rs 500 notes to buy seeds, but not fertilisers.
“Government of India is making all out efforts to ensure that fertilisers are readily made available to farmers as per their demand without any problem,” Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said in a statement.
State Chief Secretaries and Agriculture Commissioners have been directed “to ensure that all cooperative societies, private retailers/ wholesalers provide fertilisers to farmers through all modes of payments like on credit as well as through credit card, debit card, cheque, etc,” he said.
The Minister further said that “strict instructions” have been given to all fertiliser manufacturers and importers to ensure that all modes of payments are accepted by all concerned dealers, wholesalers and retailers.
That apart, Kumar said: “Fertilisers companies have been directed to see that in case any kind of problem is noticed anywhere in the country due to non-availability of cash/banking services, farmers should be provided fertilisers on credit basis and for that all necessary arrangements be made by them.”
With RBI Governor Urjit Patel yet to make any public statement even two weeks after currency demonetisation, the Finance Ministry on Wednesday played down his silence, saying it is irrelevant as to who communicates government policies.
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, who has been holding fort since the November 8 decision to ban old 500 and 1000 rupee notes by almost daily announcing measures taken by the government to ease the cash crunch, said more important than who addresses is the issue of communicating and giving information.
“It is not relevant who speaks. I am speaking on behalf of the government, I am not speaking here in my individual capacity. So, therefore, it is irrelevant whether I am speaking or somebody else is speaking,” Das told reporters.
He was asked why Patel has not made a single public statement and why Das alone was making announcements on the issue.
“Let’s not do these things... For communication purposes, it is irrelevant who addresses. The idea is government should communicate and give out all the information,” Das said.
Neither Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa nor Anjuly Chib Duggal, Secretary Financial Services - the department in charge of banking operations, have held a press conference on the issue.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is issuer of currency and the management of currency is one of its core central banking functions.