The Union cabinet’s announcement of providing Rs. 7,000 crore bailout package to the sugar sector in order to ‘deal with the current crisis’ is nothing but an illusion created in the minds of the farmers. The reality is that the farmers will get nothing from this package.
When one hears the amount Rs. 7,000, it seems to be a big amount and enough to bring relief to the farmers. But, if one gets to know the amount the farmers owe, this amount will seem meagre. Sugarcane farmers in the country are currently owed Rs. 22,000 crore.
Let’s talk about the package now. Out of the Rs. 7,000 crore package, only Rs. 1,175 crore (17% of the total) has been allocated to pay the pending dues of sugarcane farmers, which will be credited directly into the accounts of farmers via the creation of buffer stock of 30 lakh metric tonnes of sugar. Remaining Rs. 5,732 crore will be used in providing financial assistance to sugar mills by investing in infrastructure so that their capacity increases.
“There is nothing for farmers in this package. It is only an attempt to cleverly manipulate the figures and put up an appearance of providing aid to the farmers, while the reality is that the farmer is not gaining anything from this package. This package is only to benefit the mill owners,” The Wire quoted president of Kisan Shakti Sangh Pushpendra Singh saying.
“All the farmers wanted to know was when the Rs 22,000 crore of dues would be cleared. And we are still looking for an answer,” Singh added.
It can be said that the scheme might benefit the industry in the long-run, but it fails to deal with the current crisis, which the government set as an objective for itself while announcing the scheme on June 6.