“We have heard of hardships during a pandemic from our forefathers, but never thought we would experience one,” says Usha Devi of village Cholapur while working on her farm. Usha Devi, 40, is a farmer who has about 2 acres of land. Her family is primarily engaged in agriculture but to support the family needs her husband, Ram Janam, also works as labour far off from the village. Back at home, Usha looks after the family, farm and cattle. She lives with their two children, Arvind and Amardev in a Kutcha house. To date, they could hardly earn beyond the necessities to think of any other comfort, yet never complained.
“We always considered ourselves helpless, but now we know there are schemes for people like us too. We will spread this message to fellow farmers and tell them about this benefit”
But, the pandemic followed by the economic crisis brought two-fold misery to this family. One, after the nation-wide lockdown was declared, the fear associated with the spread of the virus was much which left no other option for Ram Janam but to return to the native village. Here though the agriculture production was decent they hardly got any return on it. The product failed to reach the market and they couldn’t directly sell. Eventually, the vegetables were perished and got dumped. There was an alternative, to sell the milk obtained from the cattle. But due to the restrictions on movement, they could hardly make enough out of it. Without any source of income, it became very tough to arrange the living & food requirements of the family and cattle. When they couldn’t find any other substitute, Usha Devi’s family approached the money lenders and borrowed some amount at an interest rate.
Many small and marginal farmers in the country have suffered similarly. Thousands suffered as their farm products got wasted, so their efforts and investment. When the Tata Trusts led Mission Gaurav program began, it aimed at reaching out to such vulnerable families and providing them with the needed support. Through this program, linking the migrants to various social security schemes was also made possible through large scale awareness building. Usha Devi’s family visited the mobile ASK (Apna Sewa Kendra) Center where they learnt about the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi where any small farmer family owning less than 2 hectares of land can avail Rs. 6000/- annually in three equal instalments. After needed documents were collected, the Shramik Mitra named Junior
Kumar assisted to get them registered and avail the scheme. Within two months they received their first instalment of Rs 2000/-
“We always considered ourselves helpless, but now we know there are schemes for people like us too. We will spread this message to fellow farmers and tell them about this benefit” –Usha Devi, Cholapur, Varanasi district.