Watch video: ‘A farmer can’t go cashless’, insists Deepak Badavne of Karajgaon village.
In Karajgaon too, farmers say the push towards a cashless economy is city-centric, ignoring the majority living in the villages. “We usually use cash the same day we get it from any source,” says Deepak. “If we start going to the bank to withdraw cash for each transaction, can you imagine the amount of money and time we would be spending? Cashless sounds fine in Mumbai and Delhi, but it is a farce in rural India.”
Deepak has been unable to repay the 2016-17 agricultural season’s bank loan. “I owe the Bank of Maharashtra in Karmad Rs. 1.5 lakhs,” he says. “I have been repaying every year, so I am eligible for a new crop loan. But this year, I have been a defaulter.”
Deepak has now borrowed Rs. 240,000 from a private moneylender at 3 per cent interest per month. He already has a debt of Rs. 2 lakhs from a private moneylender. He has used the new loan for the ongoing kharif season and repaid a part of his bank loan. But he remains worried. “The harvest does not look promising this year due to intermittent rainfall,” he says.
And in Hasanabadwadi village, Atul is wondering if he will have to phase out his mosambi orchard. “The well has run dry. Rainfall has not been great. The harvest [the year’s second, of August-September] could be mediocre. And because I lost a lot of money after demonetisation, it is difficult to purchase water to keep the plants alive.”
Photos by Shrirang Swarge.