For the first time in his entire farming career, farmer Kashmir Singh smiles broadly after selling his wheat crop in Rajpura Mandi, Punjab on April 1. This moment of joy was brought by a WhatsApp message he received on his phone. Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) number. The message carried a scanned ‘Form J’, mentioning all the details related to the amount of wheat he was selling and the money he would be paid apart from other important details to keep track of the sale.
Kashmir is the first farmer in the state to get a scanned ‘Form J’ on April 2 after selling his 51 quintals of wheat on April 1 at the MSP rate of Rs 2,015 at Rajpura Mandi in Patiala district.
Form “J” is a farmer’s sales receipt for agricultural produce at mandis (grain market). These forms were previously issued manually by the Arthiyas (commissioners) and are proof of income for the farmers. Before the digitization of the forms, many Arhtiyas used to keep the forms instead of giving them to the farmers. Deprived of their proof of legitimate income, many farmers ended up having no record of the sale of their crops. By obtaining digitized ‘J-forms’, farmers will now have a clear record of the crop sold and income received.
“I am very happy as I no longer need to go anywhere to get the ‘Form J’ as it is available on my phone. There can be no greater reform for farmers than facilities such as the direct payment from MSP into their accounts,” said the delighted Kashmir, who hails from Mohabatpur village in Patiala bloc and district. He said he had never experienced such a process in his 40 years of ‘Agriculture.
Kashmir (60) and his family own 35 acres of land. He has only harvested wheat from 2.5 acres (one hectare) so far.
“Previously, we used to get the J form after selling all our crops and making several rounds to the Arhtiyas office. With this system, I got ‘Form J’ from a small wheat sale,” he said, adding that it’s like receiving an invoice every time you make a sale, regardless of sale size.
“It has happened several times that we could not get a J-form. There are several Arhtiyas who are not in the habit of giving ‘J-forms’ to farmers and would make excuses,” he said. he reveals.
PMB’s decision to digitize Form J and integrate it into farmers WhatsApp number took shape from April 1st. The move, which aims to bring transparency and empower farmers, made Punjab the first state in the country to provide digitized “J-forms”. The move is expected to benefit about nine lakh of registered farmers in the state who will seek to sell their crop (wheat) to MSP during this supply season.
Chief Farmer Satnam Singh Sahni, General Secretary of Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) Doaba, said, “This is a great day for any farmer in Punjab as he no longer depends on anyone to get proof of his income. Such reforms bring a real change in the life of any ordinary farmer,” he said.
Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board Secretary Ravi Bhagat whose first idea of digitizing the form said that at the time a farmer’s crop is sold in Mandi, a message regarding the purchase confirmation will be sent together with the J form to the farmer’s whatsapp number automatically.
Farmers who have already sold their crops are now curiously waiting for their scanned “Form J” on their WhatsApp number.