Behind arhtiyas joining ranchers’ mix: Fear of losing many crores in yearly pay


With the passing of the Farmers’ Produce, Trade, and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the arhtiyas (commission operators) of Punjab are set to lose around Rs 1700 to Rs 1800 crore yearly in ‘commission’. While the effect of this is now being found in the deal acquisition of cotton, basmati, and non-MSP crops, the new law is additionally going to hit their pay as credit and homestead input providers, which runs into a great many crores. This is a significant explanation that has driven them to back the ranchers’ dissent against Agri Acts.

There are around 28,000 dynamic arhtiyas in Punjab out of which 50% are the ‘Baniya Arhtiyas’ (customary arhtiyas), while the other 50% are ‘Zamindar Jatt Arhtiyas’ (generally ranchers’ themselves).

The majority of the Jatt Arhtiyas joined this exchange during the post-psychological oppression period in Punjab. As per a gauge, Malwa locale of Punjab has 40% Jat Arytiyas, Majha and Doaba districts have 60% such arhtiyas of the all out number of arhtiyas in these particular areas. The passage of zamindars into arhat occurred for the most part because of the fascination of the 2.5 percent commission.

In Punjab, as per the administration, there are 18.50 lakh ranchers who are dealt with by 28,000 arhtiyas.

On a normal, each arhtiya in Punjab can have 65 ranchers related with him, however, this number differs from 50 to 200 ranchers related to each arhtiya, who are huge, medium, and little.

In the mandis, arhtiyas goes about as a facilitator between the ranchers and the buyers (both government and private players).

The ‘J structure’, which gives subtleties of the yield, amount, and cost, and notices the names of ranchers, is filled by the ranchers to handover their harvest to arhtiyas for selling purposes. However, these brokers simply keep up “J frames” that reveal nothing about the genuine receipt of installment by ranchers, who don’t get immediate installment from the administration yet through arhtiyas as it were.

At the point when a rancher carries his produce to mandi and empties it at the yard of an arhtiya, who gets grain cleaned and composes its closeout, he at that point orchestrates gauging, filling into packs and sewing before stacking into the trucks of the purchasers. For every one of these administrations delivered, the arhtiya gets a 2.5 percent commission for each quintal wheat, paddy, basmati, and maize by the buyer, 2 percent commission for every quintal for cotton, 1.5 percent commission for bean stew.

They sell around 160 lakh tons paddy (16 million tons) and 125-130 lakh tons (12.5 to 13 million tons) wheat, 42 to 43 lakh quintals cotton, 5 to 5.50 lakh tons maize, 2.5 to 3 million tons basmati, and not exactly a large portion of 1,000,000 tons of heartbeats, oilseeds, grain, Nuwara, grams, bean stew and so on

As per Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Department, the yearly commission paid to the arhtiyas is around Rs 1,400 crore on paddy and wheat, which are the significant yields of the state and are bought by the Center, Rs 150 crore on Basmati, Rs 100 crore on cotton, around Rs 30 crore on maize, Rs 10 crores on oilseeds, beats, grain, grams and so on and almost Rs 4 crores on chili buy.

For example, in 2019-20, 162.27 lakh tons (LT) of paddy and 127.62 LT of wheat got secured from Punjab at their individual MSPs of Rs 1,835 for each quintal and Rs 1,925 for every quintal, separately, would have been worth nearly Rs 56,000 crore. At 2.5 percent, the commission installments to the arhatiyas would have totaled around Rs 1,400 crore.

Arhtiyas guaranteed that out of 2.5 percent commission almost 1 to 1.25 percent is their consumption on giving gauging machines, canvas, power cleaner, keeping normal staff like ‘munims’ (Accountant) and so on

This isn’t the main type of revenue for them, arhtiyas likewise bring in cash from giving all the homestead inputs like seed, manures, pesticides, steers feed, and so forth to the ranchers from their own shops or from shops different sellers connected to them and hence acquiring commission from that point as well.

Jagmohan Singh, General Secretary, Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) Dakuanda said that “In the event that ranchers are compelled to sell in the open market, at that point they may lose contact with arhtiyas, who are controlling them at present and flexibly such homestead inputs”.

A specialist of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) said that the arhtiyas are additionally making heaps of cash by giving credit to the ranchers at 18 to 24 percent pace of revenue and as per a gauge around 20% (Rs 18,000 to 20,000 crores) of the absolute obligation of the ranchers in Punjab is given by the arhtiyas, who barely give any reasonable record to the ranchers about their return and ranchers consistently stayed obliged to them.

“Arhtiyas who consistently object direct installment to the ranchers by the legislature are expecting that after the usage of this Act ranchers may not come to them when they will sell in the open market and accordingly they will lose hang on them and the profit from the credit gave to them,” said rancher pioneer Jagsir Singh, adding that we are against the arhtiya framework, however, we won’t leave this Act alone actualized.

“Excepting wheat and paddy, all different harvests in Punjab are bought by the private players who would now be able to buy straightforwardly from ranchers and there is no need of arhtiyas and its effect has begun demonstrating the execution of Act in Punjab in the acquisition of cotton and basmati crops which are being bought by the private players legitimately from ranchers in mandis by paying mandi client charge just which has likewise been diminished the greater part now by the administration,” said Punjab Arhtiya Association President Ravinder Singh Cheema, including that the effect MSP crops additionally will begin coming in stages with the steady hauling of its feet from MSP buy by the Center in the coming years.

“On the off chance that the legislature remembers only two focuses for the said Act including that no private player can buy beneath MSP and no distinction in the duties in and outside mandi on the buyers then the whole disdain among ranchers will disappear,” he stated, including that governing rules the private buyer are must to stop the plunder of the ranchers.

Arhtiya framework in Punjab

“Arhtiya framework is as old as the mandi framework and it returns to the time of Sher Shah Suri around 500 years back when the arrangement of nerve mandis was very common and in those mandis arhtiyas or mediators framework was additionally predominant,” Cheema said. He added that in mid-twentieth century under the British guideline there were around 35 mandis including Lahore, Rahon, and arhtiya framework was there.

He likewise said that with Punjab Agriculture Produce Market Act,1961 arhtiya framework got more regularized and even in 1930s when Punjab Relief Indebtedness Act, 1934 and Punjab Debtors Protection Act, 1936 were made by Sir Chhotu Ram, this framework was there. There were Patiala and East Punjab State Unions (PEPSU) Mandis and afterward during the arrangement of Punjab and Haryana as a different state in 1966 a few street networks were created by the foundation of a few new mandies remembering Patti for TarnTaran, Ajnala in Amritsar, Phillaur in Jalandhar, educated the president regarding Arhtiya affiliation. During psychological oppression in the 1980s to mid-1990s, the number of arhtiyas went down from 30,000 to 25,000, and afterward, it returned to 28,000 where it has remained for as far back as quite a long while.

Why specialists need arhtiya framework to end

Government is liable for making this framework solid. The administration not just raised their bonus from 1.5 percent in 1961 to 2.5 percent in the 1990s, yet it likewise put the whole obligation of cleaning of harvest with power fans, giving gauging machines, work to oversee crop on them and furthermore 40 to 70 percent staff deficiency in the state government acquirement organizations prompted arhtiyas turning into the ‘ruler of mandis’.

In wheat obtainment time during the lockdown in April this year, the state government completely put the whole duty of organizing workers and calling ranchers to mandis to turn astute on arhtiyas just who dealt with the things for the administration proficiently moreover. Likewise, there are countless legislators who are arhtiyas themselves due to which this campaign is very solid here and even ‘the immediate installment’ framework to ranchers presented by the state by SAD-BJP and PM Narendra Modi’s legislature bypassing them got flopped totally.

“Likewise, expanding obligation on ranchers made arhtiyas solid on the grounds that arhtiya gives account to ranchers whenever of the day (however he may charge a high pace of interest) and most of the ranchers have gotten reliant on him,” said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, BKU EKTA (Dakaunda), adding that administration is additionally hand in glove with arhtiyas due to which it doesn’t bring them under a law disallowing forcing high interest on ranchers.

“How ranchers’ yield cash can be credited to the records of arhtiyas and, not in the record of ranchers,” addressed BKU (Ugrahan), general secretary, Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan.