Punjab’s Kissan Card is an excellent first step toward providing direct subsidies to small farmers. The use of technology would reduce red tape and corruption. It is a Punjab government initiative that is part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for targeted and smart subsidies.
The subsidies are for agricultural inputs for 5 million small farmers, especially those with less than 5 acres of land. Due to insufficient or inappropriate fertilizer mix, use of adulterated substandard pesticides, and poor quality seeds, these farms’ yields are low.
Farmers depend heavily on urea, but DAP usage is low. A Rs1,000/bag DAP subsidy and the certainty of delivering it to deserving farmers using a digital tool would boost productivity. Subsidies were previously routed to fertilizer companies; now the entire amount will be sent to farmers.
Small farmers are suffering as a result of climate change – Insurance for the Kissan Card will be available against damages, and it will be clear thanks to historical weather trends.
The overall subsidy system would be open, and blockchain technology has the potential to increase efficiency.
Other provinces should follow Punjab’s lead and implement a similar targeted direct subsidy system so that farmers can benefit from the PTI government’s DAP, pesticide, and seed relief packages.
Actions speak louder than words. Usman Buzdar has accomplished something that none of his predecessors could have imagined.