Villagers in Rajasthan barter wheat with groceries to beat currency blues

Bundi (Rajasthan): Cash-starved farmers in Bundi villages – where ATM and bank branches are hard to find – have resorted to the ancient barter system, exchanging wheat and pulses with other commodities.
For farmers in the villages it is literally a return to the old days.
Wheat is currently being sold for Rs. 21 to 24 per kg but the locals in villages are forced to purchase commodities weighing equal to wheat thus running into losses.
Even as the Prime minister has been stressing on digital and cashless transactions, the villagers, most of whom don’t know the meaning of these words feel ‘Acche Din to nahi lakin purane din lot aaye hai’ (Not the good days but the old days have returned).
“For the last couple of weeks I have been exchanging wheat for vegetables and other items of day-to-day needs from the grocery shop,” said Sheogiram Meena, a farmer in Ganeshpura village near Bundi. Mulibai of the same village said she purchased vegetables and grocery items from the village shop in exchange of wheat weighing about two kilogrammes.
During the drought some years ago, the locals in the village had adopted the same practice, she recalls.
Bharulal Gujjar and Mewalal of Sakatpura village of Kaithuda panchyat of the district, which has a population of around 1400, say as soon as the villagers get news about availability of cash in the ATM at Jarkhoda village, which is 12 kms away, people rush to get cash and sometimes return disappointed as the cash runs out.
Chatarganj village of Hindoli gram panchyat, with a population of about 3600, has no bank branch, ATM, online payment or swipe machine facility and the local villagers have to travel a long distance to get cash.
Kaithuda, Maani and Balkasa villages of the district are also among other places where no bank branch or ATM exists.

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