Sindh Hari Cards programme, landless sharecropping peasants will benefit

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 Sindh’s vast majority constitute sharecropping peasants; they will not benefit from the Sindh government’s hari card scheme, as they have never benefited from any support and subsidy programs introduced by the government in the agriculture sector, said a statement issued by the Hari Welfare Association.

In a statement HWA president Akram Khaskheli said that in 2021, during the PPPP Sindh government’s third term, a promise was made to introduce ‘Hari Cards’ for underprivileged farmers, along with a subsidy of 3 billion rupees (for those with less than 16 acres of landholdings), but this promise was not fulfilled. In its fourth term (starting in February 2024), the government has reiterated its pledge to provide Kisan Cards (Hari Cards) to farmers who would benefit from various government schemes such as subsidies, loans, and insurance.

The statement commended the government’s scheme but expressed serious concern about several key points, including the lack of groundwork or documentation and the exclusion of landless sharecropping peasants. There are fears that the cards will be distributed among the party’s personal cadres, which will not benefit genuine small-scale landowners. Furthermore, the government has not conducted a survey to identify and provide benefits to genuinely impacted small-scale landowners, who suffered greatly in the recent floods or have been unable to meet basic needs amidst an unending wave of inflation.

Khaskheli further highlighted that, as always, millions of landless sharecropping peasants who work on the land and share the burden of land inputs but receive zero benefits from any government-initiated schemes. It pointed out that despite devastating floods in 2022, 2011, and 2010 affecting Sindh’s agriculture, only landlords were compensated, while not a single sharecropping peasant, who bore an equal burden, received compensation.

Khaskheli Further said that due to unfair and non-transparent accounting system of the income and expenses of crops by the landlords, poor landless peasants and agriculture workers are going into debt bondage and slavery, hence Sindh government should take concrete measures for the protection of peasants’ rights and implementation of Sindh tenancy act in true letter and spirit.

He said that majority of newly elected members of provincial assembly of Sindh and national assembly are landlords but no one had signed a written agreement for cultivation of land with their peasants/sharecroppers under Sindh Tenancy Act 1950, which is clear violation of the law. Said that party leadership must ask from them about the agreement with their tenants.

HWA demanded that the government should not only provide cards to landlords but also to its tenants or sharecropping peasants. It suggested that landlords should be required to provide a written declaration of the tenancy contract to the sharecropping peasants under the Sindh Tenancy Act of 1950. Additionally, it urged for a comprehensive survey to be conducted and used to devise steps to ensure that this scheme genuinely benefits the deserving peasants and small-scale landowners.

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