As many as 1,000 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra in 2015, the state government told the Bombay High Court.
The court, which has taken up the issue of farmer suicides suo motu (on its own) as a PIL, suggested that the government may rope in corporates to deal with the crisis.
“In this way, suicides could be prevented as business houses would readily come forward to help farmers under the corporate social responsibility,” the bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Girish Kulkarni said.
Business houses should be urged either to adopt villages or provide equipment including tractors to the farmers free, it said.
Government officers from a few districts, who were present in the court (last time they had been asked to be present), stated that the government had introduced some schemes, which prompted the court to ask whether the number of suicide had gone up or come down after these measures were introduced.
The officers conceded that the number had increased.
The judges then asked the government to find out the reasons for this. “It is necessary to know the causes to tackle the problem,” the bench said.
The court took up the issue in response to media reports that over 600 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra in 2015. But the government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani today stated that the number was in fact 1,000.
The court also suggested that the government may promote collective farming as a solution. It would especially help the farmers with small land-holding who are unable to recover the cost of cultivation, said the bench.
Asking the government to come out with welfare schemes for farmers, the judges said the schemes should not remain only on paper but strictly implemented.