Modi government in centre and BJP in states have made it to power by making tall promises to farmers but actually nothing much is done, all virtual and verbal promises with no action. When the Yogi Adityanath-led government came to power in Uttar Pradesh, they announced waiver of farm loans up to Rs 1 lakh, fulfilling a major election promise made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The decision should have been benefited 2.25 crore farmers and at the cost of Rs 36,000 crore state exchequer. During the election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised that writing-off farm loans would be among the foremost tasks of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. According to government data, 2.15 crore of the 2.30 crore farmers in UP belong to the ‘small and marginal’ category. Most of these farmers were unable to repay loans worth Rs 62,000 crore after crop losses due to natural calamities.
Within six months of rule, the government had to face condemnation for the deaths of children in a hospital in Gorakhpur in August, and also for the insensitive “children die every August” remark by state Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh. The state government kicked up another storm when the first phase of the much-hyped crop loan waiver scheme turned into a major farce for farmers.
The state government had earlier announced that under the scheme, crop loans up to Rs 1 lakh will be waived off for small and marginal farmers. However, as cabinet ministers ceremoniously distribute loan waiver certificates to farmers across districts, it turns out that many of the beneficiary farmers have received waivers of amounts as petty as Re 1 or Rs 1.50. The state government is now offering all sorts of excuses but none worth buying. The farmers, on the other hand, blame more than the government. The administrative system, they believe, usually work against their interests and do not change with a change in power.
According to state figures, out of 11,93,000 farmers whose loans were waived off during the first phase of the scheme, 34,262 received loan waivers worth Rs 1 to Rs 1000. Out of them, 4,814 received Rs 1 to Rs 100. Those who received Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 are numbered at 41,690, while 11,27,000 farmers received waivers worth more than Rs 10,000. The incident has sparked a back-and-forth blame game and the BJP is yet to deliver on the electoral promise of loan waivers. Farmers are committing suicides year after year and nobody is bothered. It is time to prove our worth. Hope BJP’s new government acts swiftly to protect Kisan of our country.
At least 20 farmers have died in the last month due to poisoning after spraying pesticides in Maharashtra, some of them lethal mixtures. They skipped wearing protective gear. The first death was reported in early August. Over 600 farmers have been affected by pesticide inhalation since then. With symptoms like blurred vision, nausea, skin rashes, headaches and dizziness, over 100 farmers are still recovering at the district hospital in Yavatmal. Some have lost their sight and others are in the intensive care unit or ICU in a critical state. For Yavatmal district, about 670 kilometres from the state capital Mumbai, which already sees a high number of farmer suicides due to agrarian crisis, this has come as a big blow.
There are many farmers who are working in other’s fields so that they can burn fire in their kitchen. Most of them are over burdened with debts. After repeated agitations, the farmers whose names have been given to the government by the District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) under the loan-waiver scheme will get money in their bank accounts before Diwali, no one knows how much money would be given to these farmers but government will release the funds to those districts where the DCC Banks have submitted the complete list of eligible farmers. Bowing to protests by farmers, the state government in June had announced Rs 34,000 crore-loan waiver with caveats. Under the scheme, loans up to Rs 1.5 lakh per farmer will be waived.
Maharashtra reported 855 cases of farmer suicides during the January-April period of this year against 1,023 cases in 2016. Important steps are taken by the state government to prevent farmers from committing suicide, the state was suppose to implement a pilot project in Yavatmal and Osmandabad districts of Amravati and Aurangabad division. It has released funds to the tune of Rs 34.19 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 12.50 in 2016-17 to these districts for implementation of the ‘Baliraja Chetana Abhiyan’. Farmers counsel is being conducted through a programme by public health department in the state, but like Uttar Pradesh, here also nothing moved beyond files. Farmers are feeling cheated and there is a steep rise in the number of suicides. Look at Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra, the conditions are same.
One hundred and sixteen farmers have ended their lives between June 7 and October 1 in Madhya Pradesh, 13 peasants have committed suicide during the same period in the same state. Farmers in western Madhya Pradesh had launched a massive stir for a loan waiver and better remunerative prices for their agricultural produce in June this year. Five farmers were killed in the police firing in Mandsaur district on June 6, as the agitation turned violent. And angry government just ignores their demands. Across India, the farmers have been shown carrot and stick but no state has ever has come up with any scheme to provide them relief.