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Dying Farmers, Dying Agriculture – Agrarian crisis hit poll front

The agrarian crisis came to view ahead of 2019 polls and it is a good news for farmers. The Central government has four broad proposals to ease out the agrarian crisis. It is a right step in the right direction and better late than never. The upliftment of the status of farmers needs to be taken up in the best way possible. At last the government see light at the end of the tunnel and the farmer’s woes will be eased out.

Having faced a tight situation and facing the wrath of the government and the banks, there seems to be no end to the problems faced by the farmers in this country. No one is able to make or break the ticklish situation and now the government look for an ultimate solution to the pressing issue.

The Maharashtra government has reported 257 suicides by farmers in the State between January and March this year resulting from the agrarian crisis. As many as 114 cases of suicides were reported from the Aurangabad region, followed by Amravati (102), Nagpur (30) and Nashik (nine) the data showed. Recent cases of suicides were reported due to the recent untimely rains and hailstorm.  Maharashtra State is taking necessary measures for development of the farm sector with the Central government supplementing the efforts through appropriate policy measures and budgetary support and still farmers face the heat. The Centre has taken several steps to revitalise the agriculture sector and improve the condition of the farming community on a sustainable basis by increasing investment, improving farm practices, rural infrastructure and delivery of credit, technology and other inputs, extension and marketing among others.

Famine is the major reason quoted for the farmer’s woes in debt-ridden areas of Maharashtra. Thus, the number of suicides by the debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra has touched a new high. There are no concrete steps taken to arrest the suicides by the State Government as per the opposition parties. The situation is going from bad to worse. Most of the deaths are taking place in the drylands. There is no stopping of such cruel deaths. The farmers’ distress is bound to continue so long as the general approach to agriculture management remains flawed.

A Team of Bankers can camp areas like Vidarbha, Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Wardha and Washim to give confidence to the farmers living in suicidal death-prone areas. New Scheme to give an on the spot overdraft and boost the confidence of farmers and special measure are to be formulated to arrest such deaths. Farmers are the backbone of our country and so many deaths in a single state ring the alarm bell to act swiftly. Just like doctors camping in an earthquake hit area or a flood affected area, Bankers should be compelled to pump money to proceed in the matter in a positive way. It is time to call an emergency meeting to solve this sensitive issue. Nationalisation of rivers could be a solution to prevent famine and solve irrigation problem in these barren lands. It is now or never situation.

The drought situation is getting increasingly worse and we find a dry river bed all over the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions and the position is pathetic. Agrarian crisis ahead in 225 districts as monsoon is on way out and drought situation is threatening farmers. The Rabi crops in the villages were ruined in drought and the sad state of widowed women of this region due to the spurt of suicides sends a signal for the State Agricultural Minister to act swiftly with the help of the central government to make things move in a proper direction. The present status is really bad with 938 more villages were declared drought-hit and needs. This for the first time that such large villages have been affected by drought and the hope of getting further rains to appear a remote possibility. By providing a major exemption to the farmers in the affected areas, the farmers can be given a glimmer of hope. Loan waiver in the drought-hit areas is a must to avoid the death menace in the state. The drought effect has taken the country by storm in general and Marathwada and Vidharba in particular. It is time to adopt a scientific way to grow crops with the reduction in irrigating them as the position in the last 10 years showing signs of a depleted look. The future looks bleak as the rains recede in the state of Maharashtra.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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