Since the state government announced the Rs34,000 crore-farm loan waiver scheme that is yet to be implemented — 1,020 farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra. Dowe understand the seriousness of the alarming condition that our farmers are facing today? The state government should meet their promises as soon as possible because each passing moment is stripping life out of farmers. Though it is a continuing phenomenon, it needs a detailed approach to understand the causes before a solution can be offered to the problem. Loan waiver certainly isn’t the solution.
The agricultural sector is the most inefficient in terms of manpower productivity. One can understand the inhibitions and fears of the landless agricultural labourers who know nothing else than the agro fieldwork. It is incumbent on the government to not only lift them out of their wells by a campaign to motivate them but also providing opportunities for their gainful employment in the nearest vicinity. Models of self-help groups, cottage industries, Khadi and so many other similar opportunities are to be laid out making it easy for them to find the livelihood.
On Tuesday,a 50-year-old debt-ridden farmer of Maharashtra, Shankar Bhaurao Chayre committed suicide by consuming poison; the farmer has named Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his suicide note. He reportedly blamed the central government and its policy for his death. The farmer was under the debt of nearly Rs 1 lakh and could not get any benefit from the Maharashtra government’s loan waiver scheme. Demanding to meet the Prime Minister, the family of the deceased refused to take over the body for last rites. The loss of cotton crop due to a pest attack is suspected to be the prime reason behind the farmer taking the extreme step.
Cotton fields skirted the houses of many farmers. Nearly 2,414 farmers ended their lives in the first 10 months of this year. Figures provided by the government showed that 2,414 farmers committed suicide from January 1 to October 31, 2017. Of these, 1,020 ended their lives between the months of July to October. Division-wise data shows that Amravati in Vidarbha has registered the most suicides at 395 during this four-month period. Aurangabad in Marathwada is close behind at 330 suicides, while 179 farmers in Nashik division, north Maharashtra, took their own lives. Data for the 10 months in 2017 too shows Amravati division reported the most farmer suicides at 907, while Aurangabad reported 789 suicides. The Konkan division saw the least number of farmer suicides (4), while 80 farmers ended their lives during this period in Pune division. Nagpur registered 226 farmer suicides, while Nashik registered 408.
The government is running on bogus development figures. There is no development. They are advertising fake achievements; it should take responsibility for farmer suicides as well. Government measures are only on papers and have not been seen on the ground. Farmers are not benefiting, but the government runs on tall claims. Data shows that women in rural India do not get the benefit of proper nutrition in their formative years or even throughout their life. Following several days of agitation in June 2017 by farmers, who stopped sending fresh produce to city markets, the BJP-led Maharashtra government announced the loan waiver schemebut hasn’t been able to put together an accurate list of eligible beneficiaries with banks till date. Most of the regions in Maharashtra remained rain-fed despite the obvious problems of irrigation and the farmer suicides. In the absence of accessible canal irrigation, wells were facilitated by the government, but only for fields smaller than 5 acres.
Despite a good monsoon last year and the government’s steps to tackle the agrarian crisis, the number of farmers’ suicide is climbing in the state.
As many as235 farmers killed themselves in March last year. This is on top of 202 farmers ending their lives in January 2017 and an equal number recorded in the consecutive month. The data compiled by the relief and rehabilitation department led by senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil said in all, 639 farmers committed suicide between January 1and March 31, 2017. Out of the 639 suicide cases, financial assistance had been granted in 224, 138 cases had been rejected, and 267 are still under scrutiny. In 2016, 3,052 farmers killed themselves. Ex-gratia was paid in 1,619 cases, claim for ex-gratia was rejected in 1,167 cases, and 264 cases are still under scrutiny.
This spurt could not have come at a worse time for CM Devendra Fadnavis, as the opposition ratcheted up its demand for a loan waiver for the farmers. Their cry has become even more strident since the BJP, which came to power in Maharashtra,made the announcementof loan waiver and did nothing much for the farmers to help them earn their living.
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