Farm suicides get attention of apex court

A study conducted across 13 States by the Union Agriculture Ministry throws up the all-too-familiar reasons that drive farmers to suicide.

About Study

The Ministry’s agricultural economic research unit, Agricultural and Rural Transformation Centre (ADRTC) of the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bengaluru, investigated farmers’ suicides in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Causes of suicide

The causes behind each death points to frequent crop failure, vagaries of the monsoon, absence of assured water resources, attacks of pests and diseases, debts, farming and social causes.

Other Data

Union Home Ministry’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which disseminates and compiles information on suicides of self-employed in farming/agriculture in its publication Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India. NCRB reports up to 2015 reveal identical causes of suicides among farmers are bankruptcy, farming-related issues, family problems, illness, drug abuse or alcoholism.

Centre’s Stand

It can only formulate a line of action to resolve the issue, the actual implementation at the ground level is the responsibility of the individual States.

What need to be done?

  • Crop insurance, crop and enterprise diversification,
  • Government intervention through minimum support price (MSP) covering cost of production plus a reasonable profit margin,
  • Establishing farmers welfare cells as support groups.
  • Regulating informal credit market as remedies.
  • Co-ordination between the Centre and States ie States are to be consulted on these matters.
  • Disaster compensation, trade policies are to be in favour of our farming sector

Measures taken by governement

  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, which provides farmers’ full insurance and had 390.02 lakh farmers covered and 386.75 lakh hectares insured with a sum of ₹1,41,883.30 crore during Kharif 2016.
  • The Agriculture Ministry, 172.94 lakh farmers had been covered with a total sum of ₹69,851.37 lakh crore during Rabi 2016-17.
  • It said the government had increased the target of agricultural credit from ₹9 lakh crore to ₹10 lakh crore in Budget 2017-18.
  • Reserve Bank of India has allowed State and district level banks to take a lenient view on rescheduling of loans if crop loss is 33% or more.
  • Introduction of  the Kisan Credit Card scheme and the e-National Agricultural Market Scheme.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices and farmers issue

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