Mohan Atalkar, Loksatta
Amravati: Despite the implementation of the debt relief scheme for farmers, as well as various schemes by the central and state governments, due to natural calamities, crop failure and indebtedness, the problem of farmer suicides in West Vidarbha persists and 346 farmers have died in the Amravati division in the last four months.
The government provides Rs 1 lakh assistance to farming families who commit suicide due to infertility and debt bondage. This inadequate help does not bring much relief to the suicidal family. It also shows that more than half of the suicide cases have been disqualified and help has been denied to peasant families. The Amravati division has recorded 18,007 farmer suicides in the last two decades. Of these, only 8,209 cases could be treated. 9 thousand 572 cases were declared ineligible, pending the investigation of 215 cases. The terms and conditions of the Government Resolution issued by the State Government on December 19, 2005 have not yet been modified. Unreviewed Terms. It is objected that most suicidal families are deprived of government assistance due to obstructive terms and conditions. There have been repeated calls to increase the amount of help available to families who have committed suicide, but the government has made it clear in the legislature that there is no need to revise the criteria.
Yavatmal district recorded the highest number of 5,203 suicides among the five districts of Amravati division between 2001 and 2022, 4,693 in Amravati district, 3,607 in Buldhana district, 2,694 in Akola, and 1,810 in Washim district .
The old cry that agricultural commodities do not fetch prices compared to the cost of production is still there. Farmers do not get the expected financial return as the cost has increased at all stages from cultivation to harvest. Most of the agriculture in the Amravati Division is arid. The number of minority farmers is high. In case of infertility in one year, farmers have no choice but to go to the lender to meet their daily expenses and get caught in the lender’s trap.
The decision was made in 2005 on the basis of a report by the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, a government-appointed body for the social, economic and psychological study of farmer suicides, as well as a comprehensive review of the report by part of a committee chaired by the Chief Secretary. According to the ruling, sterility, nationalized or cooperative banking, non-payment of loans taken from recognized lenders and indebtedness are the three criteria to provide immediate assistance to families of suicidal peasants.
Considering the need to raise awareness and advise farmers, the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission was restructured to speed up the implementation of various measures, special development assistance programs for farmers under Krishi Samrudhi Yojana, food security for farmers, health services, implementation of agricultural development programs. and free education for their children. Efforts are being made to reduce farmers’ stress through schemes such as the PM-Kisan agricultural product guarantee. The revenue department has clarified that the Mahatma Jotirao Phule Farmers Debt Relief Scheme has been put in place to provide relief to farmers. But the farmer suicides have not stopped.
It appears from various reports that around two hundred and fifty existing laws are anti-agricultural. Currently, two or three laws are being discussed, but all of these laws must be considered. Farmers will not be able to get relief from existing laws and structures. It has been pointed out that even political change does not solve these problems. Permanent measures must be taken to energize agriculture.
– Arivad Nalkande, President, Labor Council.