Make 2017, the year with Zero Farmer Suicides


Maharashtra has done it again. Only this time it broke all the previous records and hit an all time low (not high) with the highest number of suicides in a year – an unfortunate 3228 suicides a year i.e. 6 suicides everyday.

The government in it’s response to this annual ritual of suicides, has yet again, opted for the standard procedure of operation from the book “How to respond to farmer suicides, a Dummies guide book?“.  The details of the procedure include

  • constituted a committee to look into the crisis – who mostly work in their office rooms or cubicles but not necessarily talk to the farmers
  • announced compensation packages – no accountability of whether these compensations ever reach the recipients
  • announced loan waivers – loan waivers are mostly for the banks and the middle men
  • announced de-addiction – identified as one of the major reasons for farmer suicides, quite convinient
  • announced community marriages – since taking loans for marriages is adding up to the crisis, community marriages are the way to go and not responding to the underlying crisis

I’m not saying the government that it just copied everything straight out of the book. It did do some work.

  • It came up with a price tag for every suicide
  • It came up with the names of ‘new’ schemes
  • It came up with lot of paper work to support their work
  • It hosted press releases announcing these grand schemes
  • It placed Ads to create awareness about these schemes

Sarcasm aside, the farmer suicide deaths, year after year, are sending a very strong message about the current agrarian crisis. The farmers buried deep down in the grave and the farmers who managed to keep themselves above the grave, are condemning  the farming practices, the lack of infrastructure support, the lack of Minimum Support prices and shouting on top of their lungs that there is a need to shift to food crops, a need to stop cash crops, a need to do multi cropping, a need to stop chemical based farming, a need for an income security, a need for community based marketing and a need for technology to make access farming produce more easier.

The farming crisis is not a crisis concerning the farmers. It also should concern us, the citizens who benefit from the farming. The suicide deaths and the horrifying statistics are not hidden from us. If we just chose to remain silent spectators, then there is no difference between us and the government authorities.

Let’s question ourselves?

  • Lets start from the lowest levels – Our municipalities, our MLA’s, our MP’s. Why are we letting them get away for their inefficiencies and irresponsibility? Remember we don’t ask, they don’t tell. Why are they being felicitated instead of being held accountable?
  • What are we doing to highlight the crisis that is unfolding right in front of our eyes?
  • Why are the farming suicides not part of the debates, discussions and concrete actions?
  • Why can’t we demand for a Zero Farmer Suicides in every district and every state in the next year?
  • Why is it that Mere Desh Ki Darthi, the only song on farmers in all these years of Indian Cinema? Why is farming left out of even the arts and culture of our society?
  • If these numbers don’t alarm us, then nothing else will. So let’s ask ourselves, what can be done and how?
  • Why are our celebrations in the name of culture and traditions don’t feature farmers?

Let’s take a pledge

Pledge

The below information is official information sourced from Rajyasabha.nic.in

SuicidesMaharashtra

Compensation:

According to the State Government of Maharashtra out of these 3228 cases

  • 1841 cases are eligible for ex-gratia payment
  • 903 cases are ineligible
  • 484 cases are pending enquiry.

Rs. 1 lakh has been given to the heirs in respect of 1818 suicide cases

Prevention of farmer suicides

The Government of Maharashtra is implementing various schemes for prevention of farmer suicides due to agrarian distress.

  • waiver of interest on crop loans
  • constructions of check dams
  • improved seed distribution to farmers
  • crop insurance, etc.
  • “Krishi Samruddhi Scheme”
    • Taking short term and long term measures for tackling the drought situation.
  • “Baliraja Chetna Abhiyan Scheme”
    • the District Committee headed by the Collector has Rs.10 crore per year at its disposal to take up awareness campaign, health counselling,
    • de-addiction,
    • revival of social support system,
    • Bhajan, Kirtan Mandals,
    • community marriages etc. to reduce the distress level of farmer families.
    • The village level committees, headed by sarpanch has Rs. 1 lakh per year at its disposal to help the farmers families in situations like meeting health expenses, educational expenses, loan installment etc. which cause acute financial distress.
  • “Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission”.
    • the State Government of Maharashtra is restructuring the various schemes to prevent farmers’ suicides in the State.

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Make 2017, the year with Zero Farmer Suicides

Add yours

  1. While interest free loans and other waivers seem to help, most of the solutions that are being offered seem to neglect one very important aspect in the web of problems that Indian farmers are facing. That is the fact that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are toxic to the soil ecosystem that is so vital for plants and hence in spite of everything farmers are unable to do much in a soil that is dead. The solution may lie in a revolutionizing our approach to farming itself. The most convincing and holistic solution that seems to exist is the Padmashri Subhash Palekar method of natural farming called the Zero Budget Natural farming. More on it here: http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/social-impact/environment/try-zero-budget-natural-farming/ here: A guide to Zero Budget Natural Farming ( ZBNF ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-xi2VB9Q6c

    other links:

    http://www.palekarzerobudgetspiritualfarming.org/zbnf.aspx

    http://www.zerobudgetnaturalfarming.org/

    I am working with a bunch of volunteers in Pune, India who are trying to create awareness among farmers and also consumers of farm produce about the benefits of toxin free food and I thought it would be good to let you too know that something like this exists. Palekar himself is doing this for no profit and am trying as much as possible to publicize this online because the world needs to know there is a solution. 🙂

  2. Hi Suri,

    Great blog post. I came across your blog through Logical Indian and would like to discuss more on the farmer suicide topic and how we can help. In 2010 – 2011, I did some study and primary research on Farmer suicides in India. Along with a few friends, we visited a village in Mandya after a Silk farmer committed suicide there. We studied the Silk supply chain and tried to identify the root cause of the problem.

    One of the major issues for small farmers is access to capital / loan. Eventhough Indian banks have 40% priority lending towards agriculture, most of these loans go to rich farmers for low interest rates. Rich farmers inturn lend to small farmers at almost 10% monthly interest – an annual interest of 120%. In a year a small farmer would have paid more in interest than the principal borrowed.

    Indian government has established ‘Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK)’ (500+) alll over the country to help farmers improve their yield through soil and seed research, training for farmers, forming farmer societies for getting access to loans etc. We did a 2 month project in a Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Idukkki, Kerala during my MBA to improve their processes and access to farmers.

    This topic is very close to my heart and I coudn’t do much after moving to the US apart from investing though the micro-finance site – https://www.rangde.org/. Currently I live in New Jersey. My email is gopal.ceg@gmail.com and contact no. is +1 479 372 7909. Look forward to discussing further.

    Thanks,
    Gopal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: