Over could be referred to as a ‘premature’

Topic: EducationGraduation
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Last updated: September 2, 2019

Over the past few years, our daily news feed have witnessed large number of farmers committing suicide in different parts of the country with Maharashtra and Telangana topping the charts of the highest number of farmer suicides from January 1 to October 31, 2017.  Where a farmer’s personal indebtedness, inability to get the girl child married quickly and ill-health can be well considered as ceteris paribus, the ‘agrarian distress’ can be attributed to failure of correct implementation of schemes, disastrous consequences of bad weather, market price failures, low minimum support prices and limited access to formal credit. Following the 908 deaths recorded in Amravati district of Maharashtra alone between January to May, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis began the Loan Waiver Scheme which aimed to provide 100% loan waiver to 8.9 million farmers across the country.

The scheme was implemented from October 18.  In retrospect, the scheme could be referred to as a ‘premature’ move as the compulsion pertaining to Aadhar Card linkage to bank accounts exposed various loopholes in terms of identical names on the same UID or the absence of an Aadhar Card altogether, limiting the benefits of this scheme to essentially 2.5 lakhs farmers. The translucent access to credit system could not contain the increasing number of suicides happening in others states like Bhuwneshwar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab as well. In many circumstances, the increased production of bumper crops like cotton and chilies has resulted in a stark decrease in the market prices of these commodities and inconsumable stocks of produce.

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The area of cotton cultivation in Telangana itself was recorded at 19 lakhs hectares in 2016-2017. “Cotton farmers are selling the crop for Rs4,300-4,500 per quintal this year, a drop of nearly Rs1,000 per quintal compared to the price last year” confirmed Vijay Jawandhiya, a farm activist from the suffering district of Vidarbha itself. This also points out the need for substantially better minimum support prices guaranteed to the farmers by the government for their produce which can help them sustain a living. A a decline in the GDP growth, noted at 6.5%, highlighted the weaknesses in the implementation of various schemes that may be introduced for the benefit of the farmers. Post the economic reforms introduced by Narasimha Rao in 1995-96, the contribution of the agriculture in the GDP had increased from 2.4% to 3.

7% under the UPA government till 2013-2014. It is under the Modi-led government that agri-GDP has starkly fallen to a modest figure of 1.9%. The agri-trade surplus has also shrunken from $25.5 million to only $8.2 million. The government has promised to double the farmer’s income by 2022 except the Dalwai Committee Report points out that to achieve this aim the farmers’ real income needs to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 10.

4%. Keeping in mind that India remains an agrarian country with 47% of its population engaging in agriculture accompanied with the falling GDP growth of the country, it puts immense pressure on the government that may allow for the grievances of the farmers across country to be finally heard.

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