The farmer suicide rates are mounting, across India with almost half of the cases from Maharashtra, according to the latest report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The report, the first of its kind was released on Friday and consists of data that point towards an increasing number of suicides among farmers and agricultural workers in the country. According to the data, at least 2568 farmers committed suicide last year. Maharashtra tops the list of states hit by agrarian crisis with 4004 deaths with majority of the suicides in Vidarbha. Telangana follows with 898 farm suicides with Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Karnataka tagging along with 826, 443 and 321 deaths respectively. In India around 48.5 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for a living. The shrinking farmer population as given by the NCRB report therefore is disturbing. The government is well aware of the reasons for attempting suicide which are bankruptcy and indebtedness, common among the lower strata of the society. Failure of the crops due to natural calamity often leads to financial crisis. Despite the existence of several special packages in the states which are aimed at agricultural development and welfare of the farmers, the suicide rates continue to increase indicating the ineffectuality of the government announced schemes and packages.
The Modi government is trying hard to turn India into a major consumer market with the aid of corporate giants. The much hyped Land Acquisition Bill 2015 which Modi claims is in national interest is also a part of the agenda. Since a consensus wasn’t reached to pass the Bill, the government is making efforts to present it once again in the monsoon session of the Parliament ending on August 3. The controversial Bill had already been presented thrice before but was not approved. The Bill is evidently ‘anti-farmer’ which neglects the lives of common man and poses threat to the economy of the nation. Instead of making amendments, the government should bring about the necessary fundamental changes in the Bill. In India, farmers play a vital role in molding the economy of the country and are an essential part of the country’s development. Therefore steps should be mooted by the government giving priorities to their progress and welfare rather than playing the blame games. In the present scenario, where the priorities of the NDA government are determined by the corporate bigwigs, the government itself is to be blamed for agrarian crisis and the subsequent farmer suicides. Its time the Centre admits its flaws and rectifies them.