Despite loan waiver, farmer suicides have continued unabated: Maharashtra govt

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on June 20, 2019 Published on June 20, 2019

In the last 32 years, the number of farmer-suicides has multiplied in Maharashtra   -  Vivek Bendre;Vivek Bendre -

Says more than 12,000 have ended their life between 2015 and 2018

The BJP-led Maharashtra government admitted in the State Legislative Council that 12,021 farmers have committed suicide during its four-year regime (2015-18). This, despite the State launching various farmer welfare schemes, including a loan waiver. In the drought-hit Aurangabad region, 4,124 farmers have ended their lives in the last four years.

About 30 members of the State Legislative Council raised the question of farmer-suicides on the floor of the House recently. The opposition members asked the government why farmers in the State continue to commit suicide. The members drew the government’s attention to the farmers’ demand for higher prices for their produce and assistance to tackle severe drought.

State Minister Subhash Deshmukh, in a written reply, admitted that 12,021 farmers have ended their lives in the last four years, out of which 6,888 cases were eligible for the State assistance of ₹1 lakh. He added that in 4,410 cases, the State has not provided help as these cases were not eligible for the assistance.

The State government had announced a ₹34,000-crore loan waiver scheme in June 2017. However, even this step has not helped farmers. BusinessLine had earlier reported that 4,500 farmers had committed suicide after the loan waiver scheme.

The government’s admission shows that the situation has not changed for the farmers during the BJP-Shiv Sena regime. In fact, in the last 32 years, the number of farmer-suicides has multiplied in Maharashtra.

According to information provided by the State government to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), 6,268 farmer-suicide cases were registered in Maharashtra from January 2011 to December 2014, during the Congress–Nationalist Congress Party regime.

Key reasons

The State government, in its letter to the NHRC in 2015, stated: “The prominent reasons noted for farmer- suicides are debt, crop failure, inability to repay debt resulting in pressure from debtors, inability to procure enough money for daughter’s marriage or other religious activities, chronic severe illness, vices like alcohol addiction, gambling etc.”

Published on June 20, 2019
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