October 28, 2020

Indian Farmers On Edge, State Exploitation at it’s best

Agriculture has deep roots in India. The emergence of agriculture is traced back to Indus valley civilization. Talking about the ranking of India in farm outputs it has it’s place on number two. The data of 2018 says that agriculture employed 50% of total work force and made contribution of 17-18% to the total GDP. Taking into consideration a latest report agriculture is the primary source of livelihood to 58% of the total population of India. Anyone reading the figuree will easily get to know how strong foothold does agriculture has in India. India ranks first in the world with the highest net cropped area followed by US and china. But with broad based economic growth of India the contribution of agriculture to Indian GDP is declining but it’s still contributing to the level which can’t be ignored. In year 2013 India exported $38 billion agriculture products. This huge amount of export places India at number seven in the list of world largest agriculture exporter and sxith largest net exporter. India exports it’s agriculture /horticulture processed food to more than 120 countries primarily to Japan , southeast Asia, SAARC countries, the European Union and the United States. Well all the primary and basic activities are being done by a person called farmer and their conditions these days are really worst that they have started to commit suicides and surprisingly the sucdie rates in the farms have gone really up and they really need to be addressed. But who would address them when the government in itself is caught who do they go to? Before we look into to loopholes of the government let’s take a look into what has made a farmer contributing to the GDP of the country immensely to commit suicide .According to activists and Scholars Anti farmer law, high debt burden, poor government policies, corruption in the subsidies, crop failure, public mental health, personal issues and family reasons. According to National crime Records Bureau 10, 281 died because of accidental deaths and sucides while as in 2018 10,357 farmers died of accidental deaths and sucides. Well these are the mixed figures of accidental deaths and suicides still it’s no better or can’t be ignored because of being a mixed report. Well out of the give figures of both 2018 and 2019 let’s supposed only half of the figures from each year are the farmer suicides. And that’s a huge figure.
What remains to be seen is how will the newly passed law that got consent from the President of India will get access to Congress ruled states as they have passed resolutions to block the bill.
The suicides of farmers isn’t a new thing but a process that continues since 1990 farmers often use the easily available pesticides to commit suicide and now a days hanging themselves is another way of doing so. Farmers and their families are in a great stress. The have huges debts which they think that they would pay off with the cultivation they do on their land but each year the crops get affected by one way or another and they don’t get the required amount to pay off their debts hence the debts keeps on mounting and suicides keep on growing. What do the people in power do? Make promises win elections and then appear the next election. In the year 2014 more than 60,000 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra alone, with an average of 160 suicides per day. According to National Records Bureau of India 296,438 India farmers have committed suicides till now. A huge number obviously and must make us think the farmer of the country is suffering right from 90’s and till date no solution has been found to it. What has been done is fake promises and anti farmers law that has been pushing the agriculture sector to privatisation hence making them more affected and prone to suicides but will it be taken care of. Seems no keeping in view the present agriculture stand & the recent farmers bill the government is in no mood of doing anything good for farmers. India is an agrarian land directly or indirectly 70% of total population is dependent on agriculture! 11.2% of total suicides in India are of farmers. They contribute to suicides as immensely as they contribute to GDP of the country but hardly anyone bothers to care. Farmers suicides in India ranged between 1.4 and 1.8 per 100,00 total population, over a period of 10 years through 2005, the figures of 2017 and 2018 showed average of more than 10 suicides daily. But these figures could be even higher as states manipulated the figures. But even after the states trying to hide the number of suicides are growing rapidly with no one caring. The report of National Crime Records Bureau showed 7 state topping the list. Maharashtra being the at top with 3,030 followd by Telangana with 1358 suicides, karnataka with 1,197 suicides, Madhya Pradesh with 581 suicides, Andhra pradesh 516 suicides, Punjab with 1000 and chhattisgarh with 854 cases. The rate of farmer suicides in Bihar and Utter Pradesh two largest states of India by size and population have 10 times lower suicides than Maharashtra, kerala and Pondicherry. 745 farmers committed suicide in UP a state that has estimated population of 205.43 million population , in 2014 there were 8 farmer suicides. In year 2015 12,602 farmers and in 2016 11,379. A considerable decline but the suicides of farmers continue to be above 10,000 right from 90’s. Where everything now happens on machines many farmers in India don’t have bulls to plough their land. Which is really ironical. Some had to sell them, while of others died and of others was stolen. Well as the farmers of India are already suffering the lock down added to their worries. The agriculture sector bill did the rest. The bill made certain amendments in the existing laws. The introduction of the bill led and old ally SDA to withdraw their support and Harsimrat kaur the party MP and the Union Minister also resigned as a mark of protests against the bill. Well this was all done during the monsoon session of Lok sabha and it’s well known monsoon gets floods to India evey year but this time monsoon got disaster to the farmers for rest for their life at least till NDA has the majority in Lok sabha. Shocking it is that protesting farmers were called anti nationals. Now what remains to be seen is how will the newly passed law that got consent from the President of India will get access to Congress ruled states as they have passed resolutions to block the bill.
(The author is a freelancer and writes frequently for “Kashmir Horizon”. Views are his own) [email protected]

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