116 Farmers Committed Suicide Between Feb-April in 2016: Govt

Maximum cases of farmers’suicides have been reported in Maharashtra, followed by Punjab and Telangana.

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In 2016, 57 cases of farmers’ suicides were reported in Maharashtra till 29 February, while 56 farm labourers’ suicide cases were reported in Punjab till 11 March.

As many as 116 farmers have committed suicide due to agriculture-related reasons so far in 2016, with the maximum cases being reported in Maharashtra, followed by Punjab and Telangana, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.

More than 2,000 cases of farmers committing suicide were reported in 2015 with Maharashtra recording 1,841 cases alone, as per the data placed before Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Agriculture Mohanbhai Kundariya.

Till 29 February 2016, there were 57 cases of farmers’ suicides reported in Maharashtra, while 56 cases of farm labourers’ suicide were reported in Punjab till 11 March. In Telangana, there were three cases.
Mohanbhai Kundariya, Minister of State for Agriculture told Lok Sabha

Asked if the government has taken steps to mitigate the impact of drought on farmers, the minister said it has approved Rs 12,773.34 crore of relief package to ten states affected by drought during kharif (summer) season of 2015-16 crop year (July-June).

Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan are all reeling under drought.

Besides providing the relief package, the Centre has taken other measures to deal with the situation of drought including implementation of diesel/seed subsidy and relaxed norms under MGNREGA to provide additional employment of 50 days over and above 100 days per household in areas affected by natural calamities, the minister said.

When asked if the government has taken steps to help the debt-ridden farmers and put a check on private money lenders, the minister said farmers are indebted due to both institutional and non-institutional sources of credit.

To bring more farmers within the institutional fold, the government is providing short-term crop loans and medium/long term loan to farmers.

Short-term crop loan of Rs 3 lakh is provided to farmers at an interest rate of 7 per cent per annum and prompt re-payers are getting the benefit of 3 per cent interest subvention, he said.

The benefit of interest subvention scheme has been extended to small and marginal farmers who have the Kisan Credit Card for up to six months post harvest on the same rate as available to crop loan against negotiable warehouse receipt, he added.

The limit for collateral free farm loan has been increased from Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 1,00,000, the minister said.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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