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Farmer Suicide is not the crisis, it is a result of the crisis

by Ram Kumar Mishra, India, 14 April 2013

After the green revolution in India, everyone was considering that all is right now. But it was not so, within this long period, every system comes to change and these changes affect the farmers’ life too. In spite of huge economic changes; India’s eco-system also comes to change. Season of monsoon, duration of winter, growing temperature in summer; all these elements were effective cause for negative output in farming.  Including central Government; States Governments were sub-conscious about these invisible but effective changes.


In a rural area of Allahabd district, Uttar Pradesh. photo: Nagmani Panday(left)/Cotton Corp. photo: Ram Kumar Mishra(right)

Farmers have to pay land revenue, irrigation tax at the increasing ratio and have to buy seeds, fertilizers; pesticides from Government led Co-operative credit societies on credit.  Beyond this; farmers have to beg before moneylenders, Co-operative and nationalized banks for debt, so that they could do a better farming and gain growing yield. They do hope that this session will much better for their crop and this way gambles with their all valuables in houses and life remains from the previous game of fate. Many farmers tempted by foreign Agro-companies for buying seed and pesticides. In the year of 2002 an American based multinational company “Monsanto” came to India for farming business and here this company get permission  to sell her modified cotton seeds with the Maharashtra hybrid seed company (Mahyco) that is called Monsanto, famous here with nick name Bt.cotton. No doubt this seed produce insecticides and led to higher yields. But for this seed farmer have to pay ten times more price than the Indian seeds as usual.

Farmer near Railway Lines. photo: Ram Kumar Mishra

After some times this farming system seems as one way road, from where take to turn was difficult. Because; from the very beginning they did not study about the ecological system of the region and land’s productive quality etc. Having passed some time farmers getting unable to repay the debt of the banks and landlords, and have to move for such fatal path. GM seeds could not return that rosy results which Monsanto had promised into its memorandum of understanding (MOU). In the result the state government of Maharashtra banned the sale and distribution of genetically modified GM cotton seeds.

The first state where farmers’ suicides were reported was Maharashtra in 1990. Soon, the media began to report this occurrence and this issue came to the national and international platform. And the same time national government appointed many committees and a number of inquiries to look the causes of this problem.  When the committees began to present their reports; it was surprising. According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) Data from 2009, more than 216,000 have ended their lives since 1997. And this figure of crucial suicide cases for 1995, 1996 and in the 2010 this number crosses 250,000. It means, that is two farmers suicide in a day past 15 years.  Being all government efforts in practices to control this death toll, seems useless and disable. 

When Minister of State for Agriculture Mr. Harish Rawat said in Rajya Sabha (Upper House of the Parliament) in a written reply to a question that 2,90,740 farmers have committed suicide till the 2011 and 3,00000 (Three Lacs) farmers committed suicide between 1995 and 2012 in total; knowing this fact the eyes of the countrymen remained open with surprise.

graphic source: NCRB/Indian Government

Agriculture Minister and National Congress Party president (which is an alliance party in central government)  Mr. Sharad Pawar whose state has the worst figure for the tenth consecutive years, has stopped quoting NCRB figure since 2007.

It should keep in mind that this number is not the final and accurate number, because of this data has been presented by the Government owned National Crime Record Bureau.  Many organizations and statistics accept that this number could beyond the expectation.

States where more suicides occurred:

On the basis of many government and private organizations’ report it is said that worst affected states are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Tamilnadu, Madhy Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand like 18 States are where farmers’ suicide cases were seen more and more.  Despite of all implementations and rehabilitation packages covering worst affected districts released by the government, a bit change can be seen. But it is not sufficient for such a wide and steady problem that has grasp farmers for a long period. Still it requires much more to do for some better result. Till the date suicide cases have been reported from the various parts of the country by the media.

Committing suicide of Indian farmer should not be taken as single caused problem. In reality; it has the various cause and effect and this problem could not be resolved from the national crime figure unless the solution would be so deep and strong to remove this problem along its root.     


* Related Article:

An endless melancholic story of Indian farmers >>

कब दूर होगी भारतीय किसानों की समस्या ? >>


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