Farmer’s suicides seem unabated, they continue!
Yet, no systematic response is in sight!
It is easy to blame the government for many of the ills of governance. The Prime Minister is blamed routinely for many of the ills and lack of governance in some critical areas. Farmers’ continued suicides are not in this category.
Farmers constitute the most weakest part of the Indian economic growth story in the present stage of economic development.
Farm credit has surged from Rs.1 lakh crores in the 2000s to nearly 8.5 lakh crores in 2015-16.
Given the size of the farmers population, also considering that 60 per cent of the Indian people are still dependent upon agriculture for their living, is it too much at all?
We request Mr.Modi, the Prime Minister, to make a drastic change in the unbalanced share of loans in the urban-rural divide!
All recognised farmers, big and small and all recognised farmers must have direct access to bank funds.
That makes Mr.Modi a living god to the millions of farmers who are now subjected to untold oppressions and suppressions.
And the Prime Minister rightly puts his emphasis on development and we at the Vadamalai Media believe in constructive approach even when we want to point out what needs to be done and what can be done in a sector like agriculture.
We feel that the government must think in a systematic manner. There present state of agricultural credit, farm loans directly to farmers is not in keeping with the trends in direct transfer of funds to the weaker sections, to the last man.
There are enough statistics with the government to show that only 13.5 per cent of the farm credit directly goes to the farmers.
This, by any stretch of imagination is far from satisfactory. Also, there is statistics to show that with the farmers heavily in debt, the proportion of debt with the private money lenders is very high, 44 per cent of the debts with the rural households is from the private money lenders.
This needs to be brought down. Also 40 per cent of the farm loans in Maharashtra are disbursed from the urban and metropolitan branches of the banks. It should be obvious to anyone’s common sense that this category of “farmers” are really urban borrowers, mostly non-farmers and also the loans are for non-farming activities only. And these loans are advanced in summer months and not even during the kharif and rabi seasons!
One can go on and on with this sort of highly unsatisfactory state of affairs in the rural set-up. What can be done?
Surely, the government must make fresh surveys wherever they want and they must ascertain the actual number of small and marginal farmers and make a new policy to directly transfer loans to the would be beneficiaries.
And, please look at the functioning of old institutions like the Nabard and also the newly created and we suspect, on-functioning Agricultural Insurance Corporation. Make them all functional.
When there is a rush to start so many insurance companies in the private sector, why not invite some foreign or domestic PSU insurance companies to partner with the agricultural insurance.
Any among of funds allotted to this agri insurance would be a great public service and public investment.
Please take time off, we say to the prime minister, and devote some time, quality time, as they say, to the woes of the rural distress.
Farming is a challenging activity anywhere these days, be it the USA and Europe.
Just now, we read in the London Financial Times that even in France where there has been a bumper wheat harvest and yet, prices fell and the farmers, owning as much as 250 acres (which is small farm there!), is in distress.
That is why in the USA and EU farm subsidies are very hefty payouts!
In India, with all our tall talk, we are depriving our farmers.
At any time in history, it is food production that saves a nation. Indian history is no exception.
So, we say to the government, don’t neglect farmers, rural India where we will have always the very foundations of a strong agricultural prosperity.