• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
"Farmers Protection Act"?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mirrored at http://kalyan96.googlepages.com/farmerss.doc (24 pages)

If a Government of a State cannot protect the life amd limb of the citizens, it has no reason to continue in office.

Owning up moral responsibility, Hon'ble PM Manmohan Singh heading the UPA Government, as substitute PM, should in good conscience quit office; Hon'ble Chairperson of UPA, Sonia Gandhi should resign all positions she holds including the office of President of Indian National Congress.

<b>1,00,248 farmers have committed suicide between 1993 and 2003, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told Parliament on May 18 this year. </b>


As Sainath notes poignantly: "The agrarian crisis is about a much wider rural distress. It's a crisis driven not by drought or natural calamity as Mr Sharad Pawar has said in the Parliament. And he didn't use the word crisis. It's a crisis driven by policy; global, national, local. Ok, why did this happen? It happened because through the reform years, we've been diverting resources, we've been robbing the poor to pay the rich. Now I cover guys who commit suicide because they're not able to get less than 10% interest on Rs 8000 crop loan. I go back to my urban middle-class home in Mumbai where I get an invitation from my bank 'buy a Mercedes Benz, no collateral at 4% interest'. So if you're buying a Mercedes Benz – unproductive expenditure – you pay virtually no interest. If you are the food producers, you're paying two to three times that interest. That's the sheer injustice of it. "

Recognizing that 70 percent of India lives in the rural areas, the Government has failed in its principal responsibility of protecting the lives of farmers whos very lives depend upon the state of the economy in rural areas.

On 19 October 2006, the journalist noted: " Suicides by farmers today are actually a symptom of a much wider crisis in India's farm and agricultural sector," Sainath said, adding that this was the result not of a natural calamity or some accident but a systematic and structured move to shift to corporate farming from small family farming practices as well as mindless deregulation that has ruined the farming community. "You get a picture of India in Vidarbha." http://inhome.rediff.com/money/2006/oct/19bspec.htm
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>HP to import apple, cherry plants </b>
Pioneer News Service | Shimla
The Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Department has decided to import 20,000 apple, cherry, pear and plum plants from the United States worth Rs 1 crore under the Tribal sub-plan category for Lahaul and Kinnaur districts.

This was revealed by Director, State Horticulture Department, C R Sharma, here on Wednesday.

Even last year, the State Government imported 18,000 apple plants and most of the were imported from the US.

However, <b>it is the for the first time pear, cherry and plum trees are being imported</b>.

The formalities for the import have been finalised and the plants are expected to reach the state in March. <b>They will then be taken to the farms in Lahaul and Kinnaur districts and distributed among the growers</b>. 

HindustanTimes.com » India » Story

IIT idea that beeps help for farmers

Chitrangada Choudhury

Mumbai, December 30, 2006

On the evening of November 11, Nashik grape farmer Arun More's cellphone beeped with an SMS from a lab 220 km away at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai. Sent by three-month-old Agrocom Pvt Ltd, the text message predicted unseasonal rain two days later in his village of Pimpalgaon Basant.

And that's exactly what happened. "But since I had prior information, I could spray fungicide accordingly. I managed to save my orchard from the mildew that would have destroyed the crop," says More.

Agrocom is the brainchild of a group of software engineers associated with IIT's Developmental Informatics Laboratory. In 2004, tying up with the state's Krishi Vigyan Kendra, it set up the online portal Almost All Questions Answered (AQAA), getting experts to answer farmer queries from all over Maharashtra, and now other states, usually within 24 hours.

"Our interaction with farmers suggested that there was a need for accurate and timely weather information. Agrocom wants to address that," says its marketing head Shantanu Inamdar. And the SMS service did just that.

This is how it works: Farmers pay a monthly charge of Rs 50, and receive SMSes every three days from Agrocom that predict cloud cover and rain. "We source our information from the state Krishi Vigyan Kendra's Nasik and Pune centres. After farmer feedback in the past weeks, we are working towards providing them temperature and humidity forecasts too," says Inamdar.

The group has notched up 180 subscribers in its first month — mostly grape farmers in Nashik, Sangli, Pune and Aurangabad. It is now looking to reach out to cultivators in Vidarbha and Marathwada, including village panchayats.
MD Anil Bahumani says Agrocom wants to keep subscriber fees lowby relying on "targeted ads related to farmer queries on our website. Something like the ads you see in your Gmail."

More says the SMS service is simple, but valuable. "We could rely on TV's INSAT picture or the internet, but that doesn't work for villages where there are connectivity and electricity problems. Imagine, if Vidarbha farmers had such help, they wouldn't have to deal with the prospect of expensive re-sowing at the start of every season if rains are delayed."

Email Chitrangada Choudhury: chitrangada.choudhury@hindustantimes.com
<b>Eight more Vidarbha farmers commit suicide last 48 hours</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Nagpur, July 17: Farmer suicides remained unabated in Vidarbha region with eight more 'ryots' (peasants) ending their lives during last two days, an NGO said on Tuesday.

The deceased were identified as Bajirao Ingle (Amravati), Vikas Punwatkar (Yavatmal), Waman Dewang (Amravati), Pandurang Ingole (Washim), Shankar Nage (Akola), Eknath Kale (Tavatmal), Janrao Warhade (Amravati), and Suresh Pande (Amravati).

So far, 506 farmers have taken the extreme step since Jan 1 this year with Yavatmal district alone registering a maximum of 133 suicides, president of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, Kishore Tiwari, said in a release. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Too bad, they were Hindu farmers and don't belongs to PM Moron Singh's India Shining and they don't have right on Indian resources.
PM Moron Singh can sleep because these farmers were neither Islamic terrorist of India.
<b>9 farmers commit suicide in last 24 hours</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->When the chief secretary of Maharashtra, Johnny Joseph was claiming in a meeting at Nagpur on Saturday evening that the rate of farmers’ suicide has gone down this year, nine more farmers in Vidarbha region have ended their lives in last 24 hours.

According to reports reaching Nagpur on Sunday, three farmers from neighbouring Chandrapur district and one each from Washim, Wardha, Yavatmal, Gondia, Gadchiroli and Amravati had taken the drastic step. Most of them had committed suicide by swallowing pesticides while one of them ended his life by set afire himself.

The farmers who committed suicide in last 24 hours were identified as : Chindhu Kowe, Daroda (Wardha), Motiram Jamunkar, Raipur (Amravati), Linga Sosade of Pandharsad, Madhav Bode, Gadgaon, Balakdas Bawne of Yergaon (all in Chandrapur district), Yuvraj Bopche, Borgaon( Gondia), Jogiram Lohote, Kitali (Gadchiroli), Devidas Choudhari, Bhoyani( Washim) and Punjaram Shyamrao Kubde of Chondha (Yavatmal).

Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti alleged that these farmers had taken the extreme step because of not getting loans from local banks being defaulters. Moreover, a large number of farmers mainly in Amravati district had to incur extra expenditure as they had to undertake a sowing for the second time after heavy rains washed away their nascent crop, Tiwari said.

He ridiculed the state government and its chief secretary for claiming that the farmers’ suicide was not only due to agrarian crisis. Of over 500 farmers, who had committed suicide in the six-agrarian crisis-hit districts of Vidarbha this year, families of only 85 were eligible for the government compensation.<b> “If these farmers are not committing suicide because of the agrarian crisis, the government should come out the exact reasons for doing so,”</b> he insisted.

The chief secretary Joesph, who came here on Saturday for reviewing the implementation of prime minister’s relief package claimed that the average rate of suicide in 2007 was less as compared to 2006.<b> In 2006, the average rate of suicide was 60 per month while it was less than 15 this year</b>, thanks to the relief packages, Joesph added. However, Tiwari said that hardly 5 per cent of the total money of both the packages only reached directly to the distressed farmers so far.

<b>With the deaths of nine more farmers, the death toll has reached to 528 this year and 51 this month alone.</b> Meanwhile, the Maharashtra unit of AICC has set up a three-member committee, headed by the former legislator, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani to find out the <b>reasons for unrest among the farmers of Shivangaon </b>in Nagpur on acquisition of their land for the proposed MIHAN and SEZ project.

One farm-labourer of Shivangaon even committed suicide this month in protest against the state government move. The Gidwani committee is reaching here on July 29 to interact with the farmers and other concerned authorities. The committee will submit its report to the party within a month
In place of commiting sucide they should join polictics.
This is very sad.
<b>UPA pays dollars to US farmers, Indian kisan perishes</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->New Delhi: Rs 8,500 per tonne for the Indian farmer, and Rs 16,000 per tonne for farmers abroad. The government's decision to import wheat despite a good harvest is leading to growing unrest within the alliance.

The UPA government's decision to import 7.9 lakh tonnes of wheat at 390 dollars per tonne has come in for severe criticism and the UPA is finding itself increasingly isolated over the issue.

Not just the opposition, but it’s own allies too are up in arms against this decision. Brinda Karat has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“We have asked for an inquiry into this decision. Since it has caused an inexplicable loss of Rs 542 crore to the exchequer,” said Karat.

This after canceling tenders for the import of 10 lakh tonnes wheat at a much lower 263 dollars per tonne. Now, the same government is willing to shell out 127 dollars more per tonne.

Compare the rates it offered to it's own farmers—Rs 850 per quintal. And the rate for imports, a whopping Rs 1,600 per quintal.

<b>“You have paid out Rs 1,935 crore to foreign traders for importing 13 plus lakhs of wheat.”

Brinda.... the same money could have been given to indian farmers

The BJP has been demanding a CBI inquiry...

This is a scam. The govt is paying higher prices to farmers abroad than to it's own farmers. There are questions over the quality of the imported wheat,” said BJP MP Sushma Swaraj. </b>

A reform in the existing laws allowed private traders to procure wheat from the Mandis, which led to a shortfall in buffer stocks. But what prevented the government from raising its own procurement price to make it competitive with the private sector?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <b>Shameless loot: BJP </b>
Special Correspondent
<i>Reason cited for cancelling the first tender questioned </i>
<b>Order CBI investigation, </b>
says Javadekar
“Prime Minister should explain”
NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday described the Government’s decision to import wheat yet another time at a price of $390 a tonne as “shameless loot.”

<b>Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the Government rejected an offer of wheat at $263 a tonne in June. Ten days later, it imported 5.7 lakh tonnes at $325 a tonne. While it is yet to arrive, another order for nearly 8 lakh tonnes has been placed at the rate of $390 a tonne. “This is daylight robbery,” Mr. Javadekar said.

Calling for the Prime Minister’s intervention to “stop the fraud,” he said the party was not impressed by the Government’s “reason” for cancelling the first tender. It was stated that the price of $263 a tonne was “too high” and there was an expectation that the international wheat price would “soften” on new arrivals.</b>

Mr. Javadekar said the government should order a CBI inquiry. If not, vigilance agencies and courts should take suo motu notice of the issue and stop the imports.

While Indian farmers were being paid Rs. 850 a quintal by government agencies procuring wheat for buffer stock, foreign farmers were offered Rs. 1,600 a quintal. Had the minimum support price announced by the Government been Rs. 1,100 a quintal, the State could have met its procurement target for the buffer stock as production was more than last year’s by 50 lakh tonnes.

“The Prime Minister should explain how the import would help stabilise the price line while doing justice to farmers,” Mr. Javadekar said. The BJP has launched an agitation on the “wheat scam” and would spread the “message of betrayal” all over the country, he added.
Congress condemns Maharashtra CM's 'anti-farmer' remarks
Yeah, a relief. Who-hoo.. <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Came across some good numbers on web by an Indian blogger:
Farmers and Numbers: Part III

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->January 28, 2008                   
National Council Meeting
Vijay Sankalp Parisar (Ramlila Maidan)
New Delhi – January 28-29, 2008

Resolution on Crisis in Agriculture Sector

The BJP is of the firm belief that the country's economic development can succeed only if agriculture is made vibrant, if the purchasing power of the farmer and the agriculture workers is substantially augmented, if more employment opportunities are created in rural India and by improving the overall living conditions of entire rural India. The NDA government, through numerous initiatives, tireless worked to improve the condition of the agricultural sector as well as rural India. Under the Congress led UPA government, many of these initiatives have unfortunately either been kept in cold storage or are being implemented at an extremely slow pace.

The fundamental cause of the deterioration of the rural economy is because of the poor performance of the agriculture sector. The low growth in agriculture per capita income and increasing disparity between the per capita farm and non farm incomes has been caused by the slow growth of agricultural and rural output as compared to other sectors of the economy. The disparity would further worsen unless there is a major shift in our policies and the farmer is brought to the centre stage of all our planning exercises.

Plight of the Farmers

On account of the wrong policies of successive Congress governments over the past five decades and particularly during the tenure of the present UPA government, the agriculture sector today has been engulfed by an unprecedented crisis. Thousands of farmers are regularly committing suicide or are being forced to resort to taking this ultimate step. These suicides, by the farmers across various parts of the country, clearly reflect the abysmal apathy of the central government towards addressing all core and burning issues related to agriculture.

Even the Union Agriculture Minister has said that there is a serious threat to the food security of the country. The country's Finance Minister has also admitted that there is stagnation in the growth of main crops, particularly food grains and cereals.

The Congress led UPA, which made farmers a major election issue in 2004 has miserably failed to address all the challenges confronting the agricultural sector. Some of the glaring examples that highlight the central government's apathy include failure to implement farm income insurance scheme, expansion of rural godown and cold storage chain, decline in the number of farmers getting agriculture credit through banks, failure in providing electricity to the farmers, tardy implementation of crop insurance, kisan credit card scheme and PMGSY and not announcing a realistic Minimum Support Price (MSP). Today the prices of virtually every agriculture input has risen substantially where as the prices of most of the agriculture produces have remained either stagnant or even depressed in real terms on account of rising inflation.

The careless attitude of the Government in not procuring enough food grains in the domestic market and thereafter importing wheat at double the price has further worsened the situation. Paying Rs.800 to the Indian farmer and Rs.1600 to the American and Australian farmers can be considered as the hallmark of the Congress led UPA government's attitude towards the domestic farmer and agricultural sector.

The so-called Rs. 25000 crore farm sector programme for increasing production and productivity has not taken off. The Prime Minister's declaration of doubling the food grain production from 200 million tonnes to 420 million tonnes within ten years i.e. by 2015, is also a non starter. Same is the case with regard to the national goal to raise the production of vegetables and fruits to over 300 million tonnes by the year 2015. As the total available land is shrinking, the only path for achieving the goal of higher productivity has to be on the basis of per unit arable land and irrigation water. No steps have been taken in that direction.

The World Development Report clearly says that to reduce poverty and hunger, the growth of the agricultural sector is the only solution. Higher costs of production without a corresponding increase in prices, is seriously impacting the overall viability of undertaking farming. This also explains why the per capita production of food grain is going down. As a result of these factors, agriculture scientists are saying that it is high time that we urgently start taking corrective steps on a war footing otherwise the agricultural sector will totally collapse and the country's food security will be jeopardized.

Mismatch Between the Market Price and MSP:

In the recent years, one finds a complete mismatch between the actual cost of production and the MSP declared by the government and also between the MSP and the prevailing market prices. Some of the disturbing trends inflicting the agrarian scene in India include declining capital formation, reduction in public investment as well as share of agriculture in the total GDP, the adverse terms of trade, and falling return to cost ratios. In addition to this, the rising trend of inflation which is being witnessed in our country coupled with a lower growth rate in agriculture juxtaposed with the higher market prices that we pay for agricultural produce are also important factors that are contributing towards further exacerbating the dismal condition of the agricultural sector. These factors create a sense of alienation among the farmers and rural poor that they are being excluded from the benefits of development. The forceful acquisition of fertile and irrigated land for SEZs further aggravates this problem and sense of dismay.

Despite the situation calling for urgent correctives to be taken, one does not find evidence of any timely and adequate steps being taken. The Government of India seems to be unconcerned and unmoved and it is adopting a piecemeal approach rather than addressing the issue in a comprehensive manner. Relief measures and packages that have been announced on many occasions have unfortunately remained confined only to papers. Mere words without matching deeds will neither improve agricultural growth nor solve the severe problems afflicting the sector and Indian farmer.

Loan Remission and Agri Risk Fund

The BJP feels it is high time for serious introspection and for initiating urgent correctives on a war footing. The BJP demands that the government should immediately declare a detailed policy of 'Loan Remission' for all farmers including the distressed in view of the all pervasive and unprecedented agrarian crisis which has only been further accentuated on account of the wrong policies of the present UPA government. The BJP also demands that loans upto Rs.50,000, including both the principle and interest, should be written off. The party feels that this measure is possible in view of the substantial rise in the government revenues and being sensitive to the need of providing relief to the largest segment of our population, the farmer, who has tirelessly toiled to literally provide food for the entire nation.

Migration of Private Loans:

The BJP also suggests that the Government should come out with a scheme allowing the farmer to migrate his loans from private financial agencies to public finance institutions including banks so as to relieve them of the heavy interest burden. This is even more important in view of the fact that various studies reveal that public institutions are catering to the credit needs of only 30% farmers, even though the government is making tall claims that institutional credit has doubled during its tenure. However, studies reveal that the number of farmers being provided with credit by the banking sector has actually gone down. This suggestion is in the backdrop of the universal opinion that one of the main reasons for suicides by farmers is increasing debt burden because of higher interest rates.

The recent study states that in Maharashtra, over 55% of the state's farm households are in debt. Farmers suicides are not only persisting but also tending to increase and spread over a wider area. The Government of India should create an Agri Risk Fund to provide relief to the farmer in case of droughts, floods, failure of crops and heavy pest damage etc. It should also cover the other farming population who depend on animal husbandry, dairy, poultry, fishing, horticulture, agro forestry and agro processing. Crop income insurance should be made farmer friendly and mandatory to all the states.

Imports - Detrimental in the Long Run

The Union Agriculture Minister has warned of a crisis in the agriculture sector since food and farm sector productivity has not increased. He has also admitted that wheat imported from Hungary, Ukraine and other European countries comprises red colored grain, a category not liked in India. He has further stated that if we need to import rice, it is available only in Vietnam and Thailand and has said that the production in these countries is also decreasing.

All these facts clearly indicate towards the need to immediately increase the production of rice. However, despite the similarity in production and higher input costs, the government is still unwilling to fulfill the legitimate demand of the farmers to raise the MSP of paddy to Rs.1000 per quintal at par with wheat.

Moreover, there are serious charges that the wheat being imported is of substandard quality and the state after the state across the country are refusing to use these stocks under the PDS. It is truly shameful that we are also importing pulses from Myanmar, Turkey and Tanzania. Duty free imports are no solution. If the problems affecting the domestic agricultural sector are not immediately remedied, such short term initiatives will prove to be disastrous for the entire farming community all over the country.

Land Use & Acquisition: Outdated Act, Amendments Needed

Land has always been a very important resource for the people of India. Land has provided the basic means of survival for the rural mass. As the basis of all economic activity, land can either serve as an essential asset for a country to achieve economic growth and social equity, or it can be used as a tool in the hands of a few to hijack a country's economic independence.

Over the past few years, fertile agricultural land has become more a matter of housing, investment, and infrastructure building and land as a basis of livelihood—for subsistence, survival, social justice, and human dignity—has largely been lost. This can also be related to some evident signs of aggression and depression being witnessed amongst the rural masses and also with the decline in food production.

The BJP is of the view that the Land Acquisition Act 1894, which is being misused by governments, has become a nightmare for the farmers in view of the mindless acquisitions of agricultural and fertile land in the name of public purpose. This Act is out dated and needs to be amended. Forcible acquisition of fertile land by the government is leading to anarchic situations in various parts of the country and causing widespread discontent among the concerned farmers. Nandigram is the latest and most glaring incident of this process.

Land is a performing asset. Therefore, agricultural and fertile land acquired by the government, even for public purpose, must also be followed up by a proper rehabilitation policy that works on the principle of creating a sort of permanent asset in place of another permanent asset. This can be achieved by ensuring some participation of the land owner in the equity of the new asset as a share holder.

The BJP feels that the Act should be amended to ensure that the government does not acquire fertile irrigated land arbitrarily for private companies and it should serve the public purpose and opines there is every need to define as to what constitutes the 'public purpose' under which the government is authorized to acquire the agricultural land from the farmers. The government should acquire land for private companies only in exceptional circumstances and in such cases also the farmer should be given the prevailing market price and it should be an obligation of the company to make him share holder in the development process.

The BJP urges the central government to immediately wake from its deep slumber and take urgent corrective steps on six important issues concerning the agricultural sector in general and farmers in particular:

1. Increase the quantum of public investment in agriculture and mandate banks to earmark 30% of their total loans for credit to the agriculture sector. The central government should take immediate steps to see that the farmers be given loans at not more than 4% interest for agriculture and allied activities. Allow the farmer to migrate his private loans to the banks.

2. The centre should immediately announce loan remission policy and write off loans upto Rs.50,000 as one time measure. Create an Agri Risk Fund.

3. Amend the present Land Acquisition Act in consultation with all the states. As a general rule, the government should not acquire fertile, irrigated agriculture land for private sector and even for public sector without exhausting the option to acquire non agriculture land.

4. Implement the recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers and assure the farmer of actual cost of production plus 50% over and above this cost as the MSP for his produce. The MSP for paddy should also be raised to Rs.1000 per quintal.

5. Make crop income insurance farmer friendly and mandatory for all the States.

6. The Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes) should be given forest land pattas, instead of giving them Adhikari Patra, to enable them to have ownership right and avail credit from banks and other financial institutions.

The BJP warns that if timely steps are not taken, agriculture in India will be doomed and the Congress led UPA government will be solely responsible for ruining the country's agriculture economy which could also lead to serious long term social unrest.
The party will be coming out with a detailed document on its approach to agriculture and land use policy.

Bird Flu Menace: Inaction in containing it

The government seems not to have learnt any lessons over the incidence of Bird Flu. The West Bengal government needs to be castigated for the callous manner in which it has acted in detecting and containing bird flu, which has already caused heavy damage to the poultry farmers in the state. Even as the disease spread from across the border, and it was reported on 4th January, the government literally slept on the issue until 11th January.

As a fear psychosis about the disease prevails across the country, the government needs to take urgent steps to contain the disease from spreading to other parts. It also needs to caution people about not getting carried away by rumours, restore confidence in poultry product consumers and enable the poultry sector to recover from the present crisis.


<b>Package To Address Indebtedness Of Farmers Soon: PM</b>
Source : Punjab Mail Online
February 15, 2008

New Delhi : The government will soon come out with a package to address the indebtedness of farmers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today.

"We are looking into the credit needs of farmers. We cannot have a situation, where 80 per cent of this sector is outside the formal financial system and suffers from excessive indebtedness. We are trying to resolve this problem. I hope this would be done soon," he said at industry chamber Ficci's AGM here.

Pointing out that the share of agriculture in the GDP has been declining, Singh said: "We cannot minimise the importance of this sector, for our economy and our polity." Agriculture is important, he said, because it supports a significant portion of the country's population and also acts as a social safety net.

The government had earlier convened a special meeting of the National Development Council on Agriculture and has announced two agriculture programmes envisaging an expenditure of Rs 35,000 crore during the 11th five year plan.

"We are looking at ways of having a quantum jump in investment in irrigation," the Prime Minister said, adding that the allocation for agriculture and irrigation has been trebled in the 11th plan as compared to the previous plan.

The decision of the government to substantially increase the minimum support price of wheat and rice, he said, "demonstrates our commitment to reversing the unfortunate trend we saw between the mid 1990s and the mid-2000s of decline in investment in agriculture and a shift of the terms of trade away from agriculture."

These initiatives, he hoped, would push up the agriculture growth rate to four per cent in the coming years. According to CSO estimates, farm sector will grow at a sluggish rate of 2.6 per cent this fiscal against 3.8 per cent last fiscal.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Package To Address Indebtedness Of Farmers Soon: PM
About 2 years ago PM came to Maharashtra and made grandiose promises. The affected farmers have yet to see any relief. Meanwhile the project on new airport in Vidharba region for Madame President's been kicked off and the Agriculture minister's (who's coincidently from Maharashtra) is raking record profits from his full time moon lighting job as BCCI head honcho.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Came across some good numbers on web by an Indian blogger:
Farmers and Numbers: Part III<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Farmers and Numbers: Part IV
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->To recap our farmer suicide related coverage so far, the salient takeaway points are:

Media interest in farmer suicide peaked during the NDA regime, although farmer suicides were happening at an alarming rate for at least a decade prior to that.

During the intense media frenzy surrounding farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh (Chandra Babu's time), the media was totally ignoring neighboring Karnataka, which would later beat the Nadu stats about 2:1.

There was another mini peak in media interest during the early part of 2007 when the PM relief package was announced. The package didn't work as well as expected. An exasperated Vilas Rao Deshmukh (Maharashtra CM), called the farmers - lazy.

It looks like Vidarbha is well on its way to break all previous records. Also, Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy, the current CM of Andhra Pradesh is all set to give Chandra Babu Naidu an innings defeat (more suicides in one term than two terms of Naidu combined).

Farmer suicides haven't made it to a lead story on the secular media since the Gujarat elections. Presumably there are other important news to cover.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Recently A captain of the industry posed a question "What are the three ways technology can reduce the growing rural-urban divide in India"

The solution is

1) High Connectivity,

2) Renewable energy for Power,

3) Multiple economic opportunities for income generation

1) The Private Service providers can look at the vast unexplored market of rural India for connectivity .Reliance is the only company that has reached the corridor. But tremendous effort is required to bring telecommunication facility to the remotest area with internet technology and other related IT enabled technologies for bandwidth like VPN that can be easily installed. This will enable the gap in information flow and knowledge to be bridged. E governance systems that will bring about transparency and eradicate the exploitation of the simple minded rural folks

2) The rural sectors can be self sufficient in power supply by tapping renewable energy in Bio mass, Solar and gas fired digestors that can completely lessen the dependence on the urban supply. Since the rural sector is rich in natural resources this can be made easily adaptable on large scale.

3) Employment opportunity can be made galore by tele networking business and employment facility. This however requires public - private partnership in a proactive way. Rural BPO has caught up in Tamil Nadu with IIT Madras spinning several novel successful ventures under the leadership of Prof Junjunwala . This can be a role model for the entire country. Other than this we have Quality education systems from companies like TUTORVISTA which is an online education portal can be extended to the rural masses as well and make them more confident in their career profile .This again has double benefit. It gives quality support as well as generates quality employment options. Sitting at home or at regional centers people can apart from their traditional occupation work thro the telenetworking projects and increase their per capita income by selling their services and products online. A related success story is already there in e-Chaupal of ITC. Technology development Hubs can be set up in rural places that can retain good talents from the rural masses as well as overcome their attrition problem. A novel example is TITAN Watch making factory at Hosur .They were responsible for the development of a whole set of generation from the surrounding rural areas and contributed in building a talent pool with precision delivery systems with especially the women population. Bio technology can be used to promote contract farming and give a consistent revenue base for sustaining besides the traditional income .Agri business can bring sweeping changes if followed on the traditional organic methodology.A NGO named Development Alternatives has been using GIS spatial mapping for locating wet areas and ground water levels for building watershed management systems in rural arid areas that has changed the way cultivation is being done.

With numerous employment options and good income choice available via technology applications there is no reason for the rural mass to migrate to the urban centers and this will bring a holistic and healthy development between the urban and rural growth reducing the divide considerably.

Kishor Jagirdar : kishorjagirdar@gmail.com
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>20% of Rs 60,000 cr for AP farmers </b>
Omer Farooq | Hyderabad
Andhra Pradesh is one of the major beneficiaries of the loan waiver scheme announced by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Chief Minister YSR Reddy said that 20 per cent of the Rs 60,000 crore package for farmers will come to the State.

Addressing a gathering of farmers at his camp office in Hyderabad on Saturday, the Chief Minister said of the four crore farmers benefiting from the loan waiver, 55 lakh were in Andhra Pradesh. "The State is a major beneficiary of this step", he said.

Interestingly, before the Budget, Reddy had not supported the idea of debt waiver but wanted the Centre to provide input subsidy to the farmer as it would have benefited a larger number of farmers. But faced with the unexpected waiver, the Chief Minister changed his tone and joined the celebrations.

The Chief Minister was offered sweets by Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy who called him a "farmer" and appreciated his pro-farmer stand.

But Opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu claimed the loan waiver to be a partial victory of his United National Progressive Alliance comprising several regional parties. Reacting to the loan waiver for farmers, Naidu said that he was not fully satisfied with it because the UNPA was demanding and campaigning for the loan waiver for all the farmers which could have come to Rs 1,50,000 crore. Anyhow, he said, the Centre was forced to take the decision by the relentless campaign of UNPA which held rallies of farmers all over the country and built pressure.

He said the Rs 60,000 crore waiver package will benefit only a section of farmers and a big chunk of them will be left out. He alleged that the Centre had ignored the fact that 1.5 lakh farmers had committed suicide in the country during the last three years of UPA rule
Article from MS Swaminathan in Hindu.

Ending the debt trap & attaining food security

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Ending the debt trap & attaining food security </b>

M.S. Swaminathan
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s initiative is a major step in recognising the country’s debt to farm families but much more needs to be done.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s budget 2008-09 has aroused widespread interest in methods of saving our small and marginal farming families from indebtedness and acute economic distress, which lead to occasional suicides. <b>The steps proposed in the budget will give relief to nearly four crore farmers, at an estimated outlay of Rs.60,000 crore.</b> As stressed by Mr. Chidambaram, this is a major step in recognising the indebtedness of the country to farm families who, th rough their toil in sun and rain, are safeguarding national food security and sovereignty. <b>The question arises whether this step will mark the end of farmers’ dependence on moneylenders and traders for their credit needs.</b> Some of the following issues need consideration:

First, <b>the definition of small and marginal farmers</b> has to be different for irrigated and dry farming areas. The present definition classifies marginal farmers as those owning up to 1 hectare and small farmers as those owning 1-2 hectares. Farmers cultivating crops in rainfed, arid, and semi-arid areas may own 4-5 hectares but their income is uncertain and their agricultural destiny is bound closely to the behaviour of the monsoon. A large number of farming families affected by the agrarian crisis in Vidharbha fall under this category. They will not be eligible for debt waiver and debt relief under the present scheme.

A second problem relates to the <b>source from which loans have been taken</b>. The programme announced in the budget covers farmers who have taken loans from scheduled commercial banks, regional rural banks, and cooperative credit institutions. It does not cover farmers indebted to moneylenders and traders. <b>According to the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), 48.6 per cent of the farm households surveyed were indebted; of these 61 per cent had operational holdings below 1 hectare. Of the total outstanding debt, 41.6 per cent was taken for purposes other than farm-related activities, such as healthcare and domestic needs; 57.7 per cent of the outstanding amount was sourced from institutional channels and 42.3 per cent from moneylenders, traders, relatives, and friends.</b>

It has been estimated that in 2003,<b> non-institutional debt accounted for Rs.48,000 crore; and out of this, Rs.18,000 crore was at an interest of 30 per cent per annum or more (NSSO 59th Round cited by the Economic Survey 2007-08).</b> The Expert Group on Agriculture Indebtedness chaired by Professor R. Radhakrishna has recommended, in its report of July 2007, the inclusion of the financially excluded, particularly the small borrower households, and the adoption of risk-mitigating measures for agriculture. The concept of financial inclusion is in its early stages of operationalisation.

Loan waiver is the price we have to pay for the neglect of rural India during the past several decades, as reflected in a gradual decline in investment in key sectors like irrigation, post-harvest technology (even today, farmers dry the harvested paddy on roads), market, and communication. The four crore farmers who are to be relieved of their debt burden before the end of June 2008 will become eligible once again for institutional credit for their cultivation expenses during kharif 2008. <b>The challenge now is to prevent them from getting into the debt trap again.</b>

For this purpose, both Central and State governments should set up immediately an Indebted Farmers’ Support Consortium at the district level. This should comprise farm scientists, panchayati raj leaders, input supply agencies, representatives of relevant government departments and financial institutions, rural and women’s universities and home science colleges, private sector and media representatives, and others relevant <b>to assisting the farmers relieved of their past debt in improving the productivity and profitability of their farms in an environmentally sustainable manner. This is essential for enabling them to have a higher marketable surplus and thereby more cash income. The smaller the farm, the greater is the need for marketable surplus to avoid indebtedness.</b>

Such an <b>Indebted Farmers’ Support Consortium </b>should get the four crore farmers the benefits of <b>all the government schemes such as the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, the National Food Security Mission, the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, the National Horticulture Mission, Rural Godown and Warehousing Schemes, and the National Rural Health Mission.</b> If this is done, every farm family released from the debt trap should be able to produce at least an additional half tonne per hectare of food grains or other farm produce. <b>This should help increase food production by about 20 million tonnes during 2008-10</b>. At a time when global and national food stocks are dwindling and prices are rising, this will be an extremely timely gain for our national food and nutrition security system and for the control of inflation. We should ensure that the outcome of debt waiver is enhanced farmers’ income and production.

<b>The prevailing gap between potential and actual yields in the crops of rainfed areas such as jowar, bajra, millets, pulses, and oilseeds is over 200 per cent even with the technologies on the shelf.</b> The restarting of the agricultural career of four crore resource-poor farmers through loan waiver could mark a new dawn in both agrarian prosperity and national food sovereignty — provided such farmers are supported with synergetic packages of technology, services, marketing infrastructure, and public policies related to input and output pricing. <b>The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices recommends Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for 24 crops. Unfortunately, the MSP is generally available only for wheat and rice.</b> State governments in partnership with financial institutions and the private sector should set up effective Market Intervention Funds, to help small and marginal farmers avoid selling their produce at the time of harvest at below-MSP prices.

<b>Ultimately, it is only opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing that can help to end agrarian despair and distress. We are now importing without duty large quantities of pulses and oilseeds. If helped appropriately, the four crore farmers will produce them at lower cost. </b>Attention to small farmer-oriented marketing is essential, if loan waiver is not to become a recurring event leading to the destruction of the credit system. <b>This is why MSP should be implemented for all the 24 crops, particularly the crops of dry farming areas. Remunerative price for farm produce is the single most effective step to make loan waiver history.</b>

As mentioned earlier, there are two other urgent steps needed to consolidate the gains from the loan waiver and Debt Relief Initiative. <b>First, the definition of small and marginal farmers will have to be modified in the case of rainfed and semi-arid and arid zone farming. In my view, a small farmer in areas without assured irrigation facility should be defined as one with 4 hectares of land and a marginal farmer as one with 2 hectares. In the arid zone of Rajasthan, small and marginal farmers can be those owning 8 and 4 hectares respectively. Such distinctions exist in the case of laws relating to the ceiling on the size of land holdings. A uniform definition covering irrigated and unirrigated areas is against the principle of equity.</b>

A second urgent step relates to providing assistance to those who have taken loans from moneylenders and traders. The 2008 budget does not offer a solution to releasing them also from the debt trap and thereby unleashing their farming spirit. <b>Obviously, it will not be possible for the government to scrutinise the veracity of private deals, but steps can be taken by State governments in partnership with the private sector to help them also to restart their agricultural life.</b> This can be done by giving them Smart Cards that will entitle them to essential inputs like seeds and fertilizers. The gram sabha can be entrusted with the task of identifying such farmers, so that there is transparency in the identification process and thereby elimination of chances for falsification and corruption. <b>Fear of occasional misuse should not come in the way of enabling millions of resource-poor farmers, who have borrowed from informal sources, to also contribute to enhancing farm output and achieving the goal of 4 per cent growth in agriculture.</b>

Thus this bold and much-needed initiative can help to launch an evergreen revolution in agriculture if steps are taken immediately to establish at the district level an Indebted Farmers’ Support Consortium; redefine the concept of small and marginal farmers in the case of dry farming and desert areas; and develop an administratively feasible approach to assisting farmers who are push-outs of the formal farm credit system to obtain essential inputs. <b>Also, the benefits of the Rural Health Mission and all other entitlements should be extended to the farm households in distress, since borrowing for healthcare is widespread.</b>

Finally, the pathways to our agricultural renaissance and sustainable food and nutrition security are discussed and defined in detail in the five reports of the National Commission on Farmers (2004-06) and in the National Policy for Farmers (2007). The sooner they are acted upon in a holistic manner, the greater will be the possibility of avoiding the recurrence of the era of farmers’ suicides and loan waivers. With the extension of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) to all 596 rural districts, the demand for food grains will go up.

<b>There is now widespread malnutrition and under-nutrition in the country, particularly among women and children.</b> Nearly two-thirds of the income of the poor is spent on food and the purchasing power enhancement conferred by NREGS would help to raise food consumption. Loan waiver and NREGS could make the largest contribution to the eradication of under-nutrition, provided linkages are established among all relevant programmes. <b>The present situation of having to interfere with the formal credit system should be converted into an opportunity for the elimination of endemic hunger through both higher food production and the operation of a Universal Public Distribution System.</b>

(Professor M.S. Swaminathan, M.P., chairman of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, chaired the National Commission on Farmers, 2004-2006.)
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo--> Thought for food
Shankkar Aiyar
April 24, 2008
You only need to look at the booming oil economies to realise that rising prices also have an upside. The global food crisis is an opportunity for India. The arithmetic is simple. Over 670 million people live off the rural economy.

Agriculture accounts for about 19 per cent of the $1 trillion economy, or $200 billion, which means nearly two-thirds of the populace lives off a fifth of the income. Rising food prices offer India the chance to raise the income levels of its worst off.

The first step in this would be to stop confusing the interest of consumers with that of farmers. Yes, consumers—particularly the poor—need a stable price regime.

The answer is to fix the public distribution system. Political parties are competing in a race downhill on offering grains at Rs 2 per kg. Fact is the Antyodaya programme is supposed to do just that but doesn’t. Next, fix the problem of wastage.

Over Rs 59,000 crore worth of produce rots in the fields. Politicians must realise that waste not only erodes income levels but also fuels inflation. Solution: a supply chain management that will cut middlemen and deliver more to both farmers and consumers.

So much for tactics to manage prices. Long-term growth strategy requires the Government to dismantle the current subsidy system. Long-term demand-led production cycles will ensure offtake.

Infusion of technology inputs through the mass media (even a farmers’ channel) will bring market economics to farms. Translated: focus on contract farming to improve output and incomes.

That, though, will not be enough to feed 18 million Indians who join the food queue every year. We need the “vision-thing”. With finite land and growing demand for food, India will have to invest in farm land overseas—it could be South America, it could be Africa.

As with equity oil where oil companies have invested over $5 billion the world over, we need to look at augmenting supply. The $300 billion reserves could fund the seed capital. Like in exports, it could be incentivised with tax breaks.

It will generate an alternate source for food and trigger demand for Indian skills. Remember, the Chinese are already on to this, in Brazil and Kenya. Call it agriimperialism but the writing is on the wall.

The old book says, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”. If India’s politicians fail to see the reality of scarcity and sow empty rhetoric they will only reap rebellion.

They would do well to remember that morals are but based on sound economics.
<b>46 farmers commit suicide every day in India; Maha tops list</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Fourty-six farmers commit suicide every day in this country even as packages were rolled out in a bid to bailout the debt-ridden community from crisis.

A whopping 16,632 cases of suicides by farmers, including 2,369 women were reported across the country last year with Maharashtra retaining the dubious distinction of having the largest number of such incidents despite a slump in figures.

Farmers' suicide constituted 14.4 per cent of the total 1,22,637 suicides in the country in 2007, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said in its latest report the Accidental Deaths and Suicide Report -- 2007'.

In 2006, the figures were 17,060 and since 1997 there were 1,82,936 cases of farmers' suicide in the country.

In a grim reminder of the appalling conditions of the farmers in this agriculture dominated country, the NCRB said besides Maharashtra, six other states have recorded over 1,000 cases of farmers' suicides each in 2007.

Maharashtra, where the Central Government pitched in with a special package, reported 4,238 suicides last year, a decline of 215 from 2006, it said.

<b>Karnataka (2,135), Andhra Pradesh (1,797), Chhattisgarh (1,593), Madhya Pradesh (1,263), Kerala (1,263) and West Bengal (1,102) followed Maharashtra in the list.</b>

These states were in the top-seven list in 2006 too.

While <b>Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh </b>showed a decline in the number of farmers' suicide last year compared to 2006, such cases witnessed an increase in <b>Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal</b>

Why more farmers are dying in human loving government rule ? I mean commies of India ?
All BJP ruled states are showing improvement.
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:blue'>The largest Refugee crisis from Agriculture Part -1</span></span>

It’s now official that the northern parts of India this year will witness a failed monsoon. The granary of India comprises of Punjab and its surrounding state of Harayana as well.
The farmers are already in despair as this would mean that they would be pushed into further debts and multitude of other problems like drinking water and going to bed on an empty stomach for one full year. They are heavily dependent on the Khariff crops sown this time of the year.

The change in rainfall pattern due to the El Nino effect and erratic showers are virtually driving the farming community in the India to look for other occupational alternatives.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the root causes

a) <b>Rapid Urbanization:</b> With cities growing randomly as a result of the globalization effect we find that lots of lucrative jobs available that are more enticing and gratifying than the returns from agriculture

b)<b> The Real Estate: </b>as cities expand rapidly the value for land is reaching the skies and the farmers are attracted to the prospects of get rich fast attitude and rid themselves of the poverty .Most of the farmers who sold their lands on the persuasion of agents have ended up as menial laborers cleaning drains and construction workers so similar to the Bimal Roy’s movie “Do bigha jameen” in 1950s

c) <b>The ground water levels :</b> is decreasing as irresponsible drilling and usage has resulted in water depths which were available at 75 ft is now not visible even at the depth of 400 ft.

d) <b>Fertilizers:</b> In the last green revolution of the 1960s the people were persuaded to use fertilizers which are petrochemical derivatives. The prolonged exposure of the soil all these years have rendered most fertile areas uncultivable with the top soil being completely destroyed and degraded.

e) <b>The Green revolution technologies:</b> marked a paradigm shift in farming practices. The technologies were supported by the government policies, advocating the use of agro chemicals, hybrid and genetically modified GM seeds, mechanization and irrigation. This required heavy investment and therefore large cash requirements. Initially it gave the
farming community the feeling that it have brought prosperity .Though it helped create a sense of food sovereignty it didn’t bring food security at individual level as the produce were more oriented for external markets and not internal demands. Gradually in the absence of a proper price control for their produce sadly today instead of prosperity the farmers are trapped under the burden of debts

Farming has now slowly become unsustainable as the cost of cultivation is increasing but the returns are diminishing

This is forcing farming community to either to take the extreme step of mass suicides or reduce themselves into menial laborers in cities falling below poverty line.

As per the survey by NSSO in 2006 40% of the farming community wants to quit farming and move to alternate occupations.

<b>80,000 farmers are quitting farming and moving into cities every year. This includes farmers with land holding and landless laborers

The combined population of UK, France and Germany is 200 million. The World Bank had therefore estimated that some 400 million people would be willingly or unwillingly moving from the rural to urban centers by 2015.

Subsequent studies have shown that massive distress migration will result in the years to come. For instance, 70 per cent of Tamil Nadu, 65 per cent of Punjab, and nearly 55 per cent of Uttar Pradesh is expected to migrate to urban centers by the year 2020 </b>
We have reached the point of disaster and now there is no room for skeptism or criticism we need to act now.

India is poised to become an economic superpower and we have invested so much in our image building as well as our cities .Any metro today is no less than an America in India. Our Bollywood movies are speaking of Indians having attained the affluent status with the NRI life styles. We spend millions of USD on show Biz and fancy infrastructure for our IT /BT companies. Splurge money at super markets and malls

None of us thinking as to where the food comes from and what will happen to us in the coming years with the burgeoning population demanding more and more food while our farmers die on the streets.

We are on the verge of triggering a refugee crisis that could be the largest in our history during peace time.

<b>These 400 million displaced will constitute the new class of migrants – agricultural refugees. Twice the number of people that are expected to be displaced by global warming worldwide are alone be pushed out of agriculture in India</b>
In an interview with TNS, Preneet Kaur, said the Mongolian offer had come about during her recent trip to that country. She said the Mongolian government envisaged using Punjab farmers to cultivate land during the six-month summer spell.

The minister said the government proposed opening up a strip of land suitable for sowing of wheat and other seasonal crops to Punjab farmers. She said a company was likely to be formed to facilitate the movement of farmers to and from Punjab.

Preneet said, “Ethiopia also wants Punjab farmers and I feel Ukraine will also welcome Punjab farmers”. She said she would take up this issue during her visit to Ukraine shortly.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Groundwater levels in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi are falling dramatically — by one foot a year — a trend that could lead to “extensive socio-economic stresses” for the region’s 114 million residents, says a scientific paper based on National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s satellite imagery.

A staggering 109 cubic km of groundwater has been lost in just six years (2002 to 2008) — a figure twice the capacity of India’s largest surface reservoir Upper Wainganga and “much more” than the government’s estimation, says the paper published in the latest issue of the international journal Nature.


Between August 2002 and October 2008, the region lost 109 cubic km of groundwater, almost triple the capacity of the largest man-made reservoir in the United States, Lake Mead.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)