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"Farmers Protection Act"?
Digital rural marketing covering 6000 villages

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It began with 6 eChoupals in June 2000 to prove the idea. ITC says it now has 1200 such kiosks covering 6000 villages mainly in UP, MP, AP and Karnataka. Thrusts into Kerala, Bengal, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are planned. Each eChoupal --which is a desktop with Internet access, really-- costs between Rs.1-3 lakhs to set up. Through the network ITC buys from villages as well as sell to them. It also claims to offer the best 'gate prices' for all products bought for re-marketing. From Kerala it expects to buy spices, from Maharashtra horticultural produce, from Bengal aquaculture products and Rajasthan wheat and oil-seed. In turn, eChoupals sell branded oil, salt, flour --and insurance products!

ITC's agribusiness is Rs.1000 crores and expected to grow 60% this year. How much of that will be put through eChouplals is not clear, but the growth in the numbers and future plans would indicate that the initiative has been a success. ITC Chairman Y C Deveshwar says eChoupals will arrive in 100,000 villages within a decade.

<b>Information technology tends to squeeze out middle men. Farmers long squeezed by them will like that.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Fresh turn to farmer suicides

New Delhi, April 26: Contrary to popular belief, several farmers who committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh over the last few years belong to upper castes, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has informed the Lok Sabha.

A survey in Medak, Anantpur and Prakasam districts by the National Institute of Agriculture Management showed that 51 per cent of the farmers who committed suicide belong to upper castes, 28 per cent to backward castes, 15 per cent to scheduled castes and 7 per cent to scheduled tribes, Pawar told the Lower House yesterday.

The minister was replying to a discussion on demands for grants to the agriculture ministry.

More than 4,000 farmers had committed suicide in Andhra in the last three years of the Telugu Desam Party regime and in the first year of the Congress rule.

Pawar said he would soon convene a meeting of chief ministers to discuss measures to improve the situation of farmers across the country.

The survey revealed that 80 per cent of the farmers who committed suicide belonged to the 21-50 age group. Fifty per cent of the victims were illiterates and 76 per cent depended on the monsoon for irrigation.

The major causes for the suicides include debt, lack of irrigation facility and drought, asserted the minister.

Pawar said cooperative banks had said they could not reduce interest rates on loans in the agriculture sector below 9 per cent for the next couple of years, though private banks were agreeable to the suggestion.

He also assured the Lok Sabha that he would do away with the law prevailing in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana under which a farmer who defaults in repayment of loan is sent to jail.

Many industrialists default in repayment of loans but nobody is arrested or jailed, said Pawar. “This (the arrest of farmers) is very shameful. We need to respect our farmers. I will take up the matter with the state governments concerned,” he said.

Pawar said the Centre would soon bring the Agriculture Produce Marketing Act to help farmers get better remunerative prices for their produce in private and public mandis. “This will help farmers as currently middlemen buy their goods at their own prices and, thus, deprive farmers of getting a good price.”

The minister said the aquaculture bill will be brought next week while the seed bill is with a standing committee.

Later, the House approved the demands for grants to the ministry by a voice vote.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
aam-aadmi can kiss senora's italian @rse..


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Maharashtra withdraws free power scheme
Maharashtra withdraws free power scheme - News India Priyanka Kakodkar

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 (Mumbai):

The Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra today decided to stop providing free power to farmers after a huge electricity shortage in the state.

Riots and protests against power cuts have eventually forced the Maharashtra government to announce the end of the free power scheme for farmers.

The nine-month-old scheme, which was a key election promise in the Congress-NCP manifesto, has cost the state Rs 1200 crore. The scheme will end on June 1.

Financial crunch

"Today there's a financial crunch and a power shortage. When we introduced the scheme there was a drought and farmer suicides in the state," said Vilasrao Deshmukh, chief minister of Maharashtra.

But farmers will continue to be subsidised for their electricity bills under a scheme that was in use before the elections - the poor farmers would get the bulk of the subsidy.

"The subsidies we have given today will cost us Rs 1200 crores. We save Rs 500 crores but there will be a better control on power consumption," Deshmukh said.

In the coming year, the state's 25 lakh farmers will also have to install electricity metres. And those who do will pay a lower bill.

The government says the roll back will save Rs 500 crore and cut down power consumption.

Political fallout

But it could also alienate its rural votebank, which is already upset with the power cuts stretching up to nine hours a day.

"The government just makes promises that it has no intention of keeping," said Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane.

The Congress-NCP government had promised to extend the cut-off date of slums but its ended up leading the biggest demolition drive in Mumbai.

And by rolling back another key pre-poll promise, the alliance is bound to face questions on whether it's going to honour the promises made in their manifesto.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Make farmers pay </b>
The Pioneer Edit Desk
On the face of it, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia's recommendation to the State Governments that they should charge farmers for the water they use is eminently sensible and the right thing to do. Some State Governments do charge a levy of sorts at present, but the total intake is far too meagre and does not add up to even a quarter of the operational and maintenance costs.

As a result, irrigation departments across the country are perpetually starved of funds; leave alone heavy investments in new irrigation projects, they are barely able to keep the existing schemes alive. If the Indian farmer has to be freed from the vagaries of the monsoon, then alternative irrigation facilities have to be created. And, the only way to do that would be to generate adequate resources, the bulk of which must come from the beneficiaries. State Governments are in full agreement with this in principle, but rare is the political party that has the gumption to make farmers pay for the water they use. Good economic sense, beneficial to both farmers and the state, therefore, is subsumed by political expediency. Ironically, small, marginal and landless farmers, who comprise the majority in rural India, do not benefit from the misguided patronage extended by those in power.

As Mr Ahluwalia has pointed out, rich farmers are the real beneficiaries of the state's largesse - be that in the form of free water, free power or subsidised fertilisers. Hence, in the guise of serving the have-nots, our political parties are actually pandering to India's rural elite. It can, of course, be argued that voting preferences in India's villages are dictated by this very elite, but that would only reinforce the larger point Mr Ahluwalia has made at the National Development Council meeting on Monday: Chasing short-term benefits that accrue from vote-bank politics, instead of seeking long-term gains that flow from prudent economic policies, has become the bane of our decision-making process.

There is another aspect to the issue of water usage by farmers that should cause concern to everybody. The unregulated and rampant use of groundwater by sinking bore-wells is the perfect recipe for an unmitigated disaster that stares India in the face. With State Governments, especially those controlled by the Congress, providing free or highly subsidised power to farmers, or worse, writing off their dues on account of unpaid power bills, as has been done in Haryana, there is increasing use of bore-wells for irrigating water-guzzling crops.

This pattern has reached an alarming proportion in Punjab where water-intensive paddy is being cultivated to the exclusion of other low water-consuming crops. The Union Government must shoulder the blame for this skewed crop pattern: The high minimum support price for paddy is a temptation that farmers are unable to overcome. Water, especially ground water, is a national resource and must be harnessed and used in the most judicious manner. Our much-vaunted self-sufficiency in food grains production depends on this crucial input.

Playing politics with water is nothing short of striking at the heart of India. Mr Ahluwalia's recommendation can put in place a major corrective, but that will be possible only if there is matching political will. The UPA Government is yet to signal that it has the courage to put an end to short-sighted water politics. Till it does so, such bright ideas will amount to nothing more than putting the cart before the horse.
<!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo--> Pawar’s cricket role faces criticism

- NDTV Correspondent

Monday, July 10, 2006 (New Delhi):

The governing Congress party is unhappy with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's obsession with cricket - while farmers hit by debt continue to commit suicide at alarming rates.

But so far there has been no public comment of Pawar who is the President of the Indian cricket board, the world's richest cricket authority.

In the past 10 days, 20 farmers, unable to repay debts, committed suicide, while Pawar attended a cricket meeting in London that lasted a week.

Key meeting called off

The minister's absence forced postponement of a crucial meeting to discuss strategy to bail out areas such as Vidharba, which depend on the monsoon for irrigation.

"The national rainfed development authority is before the Cabinet. All the concerned ministries were there. But the Agriculture Minister was not present, " said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi.

The discussion has been pushed to next week.

Before going to London, Pawar was in Dubai for another ICC meeting and regular BCCI meetings takes him to Mumbai frequently.

At this time the Congress party admits suicides by farmers have done damage to its image.

"I am not blaming in particular, but its a fact that farmer suicides has been damaging to the image of the government," said AICC General Secretary in charge of Maharashtra, Margaret Alva.

But Pawar's allies say he is not the only one to blame.

Communist leader Sitaram Yechuri said, everyone in the government is responsible for the recurrent farmers suicides.

There is also more reason to worry as the Indian sub-continent hosts the cricket World Cup in 2011.
More farmer suicides in Karnataka than Vidarbha

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Vidarbha region in Maharashtra was the first to get a Rs 3,750-crore (Rs 37.50 billion) relief package from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but it was Karnataka that witnessed the maximum cases of suicide by farmers since 2000.

As per the figures of farmers' suicide compiled by the Union agriculture ministry on the basis of reports sent by different states, Maharashtra stands third.

From <b>2000-01 to 2005-06, around 8,600 farmers committed suicide in Karnataka, </b>while the figures stood over <b>2,000 in Andhra Pradesh for the same period</b>. In case of <b>Maharashtra, the government reported 981 farmer suicides between 2001 and 2005</b>.

So, what was it that drew the attention of the prime minister to Vidarbha first? A sharp spurt in suicide cases was reported from Vidarbha in the past six months. Unofficial figures put the estimated number of cases at around 600 in Vidarbha. But it was much worse in Andhra Pradesh as per official figures -- 1,068 farmers committing suicide in barely six months, from May 14, 2005 to November 11, 2005.


Current nitiwits in power harping on reservations while our backbone is being weakend reminds of Nero playing fiddle while Rome burned.
<b>Why farmers are still commiting suicides: HC to M'rashtra Govt</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The High Court recalled its earlier order of imposition of cost of Rs 1000 each on 13 top bureaucrats, including Chief Secretary for their failure to take cognizance of court notice for not filing replies.

A division bench of Justice JN Patel and Justice SR Dongaonkar in a snub to the bureaucracy had imposed Rs 1000 as cost on 13 respondents.

The 13 top officials later on June 28 offered an apology to the court and deposited sum.

On Tuesday, while issuing recall of its own order, court clearly stated, "This does not mean a clean chit to them."
<!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Govt unable to help farmers: Deshmukh

- Priyanka Kakodkar, Sandeep Bhushan

Monday, July 24, 2006 (Mumbai):

Three weeks ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Maharashtra where he announced a Rs 4000 crore package for debt ridden farmers in Vidharbha.

But Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today admitted that the suicide crisis is far from over with 60 farmers having taken their lives since the Prime Minister's visit to the affected region.

"We are doing our best, both the Centre and the State is doing what it can. It's true the suicides are not reducing. Whatever help we are giving, we have not been able to solve the problem or fully control it. We are looking for suggestions," said Deshmukh.

Advance bonus

The statement comes as a stunning admission by Maharashtra's Chief Minister that his government has been unable to control the rising tide of farmer suicides in the state's cotton belt.

Everyone is surprised by Deshmukh's claim that he needs suggestions on how to stop the deaths. Those suggestions have been made again and again by farmers, experts and journalists.

What the Prime Minister could have done was restore the advance bonus on cotton, Rs 500 a quintal. Suicides peaked after the state withdrew this bonus in 2005.

Although the package offered interest waivers on loans, massive debts still remain and farmers were counting on at least a partial debt waiver.

Principal amount

The package does not speak of raising import duties on cotton to protect the local market even though the glut of cotton imports has led to a crash in cotton prices.

"There are problems. Party workers and others say that it is not enough to waive interest rates. For actual benefit the principal amount should be written off," said Vilas Muttemwar, MoS, Non-Conventional Energy.

Critics tracking this issue say they are not surprised because the PM's package and even the state's own Vidarbha package earlier did not address the farmers' core concerns.

They also add that the packages do not matter when the policy affecting farmers remains unchanged.
<b>Punjab farmers to lay seize of Parliament</b> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Moga, July 26: In response to a call given by the Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal), several farmers from Punjab would join other peasants to lay seize of Parliament today in support of their demands, including the waiving of loans.

The demands include early announcement of Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Kharif crops and against the price hike of essential commodities.

A five-member delegation led by BKU (Lakhowal) acting president Manjit Singh Kadian will be meeting Prime Minister Monmohan Singh and submitting a memorandum to him, Kadian said.

Kadian who led several farmers from Punjab to New Delhi, said the <b>peasants will be pressing the Centre for early waiving of loans of farmers, dalits and other poor which led to the large number of suicides in the state as well as in other parts of country</b>. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo--> Could this be solution to farmers' suicide?
Rural Amreli redefines corporate farming
ABHISHEK KAPOORPosted online: Monday, August 28, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print EmailTwo farmer corporates in Gujarat eliminate middlemen, market own produce

KHAMBA (AMRELI), AUGUST 27:It was a simple boardroom resolution: The board resolves to set up a company owned by farmers that will generate income, earn profits and distribute dividends.

But this boardroom meeting last month, complete with minutes being taken, was different. Because it was attended by farmers of 16 villages of Khamba in Amreli district in Gujarat who redefined corporate farming last month.

With an authorised share capital of Rs 1 lakh, the farmers set up a private limited company, Avirat Agro, under the Companies Act, 1956. Dedicated to agriculture, the company will do all that a corporate house does, with a farmer’s perspective.

In neighbouring Dhari taluka, 10 villages have come together to set up a similar company, the Dhari Krushak Agro Producers Company Limited. It marks a new chapter in the farming history of Gujarat, a cradle of the cooperative movement.

“Thank you, government. We are on our own. Each director of the company knows all members, even their families, by name and face. That is the motivation to come together and work for profits,” says Avirat chief executive Dahyabhai Patel, a former state land development corporation employee.

A 2002 amendment in the Companies Act motivated the farmers, while two local NGOs acted as catalysts to see them through. “In 1997, pre-arranged meetings would see thin attendance. For the board meeting today, every member came despite it being the first sunny day after a month of rains,” points out Dhiru Vagadia of Amreli-based Education and Social Welfare Centre. He guided the bunch of farmers through the legal maze to reach this stage.

Avirat’s objectives include eliminating the middlemen whether it’s procurement of seeds, fertilisers and pesticide for its members. A list of companies like Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), IFFCO, GNFC, GEDA, and some agriculture implement manufacturing firms has been drawn and two directors deputed to communicate with them.

“We will now procure directly from these companies at agency rates rather than go through traders. Their profits will be our saving. This will offset any possibility of duplicate seeds coming to us through unscrupulous traders,” says Ashok Shelar, one of the directors from Bhad village.

The last board meeting decided to depute two directors to liaison with seed, fertilizer and pesticide companies and get them to accept Avirat as the agency for their products. The directors are upbeat and the brainstorming feverish. To start with, they are focusing on setting up a unit of two per cent paramethane dust, a pesticide used to protect groundnut crop. “We use it in large quantities and for this, depend on just one company based in Rajkot. It does not cost much and we have enough money to set up our own,” says Chatur Shedalia, representing Rugnathpur village and deputed by the board to work on the project. The joke on how the government never comes close to understanding agriculture. An agriculture department press release makes them smile. “They say it’s going to be a good crop this year. With the kind of rains we have seen, all groundnut has been stunted,” says Magan Sajaliya of Pachpachia village, one of the directors.

The Dhari company has gone a step ahead by setting up a shop to sell seeds. But like all new ideas, this also has teething problems. Says Development Support Centre (DSC) chief Anil Shah: “We came to know of this concept through the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). It has its benefits in primarily cutting out bureaucratic control of the cooperatives department. Now the farmers need to file returns and forget the rest. But the government machinery is taking its time to accept this. Our Dhari company is yet to get a licence to trade agricultural products.” .

V K Khubchandani, Gujarat Registrar of Companies, says the concept will catch up fast as it makes the whole process of a farmers’ association more professional. “It sounds good to be the owner of a private limited company. Also the act tends to focus more on income generation. I hear of some farmers in Rajasthan and Maharashtra too opting for it,” says Khubchandani.

At a time when corporate farming is the buzz, a beginning of a different kind has been made in Amreli.

My response:
Mulayam ji,
If Ajit Singh can have different opinion than you; why to lash out at VP(UP)Singh for the same? 'din ka bhoola hua; sham ko ghar aa jaye' to use bhoola hua nahin kehte. VP Singh after retirement from PM has given all his time to farmers' causes 'coz farmers have been let down by all of us. Bank karamcharis protected themselves against computerisation whereas farmers are committing suicides as this occupation is in danger
<!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo--> Mulayam lashes out at VP Singh
[ 3 Sep, 2006 1733hrs ISTPTI ]

RSS Feeds| SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates

KANPUR: Playing down Rashtriya Lok Dal Chief Ajit Singh's outbursts against his government, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday expressed confidence that RLD will continue to support the coalition government.

"There is no question of withdrawal of support by Rashtriya Lok Dal so far," the Samajwadi party chief, who arrived here to attend a marriage, said.

On the RLD organising a farmers' rally at Dadri, Yadav said, "every political party had the right to organise rally anywhere it wants."

While opposing acquiring of agricultural land by the state government, Ajit Singh had said on Saturday there was difference of opinion between the SP and RLD on several issues and that the state government should address the poor law and order situation.

Yadav also lashed out at former prime minister VP Singh saying he had done little for the farmers during his rule.

"Farmers know better how much VP Singh was sincere to their cause. There was price hike of fertilizers and the farmers were under debts during VP Singh's regime," he said.

He claimed that Uttar Pradesh "was on top" in health and education besides all round development of the state.

The SP supremo said that the distribution of saries to the women would start before Diwali while distribution of kanya dhan would also start soon.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Eight farmers end lives in Vidarbha</b>
Agencies | Nagpur
Eight farmers have committed suicide in different parts of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in the last 48 hours, sources said here today.

Farmer Ananda Rathod (60) ended his life by consuming poison at his house in Kanadi village in Murtizapur Taluka of Akola district last night, they said.

Atul Warghat of Mana (Wai) village in the same district also committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance.

Other deceased included Himmatrao Gulabrao Raut of Fattepur, Ramesh Sonbaji Sonkunwa of Karanja, Rajesh Daberao of Akola, Sarangdhar Thakre and Avinash Appa Wadhane, both of Samrudpur and Prakash Nilgilwar of Kelapur in Yavatmal.

Now commie and COngress in power. See what is happening. They are for Aam Adami.
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo--> Suicide notes from the country
Laveesh BhandariPosted online: Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print Email

Laveesh Bhandari
Related Stories Inflation is here to stay

Farmer's suicides, a charged political issue, received a lot of attention again at the recently concluded Congress conclave. But standard political solutions are typically not informed by basic economic logic. The reasons farmers are committing suicide are actually not varied; a same or similar set of factors are involved in tragedies around the country.

The first has to do with the riskiness of farming. Environmental, biological and economic risks are quite high. This is especially so for farmers who are forward-looking and are more ready to invest in productivity increasing and expensive inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. The availability of secured credit now enables even the small farmer to benefit from these productivity and income increasing inputs. In traditional modes of agriculture one could obtain seeds, manure and other inputs at low, or even zero, costs. And therefore, though returns were low, the risk was also low. But with the newer and costlier technologies that is not the case. This is true of a wide range of agri-commodities, whether it is cotton and its high requirement for pesticides, or foodgrains and great dependence on fertilisers, and so on.

It is sometimes thought that only the small, underprivileged farmer suffers from this problem. To the contrary, the farmer who invests in greater productivity inputs could be small or large; in fact most of the suicides are reportedly from farmers who are quite literate. A Tata Institute of Social Sciences study in Maharashtra found that of the 644 cases studied more than four-fifths were literate. This is not surprising, as the farmer who purchases the costlier high-productivity inputs tends to be the more forward-looking one. In other words, the farmers who are most affected negatively are precisely the ‘new’ farmers that agriculture policy has been trying to create and support.

The second has to do with the lack of a fall-back in case either the crop or prices fail the farmer. When credit is not availed at the start of the agri-season, the need for fall-back has only to do with the family’s consumption requirements till the next season. However, when credit is availed, then the fall-back becomes important. Again we find that a typical suicide is preceded by three stages. First, inability to pay back the primary lender after a crop failure. Second, recourse to the secondary lender, and sometimes even a recourse to a third lender. The hierarchy varies and depends on the individual conditions of each farmer. But family and banks are at the top and private money-lenders with their much higher interest rates tend to be the last recourse.

At the third and final stage, if the farmer misses out on adequate returns, he would lose his farm and perhaps all his other assets as well. Some accept this fate, and others prefer to withdraw from life altogether. It is therefore possible to identify the farmers who are moving towards insolvency, and it is possible, at least in theory, to take corrective action before the unfortunate event finally occurs.

First, after the first default, farmers will typically take another loan to either meet the repayment requirements of the first creditor or to further invest for the next season. These are the most vulnerable set. And it is at this point that some security mechanism needs to kick in.

Second, many identify the private moneylender and his usurious interest rates as a contributory factor. Indeed, high interest rates are but natural for highly risky credit. The problem is not as much cost of funds as the tenure and repayment terms. If credit were available for a longer tenure one could shift re-payment from one season to another — in many if not most cases (and that includes the organised financial sector creditors as well) that is not possible.

Third, if default does occur, farmers rarely take recourse to declaring insolvency. This is for many reasons. Insolvency procedures in India are quite out of tune with a liberalising, entrepreneurship oriented economy. The law requires the defaulter to not indulge in similar activity while the insolvency motion is under consideration. It also demands properly kept accounts to show that the funds were only used for the purpose declared and not for any other. Moreover, the burden of proof is on the defaulter. Last, bank managers typically respond to default by small businesses and farmers by reporting it as a case of criminal default or breach of trust. And if a criminal case is instituted, then insolvency cannot be declared.

Overall, therefore, the cards are well stacked against the farmer in case things go wrong. And given the riskiness of his business this is likely to happen in a large number of cases. The solutions require more than a visit to highly affected areas. Special information requirements exist for educating the distressed farmer on possible courses of action in case things worsen in the future. Agriculture is a different business and requires carefully designed repayment terms and built-in renegotiation clauses. Last, it is time that India’s insolvency laws recognised that default signifies the failure of the farm, and not of the farmer.

The writer, an economist, heads Indicus Analytics

This Laveesh Bhandari is BSing:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Third, if default does occur, farmers rarely take recourse to declaring insolvency. This is for many reasons. Insolvency procedures in India are quite out of tune with a liberalising, entrepreneurship oriented economy. The law requires the defaulter to not indulge in similar activity while the insolvency motion is under consideration. It also demands properly kept accounts to show that the funds were only used for the purpose declared and not for any other. Moreover, the burden of proof is on the defaulter. Last, bank managers typically respond to default by small businesses and farmers by reporting it as a case of criminal default or breach of trust. And if a criminal case is instituted, then insolvency cannot be declared.
Liberalizing insolvency laws is not going to solve the problem. By doing that, we will simply shift the risk of farming from the farmer to the moneylender, who will immediately do one or more of the following:
1. raise the interest rates,
2. make the terms of payment stricter,
3. ask for greater collateral,
4. scrutinize the farmer's risk much more strictly,
5. commit suicide himself

All of the above will make getting a loan much more difficult for the farmer. Such stupidity among Indian economists is perhaps the cause of some of the problems afflicting India.

<!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo--> Centre announces Rs 160 bn rehab package for farmers

Indo-Asian News Service

New Delhi, September 29, 2006

The central cabinet on Friday announced a rehabilitation package Rs 160.9 billion for farmers in 31-suicide prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

"Under the rehabilitation package, Rs 90.6 billion have been allotted for 16 districts of Andhra Pradesh, 20.6 billion for six districts of Karnataka, Rs 7.6 billion for three districts of Kerala and Rs 30.8 billion for six districts of Maharashtra," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters.

It also involves waiver of interest worth Rs 2 billion in the 25 debt ridden districts of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. The centre and states will share this burden equally.

"The package also involves rehabilitation of families of farmers who have committed suicide. It will check the spate of suicide by the farmers," the minister said.

It comprises Rs 100 billion as subsidy or grants and Rs 60.3 billion as loan.

Under the package, to be undertaken over a period of three years, 12 major, 13 medium and 2,565 minor irrigation schemes will be started.

The finance minister also announced a special package of intervention for Alappuzha and Idukki districts of Kerala.

He said, "The agriculture minister has visited these two districts to make an on-the-spot assessment. After extensive deliberations the government felt that specific packages are required for these two districts."

"The implementation of the rehabilitation package for Maharashtra has already been initiated after announcement of the package by the prime minister on July 1," said an official statement. The action to implement the rehabilitation package for the other three states will be taken soon.

Meanwhile, agriculture secretary Radha Singh said on Friday that recent suicides by farmers should not be blown out of proportion.

Singh was speaking at an agriculture summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

She said an analysis of the suicide records of the past 10 years shows that the number of suicides in rural India has not exceeded 16 per cent of the total number of suicides in the country.

In 2003-04, the records of the National Crime Records Buro show there were 187,000 suicides in India.

"Of this, only 16 per cent were in rural India. This debunks the current perception that there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of farmers' suicides in India," Singh said.

She, however, said suicides linked to indebtedness of farmers is a major cause for concern to the government.

The government would bring more farmers under the purview of agricultural credit schemes to improve the situation. The target is to raise the coverage to 70 per cent from 45 per cent, Singh added.

"We will deal with issues of access to finance and interest rates especially for the small and marginal farmers."

Gokul Patnaik, an agricultural expert, said that the contract farming system in India has to be rationalised, as there are 130 models of contract farming in India.

"Contracts need to cover basics like price, quality, quantity and delivery times. Farmers need access to market information as well as critical inputs," he said.

Union Agriculture Minister Pawar elected BCCI president for two-year term ....guess Farmers will just have to wait.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>'Farmers suicides blown out of proportion' </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
On a day when the Centre announced a massive package for bailing out farmers in distress, <b>Agriculture Secretary Radha Singh said the issue of farmer's suicide had been blown out of proportion.</b>

<b>"Data from 2003 showed that only 16 per cent of total suicides were from rural India. Earlier the data was no segregated (as per profession). So it is not true that suddenly there is an unprecedented rise in number of farmer's suicide," </b>she said at the valedictory session of the Agri-Marketing Summit 2006 organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Friday.

She urged the audience to view the suicides in this context and suicides should not be construed as widespread distress in agriculture. In 2003-04, the records of the National Crime Records Bureau show there were 187,000 suicides in India. "Of this, only 16 per cent were in rural India. This debunks the current perception that there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of farmers' suicides in India," said Singh. There should not even be one suicide, she added.

Her statement shocked many who were present. Farmer's suicide is an expression of acute distress among poor farmers, regardless of the percentage of suicide. Far too many farmers earn too little, a fact established by government surveys. Suicide is just a tip of the iceberg, and a crude guage of the state of distress. The statement perhaps exhibits a bureaucratic mindset in a state of denial or blaming media for blowing the issue out of proportion.

She added that the Government is seriously looking into the causes of farmer's indebtedness and addressing availability of credit for farmers. Farmers are dependent on private moneylenders for credit.<b> The Government hopes to increase the share of loans from public institutions from 45 to 70 per cent.  </b>
WOw Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!

During NDA rule, Congress was screaming from roof top regarding Farmers sucide etc... now they are calling it fake or lie or whatever..
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Centre leaves farmers in lurch </b>
Pioneer News Service | Chandigarh
The Punjab farmers are shell shocked by the Central Government's decision not to include them in the Rs 16,978.69 crore rehabilitation package announced for farmers in 31 suicide-prone districts in four States.

The announcement has left the Punjab Congress in doldrums for the very reason that the party will be facing the electorate early next year during the general assembly elections. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had visited Punjab on September 27 and 28, did not announce any relief package for the farmers despite expectations.

A day before PM's visit to Punjab, State Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had appealed for a special package for small and marginal farmers of State who are passing through difficult times. In response to his appeal, the Prime Minister had only said that the problem of loans and debt was being considered and solutions would be brought out soon.

The problem of debt is accentuated by suicides in this agricultural State. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Shamsher Singh Dullo, however, said yesterday that the Prime Minister was expected to announce a package during his next visit to Punjab on October 28. <b>Punjab farmers are in collective debt of Rs 24,000 crore and political parties cutting across party lines have been demanding a relief package for farmers. </b>

<b>The Prime Minister has indeed given an opportunity to main opposition party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to beat the Congress with its own stick. </b>

SAD secretary and party spokesman GS Cheema said that it was most unfortunate that the Centre Government had ignored the Punjab farmers who have been committing suicides under frustration.

He said that thousands of farmers had during the past few years ended their lives.

<b>He cited the report released by Inderjit Singh Jaijy, convenor, Movement Against State Repression which said that during 1997 to 2005 approximately 4,000 Punjab farmers had committed suicide.</b>

Cheema said that Congress party had betrayed the farmers of Punjab who are indebted by Rs 24,000 crore, according to Government figures. He said that moneylenders had been exploiting farmers in the absence of any legislature to keep check on high interest rates.

Prof Balwant Singh, Punjab CPM General Secretary said that it was sorry state of affairs on agriculture front.

He said time was not far when Punjab farmers would be seen begging on streets. He said that Congress Government had on one hand failed to protect the interests of farmers and on other hand it has done nothing to bring industry into Punjab to provide an alternative to farmers.

He said that Punjab was also ignored in industrial package given to neighbouring Himachal Pradesh Government.

Most pampered farmers are asking relief. Punjab famers should visit Central and south India to see hardship from their own eyes.
Farm credit: PM for studying moneylenders’ role
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 18
Admitting the failure of institutional mechanism in meeting the needs of the farmers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today initiated a debate on roping in and regulating money lenders in extending farm credit to alleviate the agricultural crisis facing the nation.

“What do farmers need - a lower rate of interest or reliable access to credit at reasonable rate?….Do we need to bring in money lenders under some form of regulation,” he pondered while inaugurating the second agricultural summit here.

Dr Manmohan Singh said: “It is necessary that we find answers to these questions in near future as there is a crisis in agriculture in many regions of the country.”

According to a World Bank study 70 per cent of poor households in villages have no access to formal banking; rural borrowers pay up to 42 percent of their loan amount in bribes to officials; and it takes an average of 33 weeks to get a loan approved in the rural India.

Prime Minister’s poser assumes significance in the light of the Nobel Peace Prize to Bangladesh's Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank for micro-credit mechanism and its success in fighting poverty and empowering them.

Even the Reserve Bank of India has set up a working group to review money lenders legislations following requests from some states and it is mulling at the option of including micro-finance institutions (MFIs) in the list of money lenders to be monitored and putting a cap on interest rate to be charged by them.

The Prime Minister also wanted suggestions on enhancing the institutional framework such as for the self-help groups and micro-finance institutions for improving the lot of farmers.

On checking inflation, which is hovering above 5 per cent now, he added: “While the government will do whatever is necessary to keep prices under check and ensure moderate rates of inflation, we cannot sacrifice the interests of the farming community”.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>End subsidy raj </b>
The Pioneer Edit Desk
Let farmers grow up and face the world
It is heartening to know that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at last realises there is a crisis brewing in the agriculture sector which needs to be confronted instead of being brushed under the carpet. <b>The crisis, however, does not stem from debt-ridden farmers' committing suicide alone; it flows from the flaws that exist in our existing farm policy, which for decades has been dictated by the compulsions of populist politics couched in economic mumbo-jumbo that went out of fashion with the collapse of the USSR but still continues to motivate politicians of all hues in this country</b>. This is not to minimise the tragedy of farmers unable to repay their debts committing suicide. Indeed, it is shameful that Government has not yet been able to put in place an effective relief package or come up with ways and means of ensuring easy access to farm credit and free farmers from the clutches of money-lenders. The Prime Minister's announcements in this regard are no more than mere tokenism because there is a huge mismatch between what is declared from Delhi and the ground reality that exists in the villages. But the enormity of the problems being faced by debt-ridden farmers cannot become the overwhelming issue to decide the framing of agricultural policy, nor should politicians, especially those of the Left and their fellow travellers among economists, of whom there is no shortage in the UPA regime, be allowed to use a human tragedy to try and stall urgently required farm sector reforms in tune with liberalisation in other segments of the economy and global trends. Those who refuse to accept that the farm sector as a whole will continue to suffer and farmers shall be further impoverished unless radical reforms are introduced will no doubt find fault with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's suggestions that Government must roll back its largesse and allow free play to market forces. But this should not deter Mr Pawar from moving in the right direction.

It makes little sense, as Mr Pawar has pointed out, to raise the minimum support price guaranteed by Government when there are private players in the market willing to pay a higher price provided producers meet stringent quality criteria. Not only will this ensure that farmers are not entirely dependent on Government determined prices, which could be lower than that being offered by private agencies, but also help them decide on the right choice of crops. Excessive dependence on minimum support price, in a sense, has made farmers complacent and unable to cope with the emerging demands of the market. At the same time, some farmers have begun to move away from Government largesse and they have fared well, setting an example for others. For long, industry was not allowed to grow up and was forced to survive in a quota-licence-permit raj that penalised production in excess of that determined by Government. With those controls removed, industry has spread wings and soared. There is no reason why the farm sector, too, cannot out-perform its past record if controls and largesse are removed.<b> Let India's farmers grow up and face the world, as India's industrialists were forced to do. The results can only be spectacular.</b>

It’s not so simple. It will be difficult for Indian farmers to compete world with current state of Farming industry.
Punjab farmers were pampered for long and it paid dividend, now there is no need to reinvent just follow proven formula of Punjab.
Open more farming consulting satellite office in rural area, who can guide about soil, crop choice based on weather.
In place of free electricity farmers should be encourage to use natural resources.
Farmers are most neglected and exploited folks.

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