New Delhi, Sep 22 :
The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the central government on a petition seeking direction to take steps to prevent the increasing number of suicides by the farmer in different parts of the country on account of their difficult financial conditions.
Seeking the government’s response over growing incidence of suicides by farmers, the bench of Chief Justice designate Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice S.A. Bobde also sought itss response on the implementation of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations on the farming sector.
The notice returnable in four weeks was issued on a petition by Bathinda-based NGO Youth Kamal Organisation represented by its president Gurmit Singh Mann.
The petition said that between 2004 to 2012, 146,373 famers took their lives that makes 16,263 farmers ending their lives a year at an average of 45 farmer committing suicide every day. Every 32 minutes a farmer ends his life on account of financial stress he faces, it said.
Saying that 60 percent of the country’s population was directly or indirectly dependent on the agriculture sector, the NGO’s petition said that the decade between 2001 to 2011 saw the decline in the number of people directly engaged in faming with 90 lakh people opting for other occupations.
The petition said that farmers were being driven to suicide because of agrarian distress. It said that major cause of this agrarian distress is the unfinished land reforms, unavailability of quality and quantity of water, technology fatigue, inadequate institutional credit when required, lack of remunerative prices and unfavourable climatic conditions.
It said that while the hands directly involved in cultivation of their own lands have decreased the number of agriculture labourers have increased and are around 144 million – that is 30 percent of the total workforce.
The petition said that the cause of gradual shifting of farmers opting out of the agriculture activities is the rise of urban based manufacturing industry.
The petition by the Youth Kamal Organisation sought the implementation of the recommendation of the National Commission on Farmers headed by eminent agriculture scientist Swaminathan and the report of the Working Group of Chief Ministers on Agriculture Production under the chairmanship of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The NGO said that though government under the National Policy for Farmers, 2007, have taken some steps but it has in no way resulted in the amelioration of farmers plight or arresting the ever rising suicide rates amongst them.