NHRC notice over Maharashtra farmer suicides

Effectiveness of central, state schemes in doubt as 639 farmers end their lives in three months

GN Bureau | July 17, 2018


#Maharashtra   #agriculture   #right to life   #human rights   #NHRC   #farmer suicide  
Picture for representation purpose
Picture for representation purpose

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the Maharashtra government informing the state assembly that 639 farmers had committed suicide in the state between March and May, 2018 due to crop failure and debt.

The Commission has issued notices to the secretary of the union agriculture ministry and the Maharashtra chief secretary, seeking detailed reports in the matter, specifically mentioning the status of implementation of the schemes for the farmers and relief to the aggrieved families. The response is expected within four weeks, NHRC said in a release on Tuesday. The centre is expected to inform the Commission if it has any specific plan or mechanism to effectively address the situation.

The Commission observed that it is not for the first time that such news has come to notice. “It has been receiving complaints regarding the deaths of farmers across the country, including the state of Maharashtra.  It has also taken suo motu cognizance of such matters.” 

“In spite of announcement of several schemes including crop insurance and loan waiver by the central and state governments, the forlorn story of poor farmers generally remains the same. The farmers are still choosing to end their lives, understandably, if not being able to cope up with the stress, financial crunch and social stigma due to crop failure. There is a need for the central and state governments to see that the schemes announced by them are implemented in true spirit, to achieve the target so that such tragic deaths of the farmers could be averted,” the NHRC observed.  

According to the media report of July 15, a total of 639 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra between March 1 and May 31. The information had been provided by the state revenue minister in the state assembly in response to the questions of the opposition members. They had, reportedly, alleged that all the schemes of the government, including the loan waiver, compensation to farmers in case of loss of crops and minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural goods, had failed, due to which the cases of suicide by the farmers have increased. 

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