Farmers from across the country gathered at Parliament Street in Delhi on November 30, 2018, to draw attention to their sorry lot. They say farming is no longer viable as a livelihood. To top it, they face huge loan burdens. Corruption is rife in officialdom, and middlemen rule the roost. Rahul Trivedi and Deexa Khanduri of Governance Now spoke to some farmers:
Deexa Khanduri and Rahul Trivedi | November 30, 2018
Jatta Ji, 60, a farmer from Patiala district.
"I grow paddy and wheat on four acres, and my annual income is Rs 2 lakh-2.5 lakh. With this, I have to support five people: my wife, a son, his wife, and a grandson. My loan burden is Rs 4 lakh. How will I ever pay it off? I am here to demand that the government waive farm loans and implement the Swaminathan committee report. Without loan relief for farmers, the country will not grow."
Arjun Rai, chairman, All India Kisan Mahasabha, Samastipur
"With me are many farmers from Bihar. They don't have land of their own. Forty years ago, the land they had was washed away by floods and a river changing course. The government had then announced 10 decimals of land for farmers, but so far we haven't got anything. A lady, Sunita Devi, committed suicide due to huge pressure from money-lenders. The officers in the department are corrupt. They sell the original seeds and give us the local seeds which are of no use. I had repaid loans by putting my wife’s jewellery as collateral and borrowing money at 3 percent of interest per month from private money-lenders. You tell me how feasible it is for farmers to do farming."
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