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Farmers’ deaths a human rights issue: SC

  • The SC recently asked the Centre and the States to explain whether there was a lifeline, including a comprehensive insurance plan, for farmers to end the vicious circle plaguing the agriculture sector.

    The court was distressed over the fact that crop failure and natural calamities were driving debt-ridden farmers across the country to take their lives. Terming the death of farmers due to loss of crops as a “human rights issue,” the court asked why the government had not yet formulated a national policy to protect the lives of the country's bread-winners.

    The court was hearing a petition filed by the NGO, Citizens Resource and Action and Initiative, seeking a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs each for the families of 692 farmers who committed suicide in Gujarat between January 2003 and October 2012. Their crops had failed and their bank loans began to choke them. The petition also sought financial relief from the government for farmers facing drought. It pleaded for a humane agricultural policy, taking into consideration the probable loss of crops, to help farmers tide over a drought-like situation.
     

    OUR TAKE

    Farmers form the backbone of Indian economy. There have been numerous cases of farmers committing suicide which can be attributed to crop failure and indebtedness and yet there is no national policy to protect them. There are numerous defects in the National Policy for Farmers, 2007, which needs to be revisited.


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