Amid fears of drought, Maharashtra Agriculture minister urges farmers not to think about suicide, promises help

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Published: June 22, 2019 2:39:45 PM

In 2017, the Maharashtra government had rolled out a farm debt waiver scheme to check rising cases of suicide by farmers. The government has claimed that it has spent a great deal on irrigation and water conservation in the last four years.

This year, the drought situation is grim in Maharashtra. Most of the districts have been declared drought-affected.However, the Met office has said that monsoon has advanced further and covered the state, bringing some respite to people living in parched areas.

Maharashtra Agriculture minister Anil Bonde had made an appeal to the farmers of the state not to bring thoughts of committing suicide. The plea comes amidst the prevailing drought situation in the state. According to a report in ndian Express, Bonde has assured the farmers that government will take measures to deliver on the promised farm waiver.

“It is true that there is an agrarian crisis in the state. Till today, Rs 19,000 crores have been transferred into the accounts of farmers. Those remaining will also get the benefit of loan waiver in the coming weeks,” Bonde said.

“I appeal to farmers to not bring thoughts of committing suicide to their minds. It’s a difficult time as there has been no rain yet. We all need to fight this together. Our farmer loan waiver scheme has been implemented successfully as compared to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,” he added.

The assurance comes after the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government informed the Legislative Assembly that Maharashtra recorded 12,021 farmer suicides during the last four years. Marathwada and Vidarbha have been the worst-affected regions.

This year, the drought situation is grim in Maharashtra. Most of the districts have been declared drought-affected. Last week, reports claimed that the western state has 7% of the required water in reserves. The lack of adequate water has once again raised the fear that farmers may commit suicide.

Meanwhile, the Met office has said that monsoon has advanced further and covered the state, bringing some respite to people living in parched areas. Maharashtra is the second biggest producer of sugar cane, soybeans and cotton and highest producer of onions and summer-sown pulses.

According to a reply submitted by Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Subhash Deshmukh on Friday, of the 12,021 cases, 6,888 cases or only 57% have so far been found eligible for ex-gratia financial assistance.

“The state government provides an assistance of Rs 1 lakh to families of farmers who are deemed to have committed suicide on account of farm distress,” Deshmukh told the Assembly. He informed that aid had so far been distributed in 6,845 cases.

In 2017, the government had rolled out a farm debt waiver scheme to check rising cases of suicide by farmers. The government has claimed that it has spent a great deal on irrigation and water conservation in the last four years. The state witnesses the highest number of farmer suicides in the country.

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