The Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, shaken by increasing numbers of farmer suicides, is seriously considering bringing sharecroppers under farmers’ category in the state, an official said on Thursday.
Officials, who were sent on a three-day tour of the drought-hit villages by chief minister Chouhan, to take stock of the ground reality, said that most of the people who commit suicide were sharecroppers as farmers who leased their land on do not suffer.
The farmers get compensation and other benefits provided by the government while the hapless sharecroppers are left with no option than to take the extreme step, some of them said.
“We would bring this issue during meeting of the officials at Academy of Administration on Friday and invite suggestions on how to deal with the problem,” Rajesh Rajora, principal secretary of state agriculture department, told Hindustan Times.
“Agriculture department would urge the government to amend Madhya Pradesh land revenue code rules to provide protection to the share-coppers,” he said.
Rajora further said that modalities would be worked out to frame rules in a manner that sharecroppers are not forced to take force possession of the land while landowner too feels safe in giving them on lease for farming.
“The name of the sharecropper could be entered in revenue record as bataidar,” he said.
According to an official estimate, more than 60% of agriculture is done on share-cropping basis in the state. Under the system, landowners lease their land to landless farmers, who till and grow crops on a sharing basis.
Under the current system, all the benefits given to farmers are meant for the landowners while the sharecroppers get nothing. The government gives benefits like loans to farmers for buying seeds, fertilisers and farming tools at subsidised rates.
This apart, electricity and water for irrigation are provided to the landowners. The compensation of the crop damage too is given to the landowners.