Agriculture expert Devinder Sharma called for the setting up of a farmers' income commission to tackle the agrarian crisis and criticised the new land acquisition bill for worsening their condition, at a talk held at Panjab University (PU).
Sharma, who spoke on the topic 'why are farmers committing suicides' said "Some take- home- income has to be generated for farmers by all means. If a peon is getting Rs 5,000 per month then why should a farmer survive on just Rs 3,000 a month?"
Quoting data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Sharma said in the last 20 years, about 3 lakh farmers had committed suicide in the country.
"In many state families of farmers who commit suicide are given a compensation passage. What is the point of giving them 3 or 5 lakh rupees when someone from their family has died? These compensations will not prevent farmer suicides,"he said.
According to Sharma, studies showed that 58 % of famers in India were going to bed on an empty stomach while more than 75 % of them wanted to move out of agriculture and look for another occupation. He critiqued the new land acquisition bill, labelling it as a "ploy"to make farmers move away from agriculture.
Sharma believed that a huge disparity existed between the income of a farmer in India and income of farmers in other countries. "The average farming income in Holland is 265 % higher than the other sections of their society.
Their farmers are going on cruises. Our farmers are committing suicides", he said.