The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre’s response on a public interest litigation (PIL), seeking directions to the government to take steps to prevent increasing farmer suicides across the country.
A bench headed by justice HL Dattu issued a notice to the Centre through the ministry of agriculture and sought its response on the public interest litigation filed by Punjab-based NGO Youth Kamal Organisation.
The PIL also sought the apex court’s direction to the Centre to implement the recommendations of the report of National Commission on Farmers (NCF), chaired by agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan in 2006 on farmer suicides.
Citing various problems faced by farmers which compel them to take their life, the petition was filed through the NGO’s president GS Happy Maan.
It said, “Farmers are forced to buy seeds every planting season, which increases poverty and indebtedness, compelling them to commit suicide. The rate of interest at which loans are given to farmers is very high and they are not able to repay the same.
As per the report, it should not be more than 4%.”
It also said that farmers did not know how to cope with the changing economy and “need counselling from the government or society to survive it.”
“The absence of counselling from the government or society on how to survive the changing economy” is also a reason for their suicides, it said.
“There is no crop insurance, and rural infrastructure is poor, particularly harvest technology.
Youths in villages are reluctant to take up farming as a career because of the cost-riskreturn structure,” the public interest litigation said.
The NGO also told the court that in June, the ministry of agriculture had said that it had started implementing recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers, but so far nothing had been done for the benefit of farmers.