IT CARRIES the promise of improving the debt-ridden and impoverished lives of crores of Indian farmers. And it will be with the government on October 4.
The final draft of the first National Policy for Farmers (NPF) -- prepared by the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) -- is ready.
Atul Kumar Anjan, NCF member and CPI leader, says one of the suggestions is to constitute a farmers' commission in each state with an eminent farmer as chairman. "The state commission is expected to represent farmers' needs and problems in a streamlined manner," says Anjan.
The NPF makes a number of recommendations to protect farmers' incomes. "It talks about fixing the credit rate at 4 per cent per annum," says Anjan. "A national insurance scheme for all crops has also been suggested. Suggestion has also been made to overhaul the Commission for Agricultural Cost and Pricing that determines the minimum support price of crops. The system followed by the commission is dated and it has failed to determine a remunerative price."
Dr R.L. Pitale, another NCF member, says the emphasis is on protecting farmers' incomes so they do not get sucked into a debt trap.
The NCF was formed in 2004 to look into agrarian distress and suggest remedies. The NPF is expected to be launched on August 15 next year.