Former union minister and Kangra MP, Shanta Kumar, has urged the central government to implement the schemes proposed for welfare of agrarian community at the earliest, in order to stop farmer suicide in the country.
In a letter, written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the veteran leader said even small and resourceful state like Himachal Pradesh had recorded 297 farmer suicides in the last one decade. After independence, Shanta wrote, “successive Congress governments ignored the agriculture sector, resulting into the farmers giving up their lives”.
“In the last six decades, 2.76 farmers have committed suicide across India and even Himachal is not immune to the problem,” said Shanta, in a reference to the report of National Crime Records Bureau.
The former two-time chief minister of Himachal Pradesh said that the prime minister had announced some important schemes for the welfare of the farmers, which include `5,000 monthly pension for the farmer above age 60.
This scheme will benefit the farmers in a big way and need to be propagated among the agrarian community.
Shanta, who headed a high-level committee on restructuring of Food Corporation of India (FCI), said the panel had given two important recommendations for benefit of the farmers. “The panel has recommended direct input subsidy of `7,000 to the over 9 crore farmers in the state,” he said.
Besides, the FCI, on its own level, should procure food grains from the farmers in Utter Pradesh and Bihar on analogy of Punjab and Haryana.
“If these recommendations are implemented, the farmers will be relieved in a big way,” said Shanta, adding that agriculture occupation had not remained an attractive and lucrative one as it was earlier.
He said most of the countries in the world gave direct benefit to the farmers to keep them connected with the occupation.
“In US, each farmer is given direct benefit amounting `70 lakh annually,” Shanta wrote. He said the inclement weather this year had damaged the crop, causing worries for the already distressed farming community.
“If the government implements the decisions and recommendations it at the earliest, it will not only save some valuable lives, but also give a positive message to the farmers,” he asserted.