Maharashtra taskforce suggests formula to end farmers’ suicides

Nagpur, Feb 20 (IANS) Tasked by the Maharashtra government to study the farm crisis in the state, Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM) has announced a two-point formula which it claims could be the key to ending farmers’ suicides in the country.

The formula is part of a report on measures needed to tackle agrarian crisis in 14 drought-prone districts of Maharashtra that Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission has submitted to the state government.

Kishor Tiwari, who chairs the Mission, said on Saturday the formula has two parts: a distress management relief plan and an agenda to address core isses of agrarian crisis.

The first part envisions provisions for food and health security, better farm credit facilities within the existing network, water and electricity connection to each farmer, and access to education for farmers’ children, particularly in the distressed areas.

It also includes provision of more jobs under Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and effective implementation of Mudra Scheme and other government welfare schemes by reducing corruption at various levels.

The second part addresses the core issues of agrarian crisis for which Tiwari blames the neglect and mismanagement of the officialdom.

The Mission advocates restoration of holistic and sustainable agriculture in the existing soil conditions, moisture, water availability, and suitable cropping patterns in the drought-prone areas.

Over the past six months, the Mission is advising farmers on how to slash input costs by 40 percent by proper selection of seeds, fertilizers, etc., to avoid exploitation by traders and market players, Tiwari said.

“The Union Budget is coming up, followed by the state budget. We call upon the state and the Centre to consider our suggestions seriously and make suitable provisions to wipe the tears off farmers’ eyes,” Tiwari told IANS.

With the upcoming summer season, there are reports of water shortages from different parts of the state including Marathwada and Vidarbha where the Mission is working. Another water crisis may trigger further distress among farmers.

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