Opposition today came down hard on the government for the "agrarian crisis" and demanded waiver of loans of farmers across the country and not only of those from Uttar Pradesh as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during campaigning.
During a debate on Demand for Grants for the Agriculture Ministry in the Lok Sabha, members from opposition parties said over 12,000 farmers had committed suicide last year and asked the government to come out with a concrete roadmap for resolving the increasing farm distress.
They said failure to do so may hit the entire economy.
Talking about suicide by farmers in Maharastra, Dhananjay Mahadik of NCP said the government must strongly support the farmers including extending crop insurance and putting in place an effective marketing system for their produce.
"The government must waive loans of all the farmers across the country to bring down the number of suicides," he said.
The MP from Maharastra also suggested serving of nuts to school children under the mid-day meal scheme, saying it may benefit the farmers. He also demanded supporting the dairy sector.
Congress member from Arunachal Ninong Ering said considering the rapid rate of farmers' suicide, no farmers will be left in the country for the government to double their income.
Ering said Arunachal Pradesh always stood strongly for
national interest and the government must also take every possible step to help farmers from the bordering state.
BJP member Sumedhanand Saraswati called for extensive use of organic manure and said studies should be carried to examine whether cow urine could be helpful.
Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF) demanded a concrete roadmap for addressing problems of the farmers, saying their condition may trigger a ripple effect for the whole economy.
He asked the Prime Minister to fulfil his promise of making the entire North East a hub for organic farming.
Ajmal also demanded compensation for farmers in Assam whose crops were damaged in floods.
"The perennial problem of floods in Assam must be resolved as it will grately benefit the farmers," he said.
He also sought support for the state's tea growers.
BJP member Uday Pratap Singh said there was a need for long-term policy planning to address problems of the farming community.
He also called for a review of the land ceiling policy, saying farmers must be allowed to retain bigger plots of farm land. The MP also called for fixing a limit for allowing sale of agricultural land.
"There should be law to ensure that farmers cannot sell their land beyond a certain limit," he said.
Various members also demanded linking of rivers as well
as including agriculture in MGNREGA.
R K Bharathi Mohan (AIADMK) demanded that Centre should intervene and find a permanent solution to the Kaveri water dispute.
"Agriculture Commission should be set up and inter-state river sharing should be permitted to protect the interest of farmers," he said.
He demanded that the Centre should halt methane extraction programme in the Kaveri Delta region as it was rendering farm land infertile.
K Hari Babu (BJP) suggested that the government should make agriculture a profitable profession and also come up with a comprehensive policy on deep sea fishing.
He said focus should be on using domestic urea and MGNREGA wages should be linked to farmers.
Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) demanded that the Centre should accord 'industry' status to 'agriculture' and sought to know from the Centre the total numner of farm suicides.
"Note ban has caused huge losses to farmers," Yadav said.
Dushyant Chautala (INLD) said the Centre should digitise soil health card record and give loans through kisan credit cards without collateral.
Virender Kashyap (BJP) said the Centre has taken up a lot
of projects in the interest of the farmers.
With the government planning to double the income of the farmers in the next five year, he stressed that the government has already make allocation of funds in this regard.
Rajesh Ranjan (expelled RJD member) also drew the attention of the members towards the rising number of suicides by the farmers and stressed upon the need to make basic arrangements for the farmers.
Kaushalendra Kumar (JD-U) also expressed concerns about the rise in sufferings of the farmers due to the continuous drought and added that the insecticides should be subsidised.
Ajay Kumar Mishra (BJP) was of the view that the government has accorded top priority to the farmers and Centre is taking measures to improve the condition of the farmers.
Ratna Dey (TMC) was of a view that the efforts should be made by the government to check the rising non-performing assets of the banks.
He also said that there was an urgent need to provide subsidy to the potato growers.
Expressing concerns, PK Sreeemathi (CPI-M) said India was only country in the world where the farmers commit suicide and added that "we are incapable of tackling the issue of rising suicides (of farmers)."
Sreemathi also alleged that the government of the day was neglecting the agriculture sector.
Among others who participated in the discussion include Jugal Kishore Sharma, Ram Parsad Sarmah, Jyoti Dhurve, Dadan Mishra, Santosh Ahlawat (all BJP), C N Jayadevan (CPI), N K Premachandran (RSP), Raju Shetty (SWP) and Ambumani Ramadoss (PMK), Joice George (Ind) and S A Barne (Shiv Sena).