Checking Farmer Suicides Suggest three effective measures to check the menace of farmers and farm labourers in debt

committing suicide. Notwithstanding the fact that India has made stupendous strides in the manufacturing and service sectors, our economy still depends upon the fruits of agriculture and other farm produce. It is both shocking and shaming that over the years a large number of marginal farmers and farm labourers in debt have committed suicide. Despite the one time Central government’s massive farm loan waiver running upto seventy one thousand crores, the menace of ‘farmer suicides’ continues to stare us in the face. The problem of debt that leads to depression and subsequent suicides on the part of farmers cries for some effective measures. Experts and knowledgeable persons strongly feel that besides monetary compensation to the families of victims, the need to initiate rehabilitative and integrative programmes for the dependents is urgent and imperative. Whatever measures are planned to be taken, should bear in mind the need to check the menace, as also to rehabilitate the families of the victims. The factors that lead to farmers’ indebtedness must be thoroughly probed by agricultural experts and their recommendations to remove the causes of indebtedness must be given concrete action-cum-resulted shape. Mere verbal assurances and drab discussions on the farmers’ plight won’t change the dismal scenario in which the poor farmer under debt finds himself. Subsidies on farm inputs, cheap loans, round the clock irrigation facilities and remunerative prices for agricultural produce, as recommended by the M.S. Swaminathan report, would go a long way in making agriculture a paying proposition. What we badly need to cope with the problem is to formulate an overall plan of action including infrastructure development like health and education, identification of agri-based industry and other economic activities, special package for reducing the economic burden of the vulnerable sections, to check illicit drug use and alcoholism and above all wasteful expenditure on social ceremonies.

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