Today, Indian farmers are marching to demand for parliamentary session dedicated to agrarian crisis in country. The crisis has become so grave that many farmers have committed suicide due to it.
Earlier this year, farmers had protested demanding for application of Swaminathan Report. Here is a look about what the report is about and why farmers want it to be implemented.
- It was back in 2004 that a commission was formed to deal with issues related to farmers. It name was National Commission on Farmers (NCF). It was headed by father of India’s Green Revolution, Professor MS Swaminathan. This commission submitted its 5 reports on farmers from 2004-2006.
- Last 20 years has seen rise in farmer distress. The Swaminathan report also focused on these issues like farmer suicides, debts, land problems etc. It also gave some recommendations to deal with these issues. It is an anomaly that on one hand India witnessed green revolution, on the other hand farmers who are crop producers are constantly under distress.
- No party has been able to deal with their problems. That is the reason agrarian crisis becomes issue of every election, yet there is no solution.
- According to this report, the reason of farmer distress has been unfinished agenda in land reform, quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, etc. Indian farmers lack in front of farmers across the world due to lack of technological development.
- One important recommendation of the report is land reforms. In India, the issue of land distribution has always been there. Land holding inequality is due to inequality between people in the country. Landowners and zamindars have constantly been exploiting farmers. Actually, in India farmers mostly work on land of others. They also face debt burden. As a result, they are forced to commit suicide in extreme conditions.
- According to TOI, 25% of Karnataka’s farmer committed suicides in four sugar districts in last three years.
- Even the small landholding make a never-ending debt problem for farmers. As the land is distributed amongst children in every consecutive generation, the land becomes smaller and debts become higher forcing them to suicide.
- Waving-off farmer loans has become a new jumla for elections. Instead, farmers don’t even receive MSP (minimum selling price) for their produce.
- NCRB stopped publishing its data in 2016 which is also being seen as a conspiracy. It not only made people devoid of crime stats of country, but it also stopped them from getting stats about farmer suicides.
Swaminathan report is just a small step to help farmers to live life of dignity. Yet, a lot needs to be done for farmers who want government to start working for their welfare. Can they believe the government under whom protesting farmers die due to police bullets?