As many as 11,400 farmers committed suicide in 2016, said Union Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh. “According to National Crime Records Bureau data for 2016, which is yet to be published, 11,400 farmers committed suicide. In 2015, the number was 12,602,” he said in Lok Sabha on the agrarian crisis.
Farmers’ suicides could be stopped only by increasing their revenue. The government was taking essential steps, including an upsurge in budgetary allocations to the agriculture sector to end the crisis.
Earlier, Congress member Jyotiraditya Scindia criticised the government for not ensuring remunerative prices to farmers.
The Minister said the Bharatiya Janata Party had assured minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce to be 1.5 times the input cost to farmers before the 2014 general elections.
A premium of Rs 3,560 crore was paid under the crop insurance scheme and Rs 3,548 crore was distributed as insurance claims. Likewise, the total premium in 2015-16 was Rs 3,760 crore while Rs 4,710 crore was given as insurance claims.
“We are using space technology to solve the problem. We have written to states that they have to decide crops to be brought under the insurance scheme. They have to issue tender and set up their own companies if they do not want to give any benefits to (private) insurance companies. The Punjab and Gujarat governments are going to form such companies,” Radha Mohan Singh said.