Farmer suicide stats flawed, says report

SANJAY BASAK

NEW DELHI, MAR 24:  The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, in its report (2006-07), has targeted the government for providing “incorrect information” relating to farmers’ suicides across the country. Hitting out at the Centre, the committee has also observed that the schemes for rehabilitation of farmers have been inadequate and the PM’s package for Vidarbha region in Maharashtra has failed to reach the victims.

In its 23rd report, the Committee came down heavily on the government over the official figures on farmers’ suicides. As per official statistics, during the last five years, 11,782 farmers committed suicide. The report, however, says: “The figure provided by the department of agriculture and cooperation does not seem to be correct.” It argued that in Maharashtra alone, the number of cases projected by the department was 142 in 2005. It then pointed out that in the same year, there were reports of nearly 435 suicides in Vidarbha. The Committee asked the Centre to “straighten its records and ask state governments to project the factual position, so that the government and people are aware of the actual position”.

The Committee also criticised the Centre for not being able to bring any relief to the farmers. Targeting the PM’s package for Vidarbha region, the report claimed that the benefits were not reaching the farmers. “This is a glaring example of the inefficiency of the government in ameliorating the conditions of the farmers,” the report said

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