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Budget 2008-09 Wolf in sheep clothing

By Dr. Vandana Shiva Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, delivered his 2008-09, budget speech in Parliament on February 29, 2008 as revolutionary and path breaking and a solution to farmers distress. However, it continues on the path of trade liberalisation, corporate control and debt creation that has led to massive dislocation of farmers and the epidemic of farmers suicides. The budget is in fact a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Why are farmers committing suicide? The reasons are clear—rising costs of production and falling prices of agricultural produce. The government’s pride in announcing that agricultural credit has reached Rs. 2,40,000 crore by March 2008 hides the fact that more credit means more […]

Exit Policy for Farmers

As India is dumped with cheap agricultural products, farmers are being squeezed out of their livelihood, putting the nation’s food security at stake Devinder Sharma Delhi When Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the other day that India could do with 20 per cent of the existing farmers, he was merely echoeing what the World Bank/IMF have been saying for long. No wonder, the government seems to be in a tearing hurry to lay out an ‘exit policy’ for farmers. From food self-sufficiency to market economy, the world has come a long way since the days of Green Revolution. But some 20 years back with the World Bank/IMF clearly tying […]

Vidarbha suicides: A concern for the nation

Narendra Ch 03 April 2008, Thursday ON GOING Vidarbha agrarian crisis has hit hard third year in row when 1211 distressed farmers committed suicides as per “Farmer suicide dairy” of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), which has released monthly and district wise data of farmers suicides listed by the VJAS, activist group keeping track of farmers suicides since 1999. In spite of a major new initiative from the Union Government, the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) which aims at increasing the production of rice by 10 million tonnes (MT), of wheat by eight MT, and of pulses by two MT during the 11th Five Year Plan with an envisaged […]

Punjab farmers debt ridden Farmers of Punjab, the wheat bowl of India, are also more debt ridden when compared to agriculturists in other states of the country. The debt burden in Punjab far outstrips the national average. Figures divulge that Punjab has an agrarian per capita debt of 1,025 US dollars in contrast to the national per capita debt of 300 US dollars. They hope that the `loan waiver’ announced by the Centre for farmers would be implemented early, and ways would be found to provide relief for the farmers who have taken loans from the moneylenders. As of now, under the present scheme farm loans granted by scheduled commercial banks and co-operatives […]

DEVELOPMENT-INDIA: Cotton Farmers in Distress – Relief Given Elsewhere

By Jaideep Hardikar* Jyoti holds up the picture of her husband Santosh Deshmukh, one of three indebted Deshmukh men who committed suicide Credit:Jaideep Hardikar/IPS PUNE, Maharashtra, Mar 21 (IPS) – On Mar. 4, barely four days after Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced a mammoth loan waiver for farmers, 55-year-old Dattu Chaudhary, who owned 3 hectares (ha) of land committed suicide in Nara village in Maharashtra state. Two other farmers also ended their lives on the same day. All three were dry-land cotton farmers in Vidarbha, a region synonymous with farmers’ suicides in India. Poor cotton growers have been driven to death by debt. Chaudhury gave up hope when he […]

Vidarbha widows forced into prostitution, March 12, 2007 (Amravati):The families of suicide hit farmers in Vidarbha are being forced into prostitution and into the hands of sex trafficking network.Every day a cotton farmer commits suicide in the region and every day a new widow is born.Twenty-six-year-old Rekha has two sons and lives in Amravati district – Vidharbha’s suicide centre.Two years ago, pushed to the brink by moneylenders and a debt of Rs 30,000, her husband drank insecticide and killed himself.That changed Rekha’s world forever. Today she is a prostitute. Her clients include truck drivers on the highway linking Amravati to Mumbai.She has to get to work from nine in the morning and has no […]

Package to pluck SEZ land thorns… New Delhi, March 7: A proposal has been mooted to confine special economic zones (SEZs) to wasteland. However, in states where acquisition of farmland is unavoidable, SEZs should be allowed on the condition that wasteland would be upgraded into cultivable land to ensure “food security”. The proposals are part of a blueprint drawn up by the rural development ministry, which has been asked by the Prime Minister to work on a rehabilitation package for land acquisition for SEZs. In a written submission to Murli Manohar Joshi, the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on industry, the ministry said: “SEZs should be established preferably on wasteland… where use of […]

[Hindu] A question of Indian pride… TABISH KHAIRIndia’s democratic experiment, with all its flaws, and the often-dismissed version of Nehru-Gandhian secularism are things Indians can be proud of. But these are seldom the things that Indians are asked to be proud of.Who cares about farmer suicides now? Who cares about the children of immigrant workers? India is busy following the West, even when accusing it of racism, following It faithfully into the fast lane of neo-liberalist progress.THE 60th year of independent India started with a fog that grounded most domestic flights and closed schools in North India throughout the first two weeks of January.In Noida, the booming chaotic suburb of Delhi, which is actually in […]


India’s Dam Shame • Polavaram Dam is economically unviable. • It will adversely affect the Andhra Pradesh budget for decades. • The dam will take resources from other vitally needed infrastructure. • The supposed benefits of the dam will be reality only to a few people in Andhra pradesh. • Politicians and bureaucrats who do not want to tackle the tougher issues of failing infrastructure and inadequate services hope the dam project will make people feel they are doing something about water problems in Andhra Pradesh. • Polavaram Dam will dislocate the lives of at least one million people. • The proposed compensation package is inadequate and will not be delivered […]

Failure in Irrigation…. Business Standard / New Delhi February 21, 2007 Farmer suicides and distress in the countryside have taken on the dimensions of a national scandal. What farmers need most of all is assured water for irrigating their crops; indeed, many suicides by farmers have been traced to the disastrous drilling of bore wells that turn out to be dry or to crop failure because the rains did not come. That is why the rapid expansion of irrigation was made one of the six components of the ambitious Bharat Nirman project. So it is a tragedy that the objective has been lost sight of when it comes to budgets and programme execution. […]

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