The question and answer game played by our MP’s in parliament

Suresh Ediga

The question and answer game played by our MP’s in parliament

In 2014, one responsible MP asks a question whether income from farming is insufficient for a large number of farmers;

The Agriculture minister responds:
As per Agriculture Census 2010-11, about 85% of the operational holdings are held by small and marginal farmers. Such holdings are generally too small to generate sufficient income for the farmers (http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/psearch/QResult16.aspx…)

Lets rewind the clock now and go back to 1998, 2008 and 2014 and see what the then MPs thought about the landless laborers

1998
The Government are implementing a number of schemes like IRDP, JRY, EAS, IAY, TRYSEM, DWCRA etc. which are designed to benefit the rural poor including landless agricultural farmers/labourers (http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/psearch/QResult12.aspx…)

2008
The Government is monitoring distribution of ceiling surplus land, Bhoodan land and wasteland to the landless rural poor.Besides, several employment generation schemes, like,National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, Integrated Wastelands Development Programme, Drought Prone Area Programme, Desert Development Programme and National Watershed Development Programme for Rainfed Areas etc. are being implemented to benefit the rural poor including landless farmers
http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/psearch/QResult14.aspx…

2014
Other measures taken by the Government for the benefit of farmers include enhancement in minimum support prices of agricultural commodities, increase in institutional credit flow to agriculture sector, debt waiver/relief, interest subvention on crop loans, revival package for strengthening Short Term Rural Cooperative Credit Structure, Crop Insurance, integrated farming system, promoting cultivation of cash crops and supplementing farmer’s income through poultry, fisheries , bee-keeping, etc
http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/psearch/QResult16.aspx…

Same question, but the response involved different programs, different schemes, different policies – but the end result remained the same. Landless farmers continued to suffer and our responsible MPs continue to ask the same questions year after year after year, elections after elections after elections and so goes the question and answer game

In Telangana, caught between life and debt

Ravi’s wife Yadamma now works as a farm labourer to support her sons. Harsha Vadlamani
Ravi’s wife Yadamma now works as a farm labourer to support her sons. (Source: Harsha Vadlamani)
Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Karimnagar |Posted: November 20, 2014 4:30 am

On the night of July 4, Korishala Ravi stepped out of his house that is right across a branch of the State Bank of Hyderabad in Kodakandla village of Medak district in Telangana. The 35-year-old farmer had applied for a loan to the branch three times but his plea was rejected each time, forcing him to turn to moneylenders. Few hours later, not too far away from the bank branch, he was found dead, his body hanging from a tree.

Ravi’s village is part of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao’s Gajwale constituency. Rao had identified it to be developed as a model village.

On September 23, Polu Rajaiah, a 48-year-old landless farmer of Thotapalli village in Karimnagar district, got himself a hair cut and asked his wife to make his favourite curry. After lunch, he went to their field about one km away, drank pesticide and died. Rajaiah had been borrowing money, first to take two acres on lease, then another four acres, and to purchase seeds and fertilisers, but his maize crop had failed, leaving
him with a debt of Rs 3 lakh.

Since Rao took over as the chief minister on June 2, there have  been 79 farmer deaths officially recognised as ‘suicides’ in the newly formed state. Beera Ramulu, a farmer and RTI activist associated with NGO Rythu Swarajya Vedika, puts the number at more than 300. Most of these farmers died in Warangal (83), Karimnagar (40) and Medak (70) districts. However, Agriculture Minister P Srinivas Reddy says not all farmer suicides are related to crops.

Like most of the others, Rajaiah and Ravi were both tenant farmers, and they did not fit anywhere in the system designed to help and protect farmers — be it loan eligibility cards, crop loans, easy bank credit, farm-loan waiver scheme or agriculture subsidies — as they had no land to show as collateral. That left them at the mercy of moneylenders charging interest rates as high as 24 per cent per annum. Now their families have to prove the deaths were solely linked to their crops to be entitled to ex-gratia — another uphill battle.

On November 13, the RBI issued a circular to all banks on financing ‘Bhoomi heen kisan (landless farmers)’, as per an announcement in the Budget. Under it, landless farmers can form ‘Joint Liability Groups’ and avail of loans through NABARD for farm and non-farm activities, standing as guarantors for each other. The measure, it is believed, would go a long way towards resolving denial of loans to landless farmers. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has proposed financing at least 5 lakh joint farming groups this financial year.

Ravi’s brother Balanarasimha, a taxi driver, says Ravi’s loan applications were rejected because he didn’t own any land to show as collateral. “They asked for land ownership documents first to even consider the application,” he says. Ravi had taken five acres on lease to grow cotton, maize and paddy, of which two acres belonged to a relative who had already taken a loan on the land. The owner of the remaining three acres refused to give him a lease agreement, which would have made Ravi eligible for loan. State Bank of Hyderabad Kodakandla Branch Manager Sheikh Abdul Kareem says, “Farmers seeking loans have to give us a copy of the land title in his name, or, in case of tenants, a copy of the lease agreement signed by the owner. We cannot give loans if the documents are not clear or there is a dispute regarding ownership.” The Korakandla branch caters to nine nearby villages, with at least 7,000 farmers. Since January, it has given 500 new crop loans and rescheduled 700 old loans under the Telangana government’s crop loan waiver scheme, but the amount of loan given is very small. For cotton crop, it is Rs 20,000 while for paddy, it is Rs 18,000 per season. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) government in the state had announced a Rs 17,000 crore farm loan waiver scheme, to fulfill its poll promise. Under the scheme, outstanding amounts as on March 31, 2014 on crop loans up to Rs one lakh are waived off. This rescheduling of loans makes farmers eligible for fresh loans. The government order issued on August 13, however, clearly stated that the scheme covers only institutional loans and not loans from non-institutional sources. Ravi also tried to get a loan from Telangana Scheduled Castes Cooperative Finance Corporation Ltd through the bank, but the policy is still under discussion. Managing Director of the corporation B Jayaraj says once the budget is passed in the Assembly, the government will decide the loan and subsidy ratio. Admitting a “few inherent deficiencies”, State Bank of Hyderabad General Manager J Sitapathy Sarma says, “Denial of loans to landless farmers is a major issue and needs a change of policy which will make them eligible even if they are unable to show collateral.” He, however, insists that farmers must make an effort to at least get a loan eligibility certificate from the village or mandal revenue officer. The State Bank of Hyderabad is the convener of the State-Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC). Meanwhile, in order to meet their 18 per cent target fixed for farm loans, banks classify all kinds of loans under the agriculture sector. For example, the SLBC said in July that banks in Telangana had given Rs 49,564 crore loans to the agriculture sector in 2013-14. But when the state government sought details of the accounts of individual farmers who were given loans, SLBC revised the figure to Rs 12,000 crore on March 31, 2014. Banks were apparently also bunching agricultural loans with those taken by farmers for jewellery, marriages, and other non-farm expenses. There are many examples of farmers taking loans for digging or repairing bore wells and paying children’s fees. When crops fail, all these add to their loan burden. “Thousands of farmers are caught in a vicious cycle of debts due to low yields or total crop failure. There is constant pressure from moneylenders and when it does not rain and crops start failing, all they can think of is escaping it by taking their own lives,” says activist Beera Ramulu. TRS politburo member and Karimnagar MP B Vinod Kumar admits the plight of landless farmers who take land on lease. “We need far-reaching reforms in the lending process to include landless farmers in the credit system. In 2010-11, banks introduced business correspondents in villages to make the process of giving loans easier but the correspondents recommend only those who have something to mortgage,” Kumar says. With no options, Ravi had borrowed money from relatives and other villagers at 24 per cent per annum. Documents show he took two loans at 18 per cent interest each, to pay Rs 50,000 upfront to take five acres on lease, and two loans at 24 per cent interest each. “The yield of the maize crop was not good due to inadequate rainfall. The paddy also failed,” says Ravi’s brother. Ravi’s wife Yadamma now works as farm labour, earning Rs 100 a day to support her sons Shiva and Sai. Rajaiah never thought of approaching a bank although three — Andhra Bank, State Bank of Hyderabad and UCO Bank — have branches in Husnabad, 25 km from his Thotapalli village. “We don’t own even a small piece of land, bank officials do not even look at your application. He did not get the loan eligibility card so there was no point going to the bank,” his wife Komaramma says. In 2011, the AP Government introduced a system of giving loan eligibility cards to tenant farmers. Village Revenue Officers, tehsildars, Mandal Revenue Officers could issue the card to a tenant farmer after ascertaining that farming is his only profession, is a genuine farmer, and has taken land on lease. In the presence of the village sarpanch and witnesses, a gram sabha is held and the farmer is given the eligibility card. “But revenue officials are wary of giving the eligibility cards fearing that they will be held accountable if the farmer fails to repay although the government order states that it is not the responsibility of government officials. When officials verify and find that the farmer has some outstanding loan already, they don’t issue the card. This way the system has slowly stopped working and very few cards are given,’’ says RTI activist and member of Rythu Swaraj Vedika Kondal Reddy. In Mallampalli village of Mulug Mandal in Warangal, Merugu Achala, 21, works up to eight hours in a cotton field for Rs 100-130 per day. Her husband killed himself recently over pressure from moneylenders after their cotton crop failed. Achala borrowed Rs 15,000 recently to pay the school fees of her daughter and son, in Class I and kindergarten respectively. The loan outstanding in her husband’s name is already around Rs 1 lakh, but Achala is determined to keep her children in a private school. “My husband did not want them to work in the fields and wished they got proper jobs when they grew up. I too don’t want them to ever work in agriculture,” she says. – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/in-telangana-caught-between-life-and-debt/4/#sthash.CXKQ5uO9.dpuf

Stronger plant variety protection may threaten the right to food  

Governments in industrial countries regularly put pressure on developing countries to introduce stringent plant variety protection (PVP) regimes and to adhere to the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention, without duly considering its consequences on the enjoyment of human rights of vulnerable groups such as small-scale farmers and in particular women. New research shows, the expansion of intellectual property rights on seeds might well restrict small-scale farmers’ practices of seed saving and use, exchange and selling in the informal seed supply system, limiting access to seeds and putting their right to food at risk.

రాజధాని కి ముప్పై వేల ఎకరాలు అవసరమా?

land grab

హర్ష గజ్జారపు

a) ప్రపంచ అతి పెద్ద ప్రజాస్వామ్యం చిహ్నమయిన ‘భారతీయ ప్రలమెంటరీ భవనం’ కేవలం 9.8 ఎకరాల మొత్తం ప్రాంగణంలో కేవలం 6 ఎకరాలలో నిర్మించబడింది.
b) అగ్రరాజ్యం అమెరికాలోని ‘వైట్ హౌస్’ కుడా కేవలం 18 ఎకరాలలో నిర్మించబడింది.
c) హైదరాబాద్ లోని అసెంబ్లీ, సెక్రటేరియట్, MLA క్వాటర్ మరయు ఇతర అభికారుల భవానాలు అన్ని కలిపి కేవలం 250 ఎకరాలలో నిర్మించబడ్డాయి.

వీటినిబట్టి, కొత్త రాజధాని నిర్మాణానికి అసలు “30,000 ఎకరాల భూమి” ఎందుకుకావాలి..??

30,000 ఎకారాలంటే, సుమారు 121 చదరపు కిలోమీటర్ల విస్తీర్ణత.
బెంగుళూరు లోని విధాన్ సౌధా, MLA క్వాటర్ మరయు రాజ్ భవన్ అన్ని కలిపి కేవలం 1.5 చదరపు కిలోమీటర్ల విస్తీర్ణతలో నిర్మించబడ్డాయి.
మరి, కొత్త రాజదానికి 30,000 ఎకారాలు (121 చదరపు కిలోమీటర్ల విస్తీర్ణత) భూములు అవసరమా.??

30,000 ఎకారాలు (121 చదరపు కిలోమీటర్ల విస్తీర్ణత) అంటే, అది విజయవాడ-గుంటూరు రెండు నగరాలను కలపగా వచ్చే విస్తీర్ణత కంటే ఎక్కువ!
దేనికోసం అంత భూమి.??

దానికి తోడు, ఆ పొలాల్లో నాలుగు పంటలు పండుతాయి.
ఆ భూముల్లో 20 అడుగుల్లోనే నీరు ఉంటుంది.
ఐదేళ్లుగా వర్షం పడకపోయినా, ఆ భూముల్లో బంగారం లాంటి పంటలు పండుతున్నాయి.

ఇటువంటి అమూల్యమైన వ్యవసాయ భూములను, రైతులనుండి లాక్కొని, వారికి నష్టం కలిగించేలా, వారి జీవనోపాధి దూరంచీసి, వారి భూములను రియల్ ఎస్టేట్ వ్యాపార-బిల్డర్లకు కట్టబెట్టడం, ‘ధర్మమా’..??

https://www.facebook.com/harshagajjarapu/photos/a.239939709527493.1073741827.239855182869279/294654480722682/?type=1&comment_id=294703450717785&reply_comment_id=294828367371960&offset=0&total_comments=15&notif_t=photo_comment_tagged

హామీ…మాఫీ

మోహన్ రుషి

ముఖ్యమంత్రిగా చంద్రబాబు అధికారం చేపట్టి ఐదు నెలలు పూర్తయింది. కానీ గెలవగానే తొలి సంతకం చేస్తానంటూ ఎన్నికల్లో ఆయనిచ్చిన హామీ మాత్రం ఇప్పటికీ నెరవేరలేదు. తమ పార్టీ గెలిస్తే రైతు రుణాలన్నీ మాఫీ చేస్తానని, తొలి సంతకం ఆ ఫైలుపైనే అని చెప్పిన చంద్రబాబు చేసిందేంటో తెలుసా? రుణ మాఫీ ఎలా చేయాలో చెప్పండంటూ ఓ కమిటీని మాత్రం వేశారు. ఆ తరవాత మాఫీపై ఎన్ని మాయదారి ఫీట్లు వేశారో తెలుసా? అడుగడుగునా ఆంక్షలు విధించారు.
సాధ్యమైనంత ఎక్కువ మంది రైతులకు ప్రయోజనం కల్పించాల్సిన ముఖ్యమంత్రి… వీలైనంత ఎక్కువ మందిని ఈ మాఫీ పరిధి నుంచి తప్పించడానికి బోలెడంత కసరత్తు చేశారు. ఆ ఫీట్ల ఫలితమేంటో తెలుసా? రైతులకు ఇప్పటికీ ఒక్క రూపాయి మాఫీ కాలేదు. సరికదా… రాష్ట్రంలోని రైతులు, డ్వాక్రా మహిళలపై ఇప్పటికి దాదాపు 17,500 కోట్ల వడ్డీ భారం (16 నెలలకు) పడింది. రుణ మాఫీ విషయంలో ఏపీ సీఎం చంద్రబాబు మాయదారి ఫీట్ల తీరుతెన్నులు మీరే చూడండి…
బాబు ఏ సందర్భంలో ఏం చెప్పారో… తరవాత ఆ మాట ఎలా తప్పారో ఒక్కసారి చూస్తే…
►రైతులు, డ్వాక్రా మహిళల రుణాలన్నింటినీ మాఫీ చేస్తామని ఎన్నికల ముందు హామీ ఇచ్చారు. టీడీపీ ఎన్నికల ప్రణాళికలో కూడా ఇదే హామీని పొందు పరిచారు. ళీ ముఖ్యమంత్రిగా ప్రమాణం చేసిన వేదికపై రుణాలు మాఫీ చేస్తూ సంతకం పెట్టలేదు. రుణాల మాఫీ విధివిధానాల ఖరారు కోసం కోటయ్య కమిటీని ఏర్పాటు చేస్తూ ఆ ఫైలుపై సంతకం చేశారు.
►కోటయ్య కమిటీ నివేదిక ఇవ్వక ముందే మంత్రులు మాట్లాడుతూ.. రుణ మాఫీకి ఆధార్ లింక్ పెడతామన్నారు. ఆ తర్వాత లక్ష రూపాయల వరకే మాఫీ అన్నారు. మరోసారి లక్షన్నర వరకు మాఫీ అన్నారు. మరో మంత్రి బంగారంపై తీసుకున్న రుణాల మాఫీ సాధ్యం కాదని చెప్పేశారు.
►ఇక ముఖ్యమంత్రి జూన్ 22న కోటయ్య కమిటీతో నిర్వహించిన సమీక్షలో ‘రుణ మాఫీ తర్వాత చూద్దాం. ప్రస్తుతానికి గత ఖరీఫ్‌లో కరువు, తుపాను ప్రభావిత 575 మండలాల్లో రైతుల రుణాలను రీ షెడ్యూల్ చేయిద్దాం.
►ఆర్‌బీఐ గవర్నర్‌తో మాట్లాడండి..’ అంటూ ఆదేశించారు. ళీ జూన్ 29న రాష్ట్ర స్థాయి బ్యాంకర్ల కమిటీ సమావేశంలో వ్యవసాయ రుణాలు రూ.87,612 వేల కోట్లు, మహిళా సంఘాల రుణాలు రూ.14,204 వేల కోట్లు ఉన్నట్లు తేల్చారు. ళీ ఆర్‌బీఐ ఎగ్జిక్యూటివ్ డెరైక్టర్ రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వానికి లేఖ రాస్తూ రైతు రుణ బకాయిలను రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వం ఒకేసారి బ్యాంకులకు చెల్లిస్తే రుణ మాఫీకి అభ్యంతరం లేదన్నారు.
►కోటయ్య కమిటీ ఆర్‌బీఐతో రుణాల రీ షెడ్యూల్‌పై జరిపిన చ ర్చలు విఫలం అయ్యాయి. ఆర్‌బీఐ కేవలం నాలుగు జిల్లాల్లో 120 మండలాల్లోని పంట రుణాల రీ షెడ్యూల్‌కే అనుమతించింది.
►జూలై 21న కోటయ్య కమిటీ ముఖ్యమంత్రికి నివేదిక అందజేసింది. అదేరోజు చంద్రబాబు విలేకరులతో మాట్లాడుతూ ఈ ఏడాది మార్చి నెలాఖరు వరకు ఉన్న వ్యవసాయ రుణాలను మాఫీ చేస్తామని ప్రకటించారు. ఒక్కో కుటుంబానికి లక్షన్నర వరకు మాఫీ చేస్తామన్నారు. డ్వాక్రా సంఘాలకు మాఫీ చేయబోమని, మూల ధన సాయంగా ఒక్కో సంఘానికి లక్ష రూపాయల వరకు ఇస్తామని చెప్పారు.
►ఆగస్టు 14న మాఫీకి పలు ఆంక్షలు విధిస్తూ ఆర్థిక శాఖ మార్గదర్శకాలను జారీ చేసింది. గత ఏడాది డిసెంబర్ 31వ తేదీ వరకు తీసుకున్న పంట రుణాలు, బంగారం కుదవ పెట్టి తీసుకున్న వ్యవసాయ రుణాలు, ఆ రుణాలపై ఈ ఏడాది మార్చి వరకు అయ్యే వడ్డీ కలిపి ఒక్కో కుంటుంబానికి లక్షన్నర వరకు మాఫీ పరిధిలోకి వస్తాయని అందులో పేర్కొన్నారు.
►ఆర్థిక శాఖ తొలి మార్గదర్శకాలను సవరిస్తూ ఈ నెల 1న మరో జీవో జారీ అరుుంది. దాన్లోనూ గత ఏడాది డిసెంబర్ 31వ తేదీ వరకు తీసుకున్న రుణాలకు, అప్పటిదాకా వడ్డీకి మాత్రమే మాఫీ అంటూ వడ్డీలోనూ కోత పెట్టారు.
►23 అంశాలతో రూపొందించిన నమూనా పత్రంలో బ్యాంకులు రైతుల ఖాతాల వివరాలను రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వం రూపొందించిన ప్రత్యేక వెబ్‌సైట్‌కు అందజేయాలని పేర్కొన్నారు. ఆ గడువు ఈ నెల 1తో ముగిసింది. చివరకు బ్యాంకులు చచ్చీచెడీ మొత్తం డేటాను అందజేసినా… మాఫీకి అర్హులైన వారి జాబితాను ఇంకా ప్రకటించలేదు

Patent industry selling out future of our food

The international coalition of “No Patents on Seeds” published a report on patents on seeds on the 23d of october. The report was prompted by the fact that the European Patent Office (EPO) has already granted several thousand patents on plants and seeds, with a steadily increasing number of patents on plants and seeds derived from conventional breeding. Around 2400 patents on plants and 1400 patents on animals have been granted in Europe since the 1980s. More than 7500 patent applications for plants and around 5000 patents for animals are pending. Amongst others, the EPO has already granted more than 120 patents on conventional breeding and about 1000 such patent applications are pending. The scope of many of the patents is extremely broad and very often covers the whole food chain from production to consumption.

“Stop Pesticide Poisonings – A time travel through international pesticide policies”

The popular PAN Germany publication

“Stop Pesticide Poisonings – A time travel through international pesticide policies”

is now available as an updated, extended and newly layouted edition at:
http://www.pan-germany.org/download/stop_pesticide_poisonings_141002.pdf

Does ‘No Pesticide’ Reduce Suicides?

  1. Lakshmi Vijayakumar

    1. SNEHA and Voluntary Health Services, Adyar, Chennai, India,dr_svk@vsnl.com
  1. R. Satheesh-Babu

    1. Mamata Medical College, Khammam, India

Abstract

Introduction: Ingestion of pesticides is the most common method of suicide, particularly in China, Sri Lanka and India. Reported pesticide suicides in India numbered 22,000 in the year 2006.z

Method: Four villages in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India that had stopped using chemical pesticides in favour of non-pesticide management (NPM) were visited to assess any change in suicide incidence before and after discontinuation of chemical pesticides. Four similar villages in the same region that continued to use chemical pesticides were used as controls for comparison.

Results: In the pesticide-free villages there were 14 suicides before introduction of NPM and only three suicides thereafter. The percentage of suicides not reported to authorities was 47%.

Conclusion: Restriction of pesticide availability and accessibility by NPM has the potential to reduce pesticide suicides, in addition to psychosocial and health interventions.

Huhud crop recovery Advice-1

#Hudhud #CropAdvisory #eKrishi

On the fateful day of 12th October, 2014 a severe cyclone HudHud has stuck the north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh. Twenty one people in Andhra Pradesh and 3 in Odisha have lost their lives. Thousands of acres of paddy fields, banana, coconut, cashew and mango orchards are severely damaged. Over 250,000 people in 320 villages in the districts of Vishakapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh are severely affected. Crops planted over 144,174 hectares have been damaged and the expected production loss is 230,206 tonnes. In Odisha Hudhud has impacted 247,557 hectares (ha) of agricultural land, of which 40,484.5 ha have sustained crop loss of over 50 per cent in Gajapati, Koraput, Malkangiri and Rayagada districts.

State-wise crop advisory is given below for adoption of contingency measures to minimize and prevent further damage in standing crops.

141024 Advisory for Hudhud affected areas in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha