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In India’s grain bowl, farms face threat from MNREGS

By C.J. Kuncheria CHANDIGARH, India (Reuters) – Sitting at the edge of fields in the heart of India’s grain bowl, Gurdayal Singh Malik shakes his head in resignation about the lack of workers needed for his 60-acre farm, blaming the government’s flagship welfare program, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), for the shortage. Ever since the start of the program, which guarantees 100 days of work a year for rural households, the flow of migrant labour to Punjab and Haryana has dropped to a trickle, forcing farmers such as Malik to hike farm wages massively — and still he cannot find enough workers. “Labourers used to come […]

Suicides among the Mazdoors

http://www.newageweekly.com/2011/04/farmers-indebtedness-suicides-in-punjab_22.html There is nearly one suicide a day on average by farmers or agricultural labourers in just two districts, Bathinda and Sangrur, where deaths due to indebtedness are common (Hindustan Times, 27 April 2009). But of this phenomenon, a large number is of agricultural labourers. But their suicides do not commonly make “news” despite the fact that agrarian suicides have always remained a topic of discussion. According to figures from the National Crime Records Bureau, there were at least 16,196 farmers’ suicides in India in 2008, bringing the total since 1997 to 1,99,132.4 Punjab too has its hefty share in this pool of suicides though it finds a rare mention […]

Farmers’ Indebtedness, Suicides in Punjab – Field Notes on Agricultural Labourers of Punjab

http://www.newageweekly.com/2011/04/farmers-indebtedness-suicides-in-punjab.html By Vishav Bharti Like many other parts of the country, the phrase “farmer suicides” resonates in Punjab too. Though late, the term “agrarian crisis” had begun gaining ground in the State by the second half of 1990s with peasant struggles intensifying, and a hue and cry being raised by some politicians, besides newspaper reports, especially in the Punjabi press. However, in this debate, the politics and resistance of the crisis largely remained confined to the upper caste farmer community and the term “agrarian crisis” soon became synonymous with the crisis of farmers. Of course, farm ers were the biggest sufferers of Punjab’s agrarian crisis. But they were not the […]

Flawed approach to hunger

Wprocurement by the Food Corporation of India is running at record high level. Punjab tops the list with an increase of more than 57 per cent, 69.51 lakh tonnes in 2006-07 to 109.18 lakh tonnes in 2011-12. All the states put together, the increase is more than 300 per cent, from 92.31 lakh tonnes to 261.86 lakh tonnes in the same period. This is a mind-boggling increase in offtake by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the heavy wheat inflow into the mandis in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh continues. The current procurement at 25.38 million tonnes (mt) is about a third of the total expected current harvest […]

Grapes of Wrath

Divya A, TNN, Apr 4, 2010, 03.02am IST Many believe that a debt-ridden farmer’s problems end when he ends his life. But it is just the start of a tragic trajectory for those left behind. Especially his widow and children. By default, they become responsible for the debts the dead man has left behind. Thousands of such widows are trapped in the web of debt in the cotton belt of Punjab, comprising sparsely populated districts such as Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar, Ferozepur and Sangrur. A recent study by the Ludhiana-based Punjab Agricultural University in the districts of Bathinda and Sangrur found there had been around 3,000 suicides between 2000 and 2008. […]

‘Punjab: 3,000 farmer suicides in 8 years’

Priya Yadav, TNN, 24 January 2010, 04:44am IST CHANDIGARH: While Punjab remains, in popular perception, the land of plenty, a group of economists at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) has revealed that the picture isn’t rosy at all — in fact it’s grim. Rural indebtedness has touched Rs 35,000 crore and, worse, 3,000 debt-ridden farmers have committed suicide in the last eight years. Economists are also relating the suicides with high illiteracy among the poor farmers and say Punjab needs to increase expenditure on education. “Rural debts are mounting rapidly and have touched Rs 35,000 crore in the year 2009-2010 as against Rs 21,640 crore in 2007,” said Sukhpal Singh, senior PAU […]

A hidden truth of farmer’s suicide

BY CHENNAIVISION AT 27 APRIL, 2009, 2:29 PM Ludhiana, A glaring and sad aspect of suicides in the agriculture sector in Punjab is that the families of the victims not only had to sell land, but also other assets such as farm machinery, gold to repay their debts. A government-sponsored study conducted by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Bathinda and Sangrur districts came across 2,990 suicides in the farm sector from 2000 to 2008. Of these, 1757 were farmers and the remaining farm labourers. Of these, 1288 farmers and 671 labourers ended their lives because of debts. As many as 227 families in Bathinda district sold land worth Rs 7.36 […]

Farmer & Agricultural Labourers Suicides due to Indebtedness in the Punjab State — a pilot project of Sangrur and Bathinda districts

A Punjab Agricultural Univeristy report Farmer & Agricultural Labourers Suicides due to Indebtedness in the Punjab State — a pilot project of Sangrur and Bathinda districts, submitted to the Punjab government a few days back has sirred a political storm.The survey report says that 2,990 farmers had committed suicide in two districts — 1256 in Bathinda and 1634 in Sangrur district — between 2000 and 2008. This report, more or less like a household census, is considered to be the first authentic survey of the spate of suicides among farmers and agricultural workers.This report comes within a month of the Punjab government’s decision to fix a price for farmer suicides […]

It’s high time farm pricing got a booster dose

Amrita ChaudhryPosted: Sep 26, 2008 at 0110 hrs IST Ludhiana, September 25 With theWorld Bank giving a call to shift focus on agriculture to tackle food crisis, data gleaned from Punjab’s villages only add to its urgency. The national census for the year 1991 showed Punjab as having 11 lakh farming families. Of these, 45 per cent were small or marginal farmers who owned fields measuring less than five acres. This figure in the next census in 2001 slid to 9.7 lakh and the percentage of small farmers to 30 per cent. In other words, 30,000 farmers on an average quit agriculture each year. The primary reason for this has […]

Assault on farming: Punjab Government ties with Syngenta

UMENDRA DUTT Tuesday, 16 September 2008 Now it is understandable that government machinery in Punjab is more worried to offer market to MNCs rather then serving the genuine interests of farmers. Recently a Punjab government agency Markfed has signed a MoU with Syngenta to provide agrochemicals and its right practices on farmers’ doorstep. This indicates that either the government officials do not have understanding of real crisis of farmers or they do not want to understand it. There is a strong third possibility also that Marked and its parent department wants to serve MNCs only sans the poor farmers. Kheti Virasat Mission-KVM deplores this move of Markfed. The will prove […]

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