17 Jun 2017

Farmer Protests Flare Up, Several States Hit: 10 Points

NEW DELHI: Farmers across three states held protests today demanding loan waivers, a higher support price for their crops and implementation of other recommendations made by the Swaminathan Commission, which had been focusing on the reasons for farmers' distress. For several hours in Haryana, farmer unions blocked highways. In Madhya Pradesh, where six farmers died in police firing in Mandsaur on June 6, farmers demanded action against the officers responsible. Over the last week, eight farmers have committed suicide in the state. Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra -- states which have announced loan waivers for framers -- have also witnessed suicides by several farmers recently.

Here are the 10 developments of the story:

  1. A group of around 200 farmers blocked a stretch of national highway from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh as part of a nationwide chakka jam (vehicle strike)
  2. In Haryana, farmers led by Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Gurnam Singh blocked the highway near Mohra in Ambala. Farmers also held protests at Rohtak, Sonepat, Hisar, Sirsa, Jind, Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri.
  3. Despite the Yogi Adityanath government waiving loans to the tune of Rs. 35,000 crores in April, farmers alleged the government has discriminated between small farmers and ones owing bigger tracts of land.
  4. Activists say the main reason for the farmer distress is high cost of seeds, insecticides, diesel prices and low prices for produce.
  5. The National Commission on Farmers, headed by eminent agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan, submitted five reports between December 2004 and October 2006. The commission said, "The Minimum Support Price should be at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production."
  6. The opposition parties, including the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal, have lent their support to the farmers. The Congress organised a Kisan Panchayat in Kurukshetra.
  7. Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia is sitting on a 72-hour "satyagraha"' since Wednesday in support of farmers. He says if BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra can announce farm loan waivers, Madhya Pradesh, which is also ruled by the same party should be able to do it.
  8. On Thursday, the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh -- a farmer body backed by the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, held indefinite protests across Rajasthan. Loan waiver topped their list of demands. The protest was triggered by the state government's refusal to buy mustard at a minimum support price. Prices of mustard in Rajasthan, the country's largest producer, plunged after a bumper crop.
  9. Four states have waived loans for farmers -- Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  10. The Reserve Bank has frowned on the practice of loan waivers. Its governor Urjit Patel said it could dissipate the fiscal gains made by states over the last few years and asked the state governments to "tread very carefully". MS Swaminathan, too, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, said loan waivers don't provide "secure long-term credit system".
Source - NDTV

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