Agrarian distress, drought, famine and indebtedness of already impoverished farmers with small land holdings, often leading to farmer suicides, is a very serious issue in India. Successive governments have launched slew of schemes and policies to modernise irrigation infrastructure, and give more support to the farmers, but these schemes are poorly implemented at best, and remain only policies on papers at worst.
Around 330 million people in India suffer from drought due to scarce rainfall and water shortage. Farmers of 10 states in India are reeling under drought and crop loss. The situation is worst in small, inaccessible villages. Poor farmers have lost whatever paltry savings they had and are now unable to even make both ends meet.
In Delhi, drought-stricken farmers from Tamil Nadu held a protest to highlight their plight and draw attention of PM Modi. The farmers displayed skulls of their fellow farmers who committed suicide and placed rats in their mouths to give a message that situation is so dire that they would be forced to eat rats. Many farmers have committed suicide in Tamil Nadu due to their inability to return loans to moneylenders and banks.
As per National Crime Records Bureau ( NCRB) data 12,600 farmers committed suicide in 2015 alone. 60% of suicides were because of impoverishment and inability to return loans.This is severely distressing.
Modi government had launched a national crop damage insurance scheme, farmer compensation programme and promised improvised irrigation facilities, but the farmers say these schemes have not benefited them in any way. The implementation is at snail’s pace.