Naidu calls for special session of parliament to discuss farmers' woes
Hyderabad, Sep.14 (ANI): Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday that there was need for a special session of parliament to discuss solutions to end the woes of farmers.
Addressing media in Hyderabad, Naidu pointed out that farmers have been compelled to take a crop holiday as mark of protest against the government's 'skewed' agricultural policies.
About 600 million Indians-nearly half the population of 1.2 billion-are dependent on farming, even though agriculture makes up only 14.6 percent of the economy and has been declining from 30 percent a decade ago.
Little wonder then, that Indian farmers are finding it ever more difficult to make ends meet, despite the growing economic clout of the country in the global markets.
A recent survey conducted by India's National Sample Survey Organisation showed 40 percent of Indian farmers would quit farming, if they had the choice, an alarming revelation for a country where two-thirds of the billion-plus people live in villages.
According to certain analysts, an estimated 150,000 small farmers have committed suicides in India since the mid-1990s, most of them over debts. Especially in Andhra Pradesh, which has been an epicenter of farmers' suicides in the recent past, farmers have been demanding better prices from the government since years.
Highlighting these trends and the brewing discontent among thousands of farmers in Andhra Pradesh on the issue of meagre compensation and low remuneration for their produce, Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern on the prevailing situation by revealing disturbing statistics.
"Farmers want a special session of parliament to discuss about the present depressing conditions in agriculture. Agriculture is becoming unremunerative. According to the latest study, 42 percent of the people who are engaged in agriculture at present, they want to leave agriculture in the future. This is a very dangerous tendency. At the same time in Andhra (southern state of Andhra Pradesh), certain parts of Andhra, farmers have taken to crop holiday. More than three lakh (three hundred thousand) acres of paddy growing farmers, they have taken holiday," said Naidu.
Farmers across the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh are demanding comprehensive crop insurance scheme, good seed and fertiliser policies, timely and adequate credit to the agriculture sector, which many feel should be taken up by the government.
Meanwhile, Naidu warned that the Indian economy faced grave consequences unless corrective action was taken to address the issues of the farmers, while urging the government to implement the Dr. M.S Swaminathan Commission report at the earliest.
"It will have a very serious dimension in the future unless timely action is taken. It will have disastrous consequences on the food security of the country, on the economy of the country also. That is why, the BJP feels, there is a need to discuss the issues raised by Swaminathan Commission. A special session of the parliament has to be called for one week, and without taking up other issues, all of us, irrespective of political parties, cutting across party lines, we should all join together, put our heads together, and discuss this crisis. It is something unheard, it is happening after 64 years of independence. That is why we are concerned. Farmers are losing heavily, farmers want remunerative prices," added Venkaiah Naidu.
The Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Commission's report on agriculture, submitted to the federal government in 2009, examined myriad problems faced by Indian farmers and also gave certain recommendations to resolve them.
An eminent agricultural scientist, Swaminathan led India's Green Revolution in the 1960s that helped make this vast nation self-sufficient in food.
India's farm sector has changed remarkably little since the advent of the Green Revolution, while other industries have been transformed over the past two decades.
To address issues of food shortages and farmers' woes, economists and scientists are now calling for a range of policy initiatives, such as allowing genetically modified crops, greater investment in irrigation, better economics in farming and greater government attention to agriculture. (ANI)
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