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Statement issued by Shri P L Punia, MP& Spokesperson, AICC 20-3-2017

The Financial year is ending and the harvest season is round the corner. Normally it is indicative of prosperity, happiness and steady economic activity amongst farmers and farming community. Sadly, this year, there is news of widespread distress amongst the farmers of the country. The latest report from the National Crime Records Bureau (2015) states that - 12,602 people involved in the farming sector (comprising 8,007 farmers/cultivators and 4,595 agricultural labourers) have committed suicide in 2015. This is a sad commentary on the status of our Annadata– the Kisaan, who are forced to undergoing hardship and tribulations under the present BJP Government at centre.

The Government is flashing 6% Agricultural Growth. But there is a yawning gap between the growth numbers and the actual reality.  The fact is that from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Tripura to Maharashtra- the Indian farmer is facing acute adversity. South India is reeling under severe drought, this year. A large group of farmers from Tamil Nadu are protesting here at Jantar Mantar displaying skulls and bones of their brethren farmers who have committed suicide. Farmers from Andhra, Telangana, Kerala are also reeling under severe government apathy.

For the first time in decades, farm suicides in the North East have risen 4 times in just a year. We had never heardof farm suicide deaths from the North East, but according to NCRB data, Northeast has seen more than four-time jump in farmers' suicides from 21 in 2014 to 95 cases last year.The number in Assam increased to 84 last year while seven cases were reported in Arunachal Pradesh, two in Meghalaya and one each in Manipur and Tripura.

Maharashtra (4,291), Karnataka (1,569), Telangana (1,400), Madhya Pradesh (1,290), Chhattisgarh (954), Andhra Pradesh (916) and Tamil Nadu (606) reported the maximum number of farmers' suicides during 2015, which accounted for 87.5 per cent of suicides in the country.

The farmers are unable to get financial aid from the present Government. Left with no other option and also due to the Central Government's insensitive-crony-capitalist approach, the farmers are being trapped by private money lending sharks.

Solemn promise made by PM Modi to India's farmers was to give "MSP + 50% Profit” BJP's 2014 Election Manifesto, 34 months have passed and it is high time the BJP Government listens to the voices of the distressed farmers of India.

Today Congress party also raised the issue of farmer suicide in the upper house.It drew the attention of the house to the fact that in the first 2 months of 2017 there have been 117 cases of farmer suicide in the state of Maharashtra alone. In district of Beed 23 farmers , Naded 22 farmers, Osmanabad 19, Aurangabad 18 farmers etc have committed suicide and this is happening in spite of the fact that we have had a normal monsoon last year. It is reported that these farmers have not been able to get right price for their produce like onion, pulses, tomato etc. and hence were forced to take their lives. We urge upon the Government to take concrete steps and targeted measures in case of specific regions in order to reduce the pain and sorrow which our farmers are going through. We would request the Agriculture Minister to take substantial measures for drought prone regions and take corrective measures for the same. The Prime Minister, in his speeches in Uttar Pradesh promised a farm loan waiver, in its very first Cabinet Meeting. We all heard the CM's press conference after it's first Cabinet meeting and but no decision was announced in this regard. We urge upon the Prime Minister to not only fulfill the promises made to the 66 lakh farmers of Uttar Pradesh, but to come to the rescue of the distressed farmers, forced to commit suicide in the entire country.

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