India is an agrarian society with most of the people staying in rural areas and the main source of income generation is through farming for around 70% of the population. It is a country blessed with six seasons and mostly favorable for crops production. In fact, people celebrate their joy in the month of January in different parts as harvest festivals, for instance, Lodi is celebrated in Punjab, Pongal in Tamil, Makar Sankranti in other parts of India. It is a tribute to the sun for the first production of the year and it is hoped that throughout the year farmers grow crops, which will be protected by God’s grace.
Unfortunately, farmers commit suicide due to various reasons like debt, monsoon failure, seed’s high price, low minimum support price, negligence of government and many more. However, statistics show around 30 lakh farmers have committed suicide in between 1998 to 2018. There is a famous slogan used in the context of farmers, ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisaan’ and shows that farmers are the most vital part of the country. But, the current situation of the farmers in the country is deplorable. They are facing many hardships with limited support and assistance. Thus, farmers from all around the country have aligned together and named the protest as “Kisaan Mukti March” heading towards the parliament with their grievances and a note to unite people in the march. They wanted to be noticed in the eyes of the government and media persons so that the poor peasants get what they work for 365 days in a year.
Their main concerns are
- Set better MSP (Minimum Support Price)
- Loan waiver
Farmers are protesting about the injustice regarding the prices at which they sell their crops and what general masses buy that product for. For example, farmers sell tomatoes at 5 rupees per kg but general people buy them at around 30 rupees per kg. So, this huge gap of 25 rupees goes entirely to the middle man and the farmers do not get the benefits of the final selling price. The same story is with milk, apple, pulses and pretty much every other crop. Farmers, in fact, don’t even get the price of seeds which they buy in the market for crop production. They already have a limited choice other than farming and their other main source of income is livestock, even in that area, they don’t get proper facilitates.
Another point is that they take loans for the sowing of seeds and in case of crop failure they are unable to pay back their debts. Their expectation from the government is that in this scenario, their debt should be pardoned. They take a loan from local moneylenders by giving them collateral for which moneylenders demand heavy interest. In fact, they even take loans from the bank which charges them interest that sometimes is not possible for them to pay and recover their collateral in both cases. And, sometimes under this pressure, they take their own life.
Their main demand is that proper measures should be taken so that they are not pushed again through the cycle of the loan. Ironically, the main concern here is that materialistic things are being considered more valuable than life. They even have shown concern about the inconvenience they are causing to the people of Delhi due to their huge march. They indeed have a broad mindset and polite attitude for general people, still, they haven’t been able to participate properly as many political parties took that stage as an opportunity to promote their self-interest and showing they are more concerned about the situation faced by poor farmers for their upcoming election in 2019.
There has been some assistance from the side of the government. Some of the programs that government has launched are “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna”, a budget of rupees 3000 cores for the fishery industry, a budget of rupees 221 cores for improving milk production and a planned investment of around rupees 75000 crores to reduce the energy consumption during irrigation and a few others. Still, these programs have not been properly executed or have not shown a great impact on the lives of needy farmers.
As India is, still a developing country and once Gandhi Ji said that a majority of India resides in the village, so as to develop a nation it is important to develop villages to make them self-reliable, self-sufficient and self-sustained. Indian economy has a large share from farm products, so it is high time that the government encourages the farmers and gives them proper facilities either through subsidies, loans or well-equipped instruments and trained professionals so that they get proper knowledge of scientific farming. We should also come forward to support the farmers as even a mother breastfeeds the child only for a certain time after birth but a farmer feeds people throughout their lives.