Economics India

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Farmer Suicides Again in the News

Mrs. Sonia Gandhi Gandhi, Congress President, while in Ahmednagar on February 22, expressed concern over rising incidents of farmer suicides in Maharashtra! She wanted such cases to be thoroughly investigated. She wondered why farmer suicides should be growing when government has taken so many steps to safeguard farmer rights -- she was probably referring to National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that was recently launched by her jointly with Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh. Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh added that from next kharif season, the state was going to "declare" loans at six per cent interest that should benefit farmers. Mrs. Gandhi probably knows by now that government schemes do not necessarily reach farmers who need them most and Mr. Deshmukh also knows that his government has no money to disburse credit cheap or provide interest subsidies and the cooperative credit system that his government administers is already in doldrums. Rural India needs a community-owned and-administered "social safety net" to save lives of desparate farmers --- NREG scheme is a partial answer if it is administered well and reaches the rural population soon!


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