live

Maharashtra farmers' march updates: Aaditya Thackeray meets protesters, pledges Shiv Sena support

A protest march by 30,000 farmers against the failure of the BJP-led government to address agrarian distress entered Mumbai on Saturday

FP Staff March 11, 2018 18:24:54 IST
Auto refresh feeds
Maharashtra farmers' march updates: Aaditya Thackeray meets protesters, pledges Shiv Sena support

Highlights

16:06 (ist)

Firstpost reports show Maharashtra govt failed to make farm loan waiver benefits 'pilferage free'

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis drafted an ambitious plan to make the Rs 34,000 core farm loan waiver pilferage-proof by linking disbursal to Aadhaar numbers. However, Firstpost investigation shows how banks turned in such corrupted list of beneficiaries and their Aadhaar numbers that the entire disbursal mechanism collapsed. This caused needless delay in disbursals and put enormous pressure on the government to speed up the process, which they did by abandoning the Aadhaar-linkage. 

The BJP-led government in Maharashtra announced its historic farm loan waiver scheme — titled the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana — on 22 June, 2017. The scheme was originally intended to benefit 89 lakh farmers. Chief Minister Fadnavis had estimated that the burden on the state exchequer on account of the scheme would be Rs 34,022 crore.

However, the scheme has been hobbled by technical glitches, mismatches in data and tussles in the bureaucracy.

Read the full report here 

14:42 (ist)

Maharashtra protest just the beginning, mega protest in New Delhi in April

Leaders of farmer associations across the country are planning to hold protests similar to those by Maharashtra farmers, culminating in a mega rally in April, reported News18“The government’s anti-farmer stand needs to be challenged. We will hold a rally for the same in Guwahati very soon. State farmer heads are in close collaboration and we are planning to hold a big protest in New Delhi sometime in April. Farmers from all over India will be present in that rally. ," said Akhil Gogoi, a Northeast-based farmer rights leader. 

Farmers from Gujarat and Tamil Nadu also confirmed to News18 their plan to hold a mega rally in New Delhi.

14:36 (ist)

The politics behind the Maharashtra farmers' march

As of now, all opposition parties have thrown their weight behind the CPM-led All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and extended their support to the farmers' march, which reached Mumbai's Azad Maidan on Monday morning. 

This can actually be detrimental for the Narendra Modi-led Centre and BJP government in Maharashtra, notes this Economic Times article. One of the reasons is that the issue is not manufactured out of thin air. The problem actually persists. Secondly, the report notes, it can instantly mobilise thousands into protests. 

The third factor is that it will generate a wave of sympathy from those in urban areas. A quick scan through one's Twitter feeds is enough to note that. Moreover, this agriculture crisis and the protests that follow thereafter could be a major challenge for BJP in the upcoming Assembly polls in agriculturally-dependednt Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. 

13:20 (ist)

Farmer brings along solar panel to charge phones

48-year-old protester from Ganeshgaon in Tryambak Taluka, Nathu Nivrutti Udar has a solar panel mounted on his head, to charge mobile phones, reported News18. Father of two children, he said, "I got this panel for my house but when we decided to come here, I thought I should install this on my head, so that I can charge the panels and use it to charge farmers' phones." 

Image courtesy: News18

13:15 (ist)

'No question of compromise, will go back only when demands are fulfilled': Ajit Navale, Kisan leader

According to the Hindustan Times, AIKS general secretary Ajit Nawale said that there is no question of compromise. "This is not a political issue. The government must respect farmers. We have marched more than 100 kilometres and will go back only when all our demands are fulfilled.”

12:30 (ist)

'Tired, our legs swollen, but we will complete the walk,' say farmers before reaching Azad Maidan'

Exhausted from walking from for nearly a week over 180 kilometres, farmers on Monday remained tireless in their efforts to achieve what they came for. Speaking to Hindustan Timesa farmer from Beed, Parshuram Gaikwad said, "We will not move from the state legislature building until our demands are met. There is no way anyone will back out after reaching so close to the destination. Yes, we are tired and our legs have swollen, but we will complete the walk.”

11:51 (ist)

In five years to 2015-16, real farm income per cultivator increased by 0.44% each year

As per an IndiaSpend report published in July 2017, the inflation-adjusted farm income per cultivator increased by only 0.44 percent a year in the five years leading up to 2015-16. The article, quoting a NITI Aayog report, said that since 1993-94, it rose 108.5 percent to Rs 44,207 in 2015-16. 

10:14 (ist)

Mumbai-based artists, poets join farmers' protest march

A group of 50 poets and artistes on Sunday joined the ongoing farmers' protest march in Mumbai, reported The Indian Express. Artists from groups such as 'Banned', ‘Yalgar’ and ‘Kalsangini’ joined the farmers at the KJ Somaiyya ground in Sion. They recited poems of popular Marathi reformers such as Anna Saheb Sathe and Vaman Dada Kardak. 

Speaking to Indian Express, poet Dharmarakshit from the group 'Yalgar' said, "Farmers are the bread-winners of the entire nation. It is time we supported their cause and show them solidarity. Our group has always supported the actions of those who have fought for what is right."

09:57 (ist)

Similar protests took place in June 2017

In June 2017, similar protests had boiled over most parts of the state, forcing the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led government to announce a conditional Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver, which farmers said has not been implemented properly.

Similar demands of loan waiver and 50 percent profit over the input cost have been made by farmers across the country, putting the BJP-led central government in a fix.

09:40 (ist)

Mumbaikars extend support to farmers

As farmers, who have travelled from Nashik over 180 kilometres, reached Mumbai on Saturday, Mumbai residents did their bit to help them out. According to The Times of Indiathe Thane Matadata Jagran Manch provided nearly 500 kgs of food grains to peasants camped at the BMC octroi ground. 

Another group collected footwear for farmers who continued to walk in the scorching heat with blistered feet. “We were shocked to see the farmers walk barefoot on the highway. Some of us removed our footwear and offered it to the women, while others decided to donate shoes the following day,” said Nita Karnik, a resident who delivered 100 pairs of shoes.

08:59 (ist)

Protesters not be allowed beyond Azad Maidan, say govt sources

According to NDTV, government sources said protesters will not be allowed to proceed to Vidhan Bhavan beyond Azad Maidan to meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Only a delegation of farmer leaders from the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) will be allowed to meet Fadnavis around noon. The Left-affiliated peasant organisation, which is leading the protests, said they are open to consider what the government offers them. 

11:50 (ist)

Mumbai Police collaborates with NGOs to provide protesting farmers water and medical facilities

Akhilesh Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police told The Hindu that adequate personnel have been deployed along the Eastern Express Highway, which the farmers will be using on Sunday morning to march to Sion. The police has also asked several companies of the State Reserve Police Force and Riot Control Police to be on standby.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Mar 12, 2018 - 18:08 (IST)

Central Railways to run 2 trains to send back agitating farmers

Central Railway will run two special trains from Mumbai's CSMT to Bhusawal at 8.50 pm and 10.00 pm on Mondya to send the agitating farmers back, ANI reported. 

Mar 12, 2018 - 17:13 (IST)

Why farmers' demands are no longer about loan waiver?

An outstanding majority of those who marched to Mumbai constituted of tribal people which brought to the fore a different edge to the agrarian crisis faced by rural Maharashtra. The agitation was less about farm loan waivers and more about drawing government attention to policy loopholes that have failed to help impoverished farmers of the state. 

Many of the participants in the protests were either tribals, demanding implementation of Forest Land Rights Act 2006, or land tillers (not owners) who have no institutional credit to their name but suffer excruciatingly in case of a failed crop. Their demands included basic things such as new and renewed ration cards so that they can access the Public Distribution System, or imploring the government to fix data/ technical errors in the database of beneficiaries for government schemes such as Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojna and Shravan Bal Yojna. 

Mar 12, 2018 - 17:03 (IST)

Farmers satisfied with our decisions: Maharashtra Minister Girish Mahajan

Mar 12, 2018 - 17:00 (IST)

Govt arranges special trains to send back protesters to their home towns: CNN-News18

Mar 12, 2018 - 16:37 (IST)

Govt assures to fix ration card related discrepancies in 6 months

Ration cards in tribal areas have not been renewed or issued since years, therefore one of the demands of the protesters was to fix these concerns. The governmenr has reassured the farmers that new BPL ration cards will be issued within 6 months. 

Mar 12, 2018 - 16:32 (IST)

Devendra Fadnavis assures farmers, tribals of assistance,says land issues will be solved in time-bound manner

Chief Minister Devendr Fadnavis took cognisance of the tribal people's demands for forest land rights, saying his government takes their concerns seriously. He assured the leaders that the government would try to resolve forest land related issues within six months. It also promised to form a special team headed by the chief secretary to look into the reverification of disputed or controversial land titles in tribal areas. 

Mar 12, 2018 - 16:27 (IST)

Farmers call off stir after written assurance from CM

Mar 12, 2018 - 16:06 (IST)

Firstpost reports show Maharashtra govt failed to make farm loan waiver benefits 'pilferage free'

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis drafted an ambitious plan to make the Rs 34,000 core farm loan waiver pilferage-proof by linking disbursal to Aadhaar numbers. However, Firstpost investigation shows how banks turned in such corrupted list of beneficiaries and their Aadhaar numbers that the entire disbursal mechanism collapsed. This caused needless delay in disbursals and put enormous pressure on the government to speed up the process, which they did by abandoning the Aadhaar-linkage. 

The BJP-led government in Maharashtra announced its historic farm loan waiver scheme — titled the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana — on 22 June, 2017. The scheme was originally intended to benefit 89 lakh farmers. Chief Minister Fadnavis had estimated that the burden on the state exchequer on account of the scheme would be Rs 34,022 crore.

However, the scheme has been hobbled by technical glitches, mismatches in data and tussles in the bureaucracy.

Read the full report here 

Mar 12, 2018 - 15:54 (IST)

FirstCut By Manjul Toons

Mar 12, 2018 - 15:41 (IST)

Govt passed off benefits of loan waiver schemes to 35.68 lakh farmers out of a total 89 lakh eligible farmers

One of the major demands being raised by the protesting farmers is to hasten up the already delayed roll-out of last years' farm loan package. According to a report in Livemint, as of 6 March, the state government has passed on Rs 13,782 crore as loan waivers to 35.68 lakh farmers out of a total 89 lakh farmers expected to benefit from the scheme.

Congress leader Ashok Chavan has asked Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to accept demands of over 35,000 farmers who have gathered in Mumbai.

The farmers have marched from across Maharashtra to Mumbai in order to protest against the failure of the BJP-led government to address agrarian distress. The farmers plan to encircle the Legislative Assembly building on 12 March to assert their demands, demanding fair remuneration and loan waiver.

The march, led by All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) — a peasants front of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), was launched from Nashik on Tuesday. They arrived in Thane on Saturday night and according to latest reports, are gathering in KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion.

These farmers will seek answer from the government for non-implementation of the demands that were promised by the government, said Ajit Nawale, state general secretary of AIKS.

"Farmers in the state are reeling under the ripples of agrarian distress and they are under huge financial burden. The government has not done anything to provide them any relief. So they are left with no option but to express their anguish through the protest march," Nawale told IANS.

The 180-km long foot march was started with participation of about 12,000 farmers and the number has reached to 30,000 now, which showed the intensity of discontent among farmers, Nawale said.

Maharashtra farmers march updates Aaditya Thackeray meets protesters pledges Shiv Sena support

Farmers of All Indian Kisan Sabha (AIKS) march from Nashik to Mumbai to gherao Vidhan Bhawan on 12 March. PTI

As a stream of people flowing in to join the march, the number of protesters will go up to 55,000- 60,000 figure when it will reach the destination, he added.

Complete loan waiver and profit of 1.5 times input cost for all major agriculture commodities are the major demands of the AIKS.

These farmers want immediate implementation of MS Swaminathan committee's recommendations, which ensures fair remuneration.

The agitating farmers are also demanding compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for destruction of crops due to hailstorm and pink-worm, allocation of forest land under cultivation to farmers and implementation of Forest Rights Act.

While the organisers have said they would try to reach the assembly in peaceful manner, the government is likely to stop the protest march at Azad Maidan.

In June last year, similar protests had boiled over most parts of the state, forcing the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led government to announce a conditional Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver, which farmers said has not been implemented properly.

Similar demands of loan waiver and 50 per cent profit over the input cost have been made by farmers across the country, putting the BJP-led central government in a fix.

BJP is not just facing flak from the opposition but its estranged ally Shiv Sena has also extended its support to the protesting farmers. According to latest reports, the Nationalist Congress Party as well as Congress have also extended support to the farmrs.

Updated Date:

also read

Sri Lanka economy will 'collapse' if no new govt in two days, warns central bank chief
World

Sri Lanka economy will 'collapse' if no new govt in two days, warns central bank chief

Soldiers stood behind wrought-iron barricades and next to burnt-out buses in the heart of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo Wednesday, guarding almost deserted streets after a convulsion of deadly clashes

Sri Lanka unrest: Shoot-on-sight orders issued; President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urges calm
World

Sri Lanka unrest: Shoot-on-sight orders issued; President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urges calm

The order comes after mobs torched houses belonging to ruling party politicians. At least eight people including two policemen have been killed as violent protests over economic crisis continue despite a curfew

'Blatantly false': Indian High Commission dismisses reports of Sri Lankan politicians, families fleeing to India
World

'Blatantly false': Indian High Commission dismisses reports of Sri Lankan politicians, families fleeing to India

The denial comes amid reports that former Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family took refuge at a naval base, and have been trying to flee abroad