The Centre, on Tuesday, informed the Supreme Court that over 12,000 farmer suicides have been reported since 2013, according to The Times of India. The report added that these are the numbers despite steps taken by the government to improve the social and economic conditions of the farmers.
The court was hearing a plea filed by NGO Citizens Resource and Action and Initiative, seeking compensation to the families of the debt-ridden farmers who had committed suicide in Gujarat. The bench had earlier expanded the scope of the petition to the entire country. The bench consisted of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
" Today, we find it hard to intervene in the case. All the steps that need to be taken is squarely in the executive's domain, what should be the minimum support price for agricultural produce as well as crop insurance:" it said.
The statistics submitted by the Centre revealed that the maximum number of suicides (4,291) were reported from Maharashtra followed by "Karnataka with 1,569, Telangana 1,400, Madhya Pradesh 1,290, Chhattisgarh954, Andhra Pradesh 916 and Tamil Nadu 606. Together, these seven states accounted for 87.5 percent of total suicides in the farming sector in the country — 11,026 of 12,602," the report said.
The Supreme Court had earlier asked the Centre about its policies to prevent farmer suicides in the country, saying that paying compensation to the victim's families is not the real solution.
A bench had stated that the issue of farmers' suicide is of "extreme importance" and it is surprising that the government has not taken any action to address the causes behind these suicides, happening for so many decades.
The bench said that it was sad and unfortunate that farmers were committing suicides on account of crop failure and inability to repay agricultural loans.
"We feel that you (government) are going in a wrong direction. Farmers take loan from banks and when they are unable to repay, they commit suicide. The remedy to the problem is not to pay money to farmers after the suicide, but you should have schemes to prevent this," the bench had stated.
On Tuesday, the NGO's counsel also argued that the central government's "PM Fasal Bima Yojana had not reached even 20 percent of small and marginal farmers" and the bench gave Centre four weeks time to file a response.
With inputs from IANS
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Updated Date: May 03, 2017 17:19:35 IST