TNN | Jan 15, 2018, 02.36 AM IST
NAGPUR: Farm activist and Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission chairman Kishore Tiwari has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to re-look into the status of the government's agrarian programme to resolve the farmers distress in drylands of the country.
In a letter to the PM, Tiwari recalled the report of National Commission on Farmers (NCF) chairman M S Swaminathan which had focused on the rise in farmer suicides and recommended solutions through a holistic national policy for farmers. The report, submitted during the UPA regime, had listed among major causes of the agrarian crisis the unfinished agenda of land reforms, quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, access, adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit, and opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing. Swaminathan had also sought shifting of agriculture to concurrent list.
Tiwari said in the letter that Maharashtra had started working on core issues raised in NCF report related to the areas of land, water, bio-resources, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets aggressively. Yet, he pointed out that the ground reality that the government programme did not reach small and needy farmers.
"This year the state has implemented mega agricultural debt, waiver and debt relief scheme to benefit around 6 million farmers but as the state has no direct control over functioning PSU banks, it failed to give timely and sufficient credit to needy and debt rapped farmers," said Tiwari.
"Farming is largely an un-organized sector. No systematic institutional and organizational planning is involved in cultivation, irrigation, harvesting etc. Institutional finance is not adequately available and minimum purchase price fixed by the government does not reach the poorest farmer. Traders and middlemen exploitation denies the best price for the produce to cultivators. There is need to promote farmers' market where they can directly sell produce at reasonable prices to the consumers," Tiwari elaborated.