Farmer suicides went up despite loan waivers : Govt

New Delhi : Farmer suicides went up even after announcements of farm loan waivers, junior minister for agriculture and farmers welfare Parshottam Rupala told Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Rupala was responding to a question from former agriculture minister and BJP MP Radha Mohan Singh, who asked the government to clarify whether farmer suicides had increased in the year after the government ordered a farm loan waiver of Rs 75,000 crore. Singh was possibly referring to the mega loan waiver of Rs 75,000 crore announced by the UPA government in 2008.

Singh, who was in charge of the agriculture ministry until three months ago, also asked whether the government had found any discrepancies during the scheme’s audit. In response, Rupala said cases of farmer suicides had indeed increased in the year after the farm loan waiver package was announced.

However, the numbers he gave pertained to 2014 and 2015. He said farmer suicides went up from 5,650 in 2014 to 8,007 in 2015. Rupala also said an audit of the loan waiver scheme found many people who availed the benefit were not farmers.

Even as Rupala urged the House to not see suicide numbers in political light, opposition benches protested.

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi expressed dissatisfaction over Rupala’s five-page response to Singh’s question, and alleged that the government had not furnished suicide data after 2015. “Since the question pertained to ways to control farmer suicides, this cannot be achieved without data on the number of suicides. The minister is trying to hide that data and gloss over farmer suicides,” Gogoi alleged.

Rupala, however, clarified that farmer suicide data was not furnished after 2015 on grounds that it was still being compiled by states and had not yet been published by the National Crime Records Bureau, the agency that does data keeping.

Source : TOI

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