Celebration is on, But is the government aware of the reports coming from Marathwada
Prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP is celebrating their second anniversary of governance. Unlike last year, when the Delhi verdict cast shadows on celebratory mood, this time it is almost like 2014. BJP is moving forward in its declared objective of Congress mukth bharat by winning Assam and making its presence felt in Kerala and Bengal. BJP president Amit Shah was in a combative mood on Friday when he addressed the media. He claimed among other things that the BJP could provide a corruption free governance. Prime minister in his interview to the Wall Street Journal claimed that his government has undertaken more reforms than no body could do in the past. But no one in the government even in this time of celebration is not talking about country’s rural reality. Those who are concerned about delayed bing bang reforms does not want to spoil the celebratory mood of the party in power by reading loud the stories coming from Marathwada and other drought hit areas were farmers are committing suicides like never before
When the government and cohorts are explaining with data how Indian economy has grown, how GDP is increasing, there are more and more stories coming from hinter land. According to latest report in Marathwada region of Maharashtra state where BJP is in power more than 454 farmers have committed suicide so far in 2016. This is a 22 percent increase from May last year. Last year by the end of May 372 farmers had committed suicide. In Beed district 81 farmer suicides have taken place till the end of May.
3228 farmers committed suicide in Maharastra last year. It was the highest since 2001. According to data available with national crime records bureau 5650 farmers committed suicide in 2014.
While government and main opposition party almost share their views on economic policies, various economists have come out saying that farm suicides became a common phenomenon after India started liberalisation process in the early 90s. The banks reluctance to give farm loans and the government’s insensitive attitudes towards the issues faced by the farmers are cited by the critics of liberalisation as the major reason for the farmers suicides. Corporatisation of agriculture much to the detriment of the small farmers.
Last budget was termed as rural oriented by the government. The allocation to the ministry of agriculture at 36,000 Crore is an increase of Rs 20,000 from last years allocation. But some economists have pointed out that, the bulk of it, Rs 15,000 crore for interest subsidy on short-term loans, is simply on account, being transferred from the department of financial services. The actual net increase would be far more modest.
The government’s actual allocation and political attitude towards National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme are also criticised and is said to be adding to the rural distress.