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Archive for the ‘Andhra Pradesh’ Category

Non Stop Death Dance in Nizamabad

Posted by Ramoo on August 30, 2009

NIZAMABAD: Despite chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy asserting a few days ago that the government would ensure that no farmer would commit suicide due to crop failure or mounting debts, 15 ryots have committed suicide in Nizamabad district in the last 22 days alone. And in many of these instances, erratic power supply was stated as the reason for them taking the extreme step.
“Unable to come to terms with the drying up of standing crops, the farmers who sowed the crops by borrowing huge loans from private moneylenders are resorting to suicide,” farm expert Ch Krishnamurthy said. Though it rained for a couple of days in Nizamabad town, the prolonged dry spell has hit the district farmers badly. Nearly 30 out of 36 mandals have recorded deficit rainfall in the last two months, officials said.
The heavy rainfall the district has been receiving in the last few days has come as too late for many farmers. Pokala Sailoo, 45, of Mudhelli village in Gandhari mandal and Toorpu Gopal, 48, of Gandhari, were the latest who ended lives on Wednesday.
If clearing the mounting debts was hanging like a sword of Damocles, the farmers were also crippled by withered crops and erratic power supply. “Do I have any other option? It (suicide) is the only alternative for us to run away from the debts,” said Kalali Srihari Goud of Devunipalli village in Machareddy mandal. Holding back the tears, Goud said besides the paddy seedlings, his maize crop sown in one acre had dried up at the budding stage itself due to lack of rainfall.
Taking a dig at the government, Goud, who recently borrowed Rs 2 lakh to perform his daughter’s marriage and dig borewells, said: “Will the real YSR please come to our rescue?” And Goud is no small farmer — he owns five acres of agriculture land!
It was Nenawat Govind, 25, who set the alarm bells ringing by hanging himself on August 6 at Piskalgutta thanda in Gandhari unable to clear the Rs 2 lakh debt. Debt-ridden Poshatti of Nagepur in Navipet mandal and Bhumanna in Donchanda of Morthad followed Govind and soon it became a death dance.
Three more farmers — Anantha Reddy of Borgam, Beerappa of Nyalkal and Krishana of Mudakpalli of Nizamabad mandal — also ended their lives due to distress. In the intervening period, Macha Karrenna of Gadkol in Sirikonda mandal, Chandu of Madnoor, Gaddam Saireddy of Darpalli, Ramulu and Sailu of Pitlam mandal have committed suicide.

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Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Data, Farmers Suicides | Leave a Comment »

Kisan Incorporated

Posted by Ramoo on August 28, 2009

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/op-ed/kisan-incorporated-414

 

August 28th, 2009

By G.V. Ramanjaneyulu & Kavitha Kuruganti

Some recent developments in India’s agri-related laws might make former finance minister P. Chidambaram’s infamous dream of seeing “only 15 per cent of Indians in villages” come true much faster than anyone thought possible. Moves are afoot to ensure large-scale displacement of farmers and agricultural workers — the most blatant move is already underway in Andhra Pradesh, under Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy. An experiment under the garb of “farmers cooperative” was approved by the state Cabinet recently, not very different from what his rival N. Chandrababu Naidu attempted some years ago. The arguments too are old: Small holdings lead to low productivity, low income, low investments and, this vicious cycle goes on.

This argument ignores the fact that more than 900 scientists from 110 countries have recently concluded an international process, called the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), pointing out that small-holding ecological farming is the way forward. We are also familiar with the subsidies that prop up intensive, large-scale models of farming elsewhere, despite claims of efficiency. Numerous studies have confirmed the inverse relationship between the size of farms and the amount of crops they produce per unit.

A study from Turkey shows that farms less than a hectare are 20 times more productive than farms that are over 10 hectares! But why should anyone be looking at such data when the sizes of land holdings and their alleged low productivity is used as an excuse to grab land?

This is what the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister is proposing: Get farmers to pool their land into a cooperative/society/company. Farmers sell their land to the new entity in return for some shares, which will then take up all agricultural operations and pay dividends. Farmers can exit by selling their share to existing members and, if there are no takers, government will buy the shares at a pre-determined market price. Land cannot be obtained back. Though many questions remain unanswered — what will happen to the farmers and how will they take part in any decision-making? What will tenant farmers and agricultural workers do? Why will land not be returned to the farmers? — the state Cabinet has decided to take up a pilot project in 50 villages by investing Rs 5,000 crore and there are moves to introduce a new legislation along these lines.

To begin with, the entire reasoning that bashes small holdings is faulty. Two, an experiment taken up by Mr Naidu some years ago along these lines (“Kuppam Project”) failed in delivering the promised benefits and had environmental repercussions. Most importantly, this move will take away land permanently from farmers and is truly an exit mechanism.

Incidentally, it is in Andhra Pradesh that the world’s largest ecological farming project is unfolding, supported by the state’s rural development department, which is proving that farming can indeed be made viable through alternative technologies and people’s organisations.

This programme, yielding results on more than 20 lakh acres, all small and marginal holdings, has attracted great attention already. Is it by design that the state government chose to ignore such vastly successful models and set about “to make farming viable” through proven-to-have-failed models?

While this is happening in Andhra Pradesh, in neighbouring Tamil Nadu a bill was introduced in the Assembly and supposedly passed on a day when 30 bills were passed without much discussion. This new legislation, called Tamil Nadu State Agricultural Council Act 2009, is about setting up a council that will be empowered to inspect agricultural institutions, courses of study, examinations etcetera, all to ensure that standards are conformed to.

“At present, there is no law to provide for the regulation of agricultural practice… it’s been considered necessary to regulate agricultural practice and registration of agricultural practi-tioners…” states the object of the legislation. Sounds inane enough? However, the law says that no one can render agricultural services unless his/her name is registered in the “Tamil Nadu Agricultural Practitioners Register” with a formal agricultural qualification from Tamil Nadu (outsiders can register within 90 days of their entry!).
In a country which has always had a rich tradition of farming based on an oral and experiential knowledge and in a state where paddy productivity levels are recorded to have been up to 13 tonnes per hectare (in 1807 in Coimbatore) without qualified agriculture scientists, this move is an outright rejection of the vast untapped knowledge of our farm women and men.

Worse, in the name of regulating agricultural services, this seems to be a way of controlling the farmer-to-farmer spread of ecological farming in the state, which is led by farmers themselves, their networks and other civil society groups. Tamil Nadu is also the state where the anti-genetically modified protests against Tamil Nadu Agriculture University’s unthinking capitulation to agro-MNCs like Monsanto are running at a high-pitched level. A connection between the resistance movement and this new law cannot be ruled out.

This new regulation of “agriculture services” will effectively provide more and more markets for particular kinds of technologies at the expense of farmers, as the advisories will be driven by the mindsets that prevail in the agriculture education/ research system in the country and the commercial interests of the agri-services to be set up. This route of a “qualified” advisory system will obviously facilitate conflicting interests and help in improving exclusivity of “markets” by reducing competition, while ignoring the causes for the current agrarian crisis. While a law of this kind should regulate services provided by agricultural research and agri-business bodies to ensure accountability for their services, especially in relation to economic, environmental and social viability and sustainability of farming, it should not be used as a weapon to penalise farmers and civil society

groups which are trying to promote sustainable farming.

These two initiatives in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are not to be seen as isolated attempts to create more markets for agri-businesses, but as an orchestrated move towards an unwritten “exit policy” for farmers.

These two moves will set a bad precedent for the rest of the country.

Given that agriculture is contributing a lower and lower share in the country’s gross domestic product, its importance in the mainstream economic development model might be diminishing for many policymakers. However, this is a question of livelihood for millions of Indians — without ensuring access and control over basic productive resources and without moving towards sustainable production technologies, the current saga of agrarian distress, including suicides, will only increase.

Such legislations and programmes cannot be brought in without comprehensive debates and without the government clearly stating its vision for farming livelihoods and how they would be liable when things go wrong.

* Dr G.V. Ramanjaneyulu is the executive director of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad, and Kavitha Kuruganti is a trustee of Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab.

Posted in Agri-Science, Agroecological farming, Andhra Pradesh, Govt. Initiatives, Land question, Opinion pieces | Leave a Comment »

Maharashtra tops the list of farmers’ suicides

Posted by Ramoo on December 14, 2008

New Delhi (PTI): Fourty-six farmers commit suicide every day in this country even as packages were rolled out in a bid to bailout the debt-ridden community from crisis.

A whopping 16,632 cases of suicides by farmers, including 2,369 women were reported across the country last year with Maharashtra retaining the dubious distinction of having the largest number of such incidents despite a slump in figures.

Farmers’ suicide constituted 14.4 per cent of the total 1,22,637 suicides in the country in 2007, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said in its latest report, Accidental Deaths and Suicide Report — 2007′.

In 2006, the figures were 17,060 and since 1997 there were 1,82,936 cases of farmers’ suicide in the country.

In a grim reminder of the appalling conditions of the farmers in this agriculture dominated country, the NCRB said besides Maharashtra, six other states have recorded over 1,000 cases of farmers’ suicides each in 2007.

Maharashtra, where the Central Government pitched in with a special package, reported 4,238 suicides last year, a decline of 215 from 2006, it said.

Karnataka (2,135), Andhra Pradesh (1,797), Chhattisgarh (1,593), Madhya Pradesh (1,263), Kerala (1,263) and West Bengal (1,102) followed Maharashtra in the list.

These states were in the top-seven list in 2006 too. While Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh showed a decline in the number of farmers’ suicide last year compared to 2006, such cases witnessed an increase in Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal.

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Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, States, Vidharba Crisis | 1 Comment »

Govt modifies rehab package for suicide-prone districts

Posted by Ramoo on October 9, 2008

CABINET DECIDES

BS Reporter / New Delhi October 09, 2008, 1:25 IST

The government today modified the rehabilitation package for the farmers in suicide prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.

The government had earlier announced a rehabilitation package on September 29, 2006 for 31 identified districts in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, involving a total amount of Rs 16,978 crore.

After the feedback from implementing agencies, the Union Cabinet today decided to extend the period for implementation of the non-credit component of the package by two more years or up to September 30, 2011.

It has also given in-principle approval for provision of need-based additional financial support to the concerned ministries and departments of the Government of India for implementation of the programmes.

The rehabilitation package aims at establishing a sustainable and viable farming and livelihood support system through debt relief to farmers, complete institutional credit coverage, crop-centric approach to agriculture and assured irrigation facilities.

Other modifications in the scheme include increase in per farmer area limit under the Seed Replacement Programme from 1 hectare to 2 hectares, adoption of ‘Cafeteria Approach’ for participatory Watershed Development Programmes, and inclusion of ‘Women Farmers’ Empowerment Programme’ under extension services.

The Union Cabinet today also approved new legislation that seeks to set up a National Judicial Council (NJC) to conduct inquiries into allegations of incapacity or misbehaviour by judges of the High Court and Supreme Court. “The provisions of the new Bill would bring in transparency in the functioning of the judiciary and would also enhance its prestige,’’ an official handout said.

The proposed Bill would incorporate recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee that had looked into an earlier Bill — Judges (Inquiry) Bill, 2006.

Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Announcements, Credit, Farmers Suicides, Kerala, Maharashtra, Prime Minister Relief Package | Leave a Comment »

5days HUNGER STRIKE demanding inclusion of 805 tribal villages in 5th Schedule,

Posted by Ramoo on August 23, 2008

Venue; Indira Park on 25-8-08 Monday at 11-00 Am

Inauguration By – Sri Medha Patkar, National Convener, National Alliance of Peoples Moments (NAPM)

Sri P.Chennaiah, Secretary, Andhara Pradesh Vyvasaya Vuthidarula Union (APVVU)

Sri S.Jevan kumar, vaice president, Human Rights Forum (HRF)

In Hydrabead ( August 25 to 29th,2008) during the Sessions, a dharna would be organized for 5 days, demanding inclusion of 805 tribal villages in 5th Schedule, the proposal which has been pending for the last 28 years with Govt. of India.

· Hundred tribal youth will participate from 5 districts

· You can support one day meal to the participants

(Rs 50 for one day one person- it covers mooring Tiffin and night Dinner)

· You can contribute one day expenses for tent and carpets.

(Rs 2000)

· You are requested to come and participate and give your support services (like writing reports, press notes, talking with media and making translations.

· You may mobilise your contacts and bring them to Sathyagraha site.

Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Peoples struggles | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

11782 farmers commit suicide: Report

Posted by Ramoo on March 21, 2007

Parliament of India

http://www.headlinesindia.com/archive_html/20March…
New Delhi: Asking states to abrogate a law that provides for arrest of defaulting farmers, a Parliamentary Committee on Tuesday said the suicide of 11,782 farmers during last five years is attributable to distress sale of their produce and continuous crop failures. “The Committee is shocked to learn that in some states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, there is a law to arrest farmers who default in repayment of loans. Moreover, they are not only kept in jail but the expenditure incurred on their food, transport and others things in jail is also said be to recovered from them”, the report tabled in Parliament said. The Standing Committee on Agriculture, headed by Ram Gopal Yadav, observed that the Agriculture Minister in a letter to the Chief Ministers of Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala, Orissa, Punjab and UP in April 2006 had taken up the matter of review of state laws to remove the provision for arrest and detention of farmers.

“The last letter (to states) for amending the relevant state laws was issued on August 12, 2005, and it seems that the government has no will to act but is only performing the duty of a postman in a way, that based on the recommendations of the Committee, a letter is written to the states to do the needful”, it said. Stating that the farmers have not got their full dues, the Committee said they have to sell their produce at very low rates and are not able to repay their debts due to drought and continuous crop failures. “Under the circumstances, the only escape route for them is to commit suicide. Thus, in the last five years, as per the records of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, about 11,782 farmers have ended their lives out of frustration and humiliation”, the report added. (PTI)

Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Debt burden, Farmers Suicides, Maharashtra, Punjab, Vidharba Crisis, West Bengal | Leave a Comment »

Andhra should set up at least 10 knowledge SEZs: Assocham

Posted by Ramoo on March 19, 2007

KVVV CHARYA

http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?…

Posted online: Monday, March 19, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

HYDERABAD :  In the next seven years, Andhra Pradesh can become a ‘knowledge centre’ for the world, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce (Assocham). In a blueprint, titled ‘Winds of Investments are towards Andhra’, Assocham suggests that the state has the potential to attract over Rs 1,50,000 crore investment in the next seven years. The blueprint, submitted to chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy by Assocham president Venugopal N Dhoot recently, was prepared by a group of professionals after field visits and interaction with officials.

‘‘We are confident that the state has enough potential — resources, proactive government and technically qualified manpower — which is sufficient to attract the investments,’’ Dhoot told the media.

The document points out that the state produces over 80,000 engineering graduates, 10,000 management graduates and over 3.50 lakh English-speaking workforce annually— and this is its greatest advantage.

The anticipated investment is capable of creating four lakh jobs additionally, besides increasing the state’s export share from 4.39% to 10% by the year 2012.

But this can be achieved only if Andhra Pradesh prepares a blueprint for establishing 10 Knowledge Special Economic Zones (K-SEZs) and 10 Agri-Processing Special Economic Zones (A-SEZs). This apart, it should act as a catalytic agent in promoting biotechnology, nano-technology, robotics, knowledge agriculture; promote institutes of professional excellence.

On its part, Assocham would take up the job of training small-time farmers by establishing about 200 agri-training institutes. Dhoot said the KL Chugh (former ITC, MD) committee to prepare the draft project paper to be submitted to the Planning Commission to get central funding. ‘‘We expect active partnership from the state government to proceed on the project,’’ he said. DS Rawat, secretary-general, Assocham, said a few corporates had evinced interest in the project. However, the modalities would be worked out after the Chugh committee submitted its report.

Posted in Andhra Pradesh, SEZs | Leave a Comment »

Package to pluck SEZ land thorns

Posted by Ramoo on March 9, 2007

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070308/asp/frontpag…

New Delhi, March 7: A proposal has been mooted to confine special
economic zones (SEZs) to wasteland.
However, in states where acquisition of farmland is unavoidable, SEZs
should be allowed on the condition that wasteland would be upgraded
into cultivable land to ensure “food security”.
The proposals are part of a blueprint drawn up by the rural
development ministry, which has been asked by the Prime Minister to
work on a rehabilitation package for land acquisition for SEZs.
In a written submission to Murli Manohar Joshi, the chairman of the
parliamentary standing committee on industry, the ministry said: “SEZs
should be established preferably on wasteland… where use of
agricultural land cannot be avoided, single-crop land in rainfed areas
may be considered. In completely unavoidable circumstances, multi-crop
land may be used for strategic requirements.”
But it has added a rider that if farmland is taken over, there “should
be compensatory development of wasteland for the sake of food
security”. This, sources said, will form part of the rehabilitation
package that the ministry will submit to the cabinet soon.
The ministry’s submission, sources said, is believed to form “the core
principles on which it has drawn up its report”.
If the cabinet accepts the suggestions, investors who have proposed
SEZs in Bengal will be among the beneficiaries. According to state
government data, only 0.5 per cent of land in Bengal is fallow – which
makes the use of farmland, including multi-crop land, for SEZs
unavoidable.
The fate of at least eight proposals for SEZs, including two from the
Salim Group, is hanging in the balance now as the Centre has slammed
the brakes, pending the rural development ministry’s rehabilitation
report.
In the note to the standing committee, which is preparing an
independent report on SEZs for Parliament, the ministry stressed that
there should be a state-wise balance in distributing SEZs to avoid
regional disparities.
The suggestion is seen as an indictment of the manner in which SEZ
proposals have been approved till now. States like Gujarat and Andhra
Pradesh have 19 and 45 formal approvals, respectively, covering some
10,682 hectares and 9,460 hectares. But the Northeast does not have a
single clearance.
The ministry has suggested the creation of “a list of activities that
may not be allowed on SEZs, e.g., setting up of golf courses or other
such facilities with large land requirements”.
An official said the government felt that allied activities could
include communication facilities, airports and employees’ quarters
“but not malls and housing estates for non-workers and stadia.

Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Displacement, SEZs, West Bengal | Leave a Comment »

Neoliberalism and the Ideology of the cancer cell: Growth for the sake of profit

Posted by Ramoo on March 6, 2007

http://www.counterpunch.org/sainath03062007.html

By P. SAINATH

“As Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel laureate, said, “Faster growth rate is essential for faster reduction in poverty. There is no other trick to it.” So said India’s minister of finance, P. Chidambaram in his budget speech. Drawing on his words must have seemed a politically correct thing to do. Mr. Chidambaram might want to add another quote to his cupboard. This one from the late Edward Abbey, environmental activist and writer. “Growth for growth’s sake is the ideology of the cancer cell.” Few things grow as relentlessly as that cell does, with such fatal results. As the cancer of neo-liberalism claims an ever-higher toll, its greatest theologians now include standard disclaimers in their chant. Growth has to be “inclusive” and “sustainable.” Even the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have learned these escape clauses. In any case, growth in India this past decade has been neither. The appalling distress in the countryside is just one measure of this. Election after election also rubs it in. Especially that of 2004, which brought the United Progressive Alliance to power.

Even going by the government’s economic survey, by its own other data, agriculture is choking. Per capita growth has been negative. Farm incomes have taken a beating. Thousands of farmers commit suicide each year. The government has long known there is a frightful crisis, one driven by human agency, by state policy. Yet, for all the noise, Central plan outlay on agriculture as a share of GDP sees no increase worth the name. Nor is there anything that touches the acute farm distress on the ground. In that the trend of falling state investment in sector after sector continues, this budget does not break with neo-liberalism. It just dolls it up.

One of the most important steps the UPA took in 2004 was to assign the National Commission on Farmers the grim task of studying this crisis. The work of the NCF caught the imagination of farmers nationwide. In Vidharbha or in Andhra Pradesh, farmers when they speak at all of `relief packages’ do so with scorn. What they do demand is action on the NCF’s findings. It is hard to find to find a single one of its many vital proposals addressed in this budget.

There are no steps towards a Price Stabilization Fund. None at all towards debt relief, let alone a waiver. Nothing has happened that will make input costs cheaper. Racketeering on that front is not only left alone, it can dash on regardless. The ‘huge’ boost for rural credit does not touch the high interest rates, which are such a major source of the trouble. And government knows very well that small and marginal farmers have gained almost nothing from its earlier `expansion’ of credit. No incentives for food crops in crisis regions. No action, to cite just one problem, to prevent the dumping of American cotton subsidized by billions of dollars and devastating prices here and around the world. (In just marketing year 2001-02, as an official report shows us, U.S. raw cotton exports to India had tripled to more than a million bales.)

There is no move to use valid tools like raising duties to halt a process that is literally killing Indian farmers. Import duty on cotton remains at a low 10 per cent. Indeed, the lowering of other duties in many cases will hit other sectors of Indian agriculture too. Not just cotton. If this is a pro-farmer budget, it’s scary to think of what an anti-farmer one would look like. As always, the standards of judging the deal given to poor Indians differ totally from those used to measure what a `sulking India Inc.,’ gets. The big boys shouldn’t be too disheartened, though. Business as usual will resume after a pause for the Uttar Pradesh elections.

Even as the budget is hailed as `pro-farmer,’ there comes the embarrassment to the Centre from a Congress-led State. Responding to a PIL on farm suicides, the Maharashtra government tries telling the Supreme Court that the Center’s dragging its feet over funds for Vidharbha was a big factor in the problem. True, it backs off pleading an error when this is highlighted in the press. But it gives you a picture of how bad things are.

Many have shown that some of the `higher allocations’ of the budget are negative when adjusted for inflation. The Left, for instance, points out that spending on the government’s flagship employment programs is up by 7 per cent. Which amounts to stagnation, given inflation levels. The increase in outlays on food subsidies, at 6.2 per cent, means a cut in real terms.

There is also a rather clumsy dodge on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. To begin with, it was given Rs.11,300 crore [one crore = ten million] when it needed much more. And that was for 200 districts. Now it is to be “expanded” to 330 districts. But the outlay goes up by just Rs.700 crore. So the number of districts covered goes up 40 per cent. The money goes up six per cent.

The `huge’ hike in outlays for health still does not bring us to even the modest 2-3 per cent of GDP level promised in 2004. View education outlays as share of GDP and you see how far behind we still are. In the end, though, it’s not just about sector to sector funding. It’s the whole direction. And in that very little has changed. India is still on a path damaging and dangerous to the poor.

Big media, though, now view the Finance Minister with a `how-could-you’ air of injured innocence. He actually had to face some questions on television. He was questioned. But from a point of view which, at most other times, he would have been happy with. That is, the liberalization and `reforms process’ from a corporate outlook. (India Shining has been back for a while, jostling for space with India Rising and India Poised. But that’s another story.)

Mr. Chidambaram accused one interviewer of being obsessed “with the corporate sector.” That was code for `wait till after the State elections.’ (“Our program continues after a small non-commercial break.”) He even tried to explain that a “thrust” on agriculture in fact favored Indian industry. And he had a real point there. But I doubt it went home. The debate amongst the elite is still in terms of a `let down.’ A `setback in the pace of reforms.’ For the media, this is India with a shining black eye.

And so we have a budget that gives `top priority’ to agriculture. And eight more farmers have taken their own lives in Vidharbha. This is now a region where farmers killing themselves are directly addressing the Prime Minister or Chief Minister in their suicide notes. After the Prime Minister’s Independence Day Speech in 2006, you might have expected something different. That was a rare occasion. Dr. Singh spoke clearly of the state of our farmers. Even more rare for an I-Day speech, he singled out Vidharbha for special mention. And he clearly acknowledged a major crisis was on in agrarian India. Not a trace of that sentiment can be found in the philosophy or the numbers of this budget.

Nor is there even a sense that much has been learned from the polls in Punjab and Uttarakhand. There is even some bravado about how the Congress has fared better in rural Punjab. The price rise, among other things, was and is a major issue. But the government’s response to it is at most levels tokenism. Not a lesson has been learned by this government. Like others before it, it imagines it will make a few `course corrections’ just before the polls. It has forgotten the reasons for its win in 2004. Nor does it want to see just how awful the crisis in the countryside is.

We are now at that mid-way mark where, historically, the Congress revives the Bharatiya Janata Party. A party gasping for breath after 2004 regains its oxygen. The Congress is hard at work on this in Maharashtra, too. The government’s terrible power cuts have a clear regional, urban, and class bias. Talleyrand is said to have remarked of the Bourbon monarchs of France after their restoration that they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing. The UPA has gone one better. It has learned nothing and forgotten everything.

P. Sainath is the rural affairs editor of The Hindu (where this piece initially ran) and the author of Everybody Loves a Good Drought. He can be reached at: psainath@vsnl.com.

Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Economix, Farmers Suicides, Globalisation, Maharashtra, Marketing reforms, Opinion pieces, Policies, Policy issues, Vidharba Crisis | Leave a Comment »

120 farmers end life in Maharashtra, AP

Posted by Ramoo on March 2, 2007

http://www.headlinesindia.com/archive_html/02March…

New Delhi: As many as 74 farmers have committed suicide in Vidharbha region of Maharashtra and 46 in Andhra Pradesh during the last few months, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Friday. According to information furnished by the Maharashtra government, up to January 30, 2007, 74 suicides by farmers have been reported from Vidharbha region in 2007. The government has sanctioned a rehabilitation package of Rs 3,873.26 crore for six most affected districts of Vidharbha region, Minister of State for Agriculture Kanti Lal Bhuria said in a written reply.

In Andhra Pradesh, 46 farmers have committed suicide during October 2006-January 2007 mainly on account of crop failure, indebtedness due to high interest rates, drought and social and economic insecurity. A rehabilitation package of Rs 9,650.55 crore has been sanctioned for 16 affected districts of Andhra Pradesh and a sum of Rs 3,255 crore have been released for implementation of the package, the Rajya Sabha was told. (PTI)

Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Farmers Suicides, Maharashtra, Vidharba Crisis | Leave a Comment »