New Delhi: More than 12,000 farmers killed themselves in Maharashtra between 2015 and 2018, the legislative assembly was informed on Friday.
During the three year period, 12,021 farmer took their own lives, which adds up to more than eight deaths every day. Of these cases, 6,888 were found to be eligible for government aid after scrutiny by district-level committees, Relief and rehabilitation minister Subhash Deshmukh told the House in a written reply.
With Maharashtra reeling under a severe drought and agrarian crisis, the legislative council was discussing the condition. Mahrashtra has historically been a state where a large number of farmers take their own lives every year.
The state is also set to have elections to the assembly later this year. This has prompted a political battle over where the blame lies on the condition of the farmers.
Opposition leader Jayant Patil said, “We have always drawn the attention of the government towards agrarian crisis. Whether it is loan waiver or crop loan they are not reaching all the needy farmers. Thus, pushing them in greater financial distress leading to such extreme steps.”
Speaking in the legislative assembly, Deshmukh said so far, family members of 6,845 farmers have been given financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each. Between January and March 2019, 610 farmers died by suicide, out of which 192 cases were eligible for financial assistance, the minister said.
Of the 192 eligible cases, financial compensation has been given to the kin of 182 farmers, Deshmukh said. The remaining cases are being scrutinised to check their eligibility for compensation, he said.
While the Maharashtra government has been waiving loans of farmers, it does not seem to have eased the agrarian crisis. In 2017, when a loan waiver was announced, 4,500 farmer suicides were reported.