NEW DELHI: 40-year-old Veerpal Kaur shares a chilling account of how her farmer father could not cope with rising debt and failed crops and ended up committing suicide. She was around 13 – years – old then. From Punjabs Mansa district, Kaur saw her mother struggle without any support or compensation. For Kaur, history repeated itself, when she became a widow at 21- years, as her young farmer husband too committed suicide due to rising debt which has mounted to around Rs 8 lakh now.
Like her, 38 – year – old Mudapu Yadammas farmer husband committed suicide in their village in Nalgonda in Telangana in 2018. He left behind a debt of Rs 3.5 lakhs. Her in-laws have refused to give her a share in family land and though the ex-gratia has been sanctioned, she is yet to receive the money.
With the union budget scheduled for February 1, Kaur, Yadamma and many other women farmers from “farm suicide families” came together in the Capital to demand a special support package from the government. As per official data of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 353,802 farm suicides have taken place in India between 1995 and 2018, with 85.81% of these being of men. Around 50188 female farmer suicides have been counted into this reporting.
According to a 2017 study commissioned by the agriculture ministry the highest number of women farmer suicides have been from the state of Telangana, followed by Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. “It can be concluded that at least 303597 women from farm households have been suddenly left to fend for themselves, to manage the home and the farm,” it was stated in a policy brief statement from Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM), released at a national consultation they co-organised with UN Women, on the “status of women farmers in farm suicide families.”
“We are here in Delhi, just before finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents her budget proposals, to press the government to build a relief and rehabilitation package that allows a decent chance for women farmers from farm suicide families to continue with their farming”, the women said in their statement.
MAKAAM recommends that “compensation of at least 7 lakh rupees uniformly across states should be sanctioned and transferred into the woman's account in a time bound fashion (within 3 months of the date of death)”. Citing wide variations in relief and rehabilitaRead More – Source