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The 'Proud India' of 'Poor' farmers celebrates 'Kisan Diwas'

In 2015 only, 12,602 farmers ended their lives. The statistics are very shocking when it comes to suicide rate among poor Indian farmers i.e., that a farmer commits suicide every 41 minutes in India.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 23 Dec 2018 8:12 AM GMT

The Proud India of Poor farmers celebrates Kisan Diwas
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Saima Siddiqui

Lucknow: The Indian farmers are remembered on two occasions mainly, one at the time of elections and the second when a day, Dec 23 comes which is dedicated to our Indian farmers in the form of 'Kisan Diwas'.

Though the day has no significance politically other than its celebratory status as it is observed to mark birth-anniversary of India's fifth Prime Minister late. Chaudhary Charan Singh, who has done a lot to uplift the poor and marginalized farmers of India.

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India is basically an agriculture-based country with 80% of its population living in rural areas, whereas in the US, only a 2% of its people are involved in farming. Even after this huge manpower involved in farming India lags behind America in terms of agricultural income.

Where the average income of an Indian peasant is estimated to be around INR 1,666 a month, an American farmer bags around INR 4,42,992 a month.

Shockingly from 1970 to 2015 the basic salary of government employees has increased by 150 folds, for college teachers and university professors by 170 times, for school teachers by 320 times and for top corporate executives by up to 1000 times, the average income of a farmer continues to be INR 20,000 a year, pushing many farmers to end their lives.

In 2015 only, 12,602 farmers ended their lives. The statistics are very shocking when it comes to suicide rate among poor Indian farmers i.e., that a farmer commits suicide every 41 minutes in India.

To combat the plight of the Indian peasants Government of India comes up with many schemes which ends up making them more dependent on government rather than making them self-sufficient. Loan waivers are like plague to farmers which traps them to seek more loan which will then be promised to be waived-off by political parties at the time of election.

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One more concern draws our attention when GOI promises to waive-off farmers loan first it exempts big farmers and second the poor and uneducated farmers don't get their loans through Banks but they traditionally borrow it from money-lenders who charge them with heavy percentage of interest rates.

Nothing could tell the grievance of Indian farmers than this story where a farmer had jumped into a canal with his ten-year-old son tied to him. They both drowned. In that farmer's mind, he wasn't trying to harm his son but he was saving him from the debt that he would never be able to repay, as was written in a note left behind him.

Sadly, our government policies also neglect our farmers who labor tirelessly in the scorching heat in their fields to feed us three times a day. Schemes like

'National Skill Development Council' promises to reduce the work force in agriculture from the existing 57% per cent to 38% in the next five years, i.e. by 2022.

Such schemes actually make agriculture unprofitable and unviable and push farmers off the farms and villages into the cities, and turn them into cheap labor.

Rajiv Gandhi once had said," If farmers become weak the country looses self-reliance but if they are strong, freedom also becomes strong. If we do not maintain our progress in agriculture, poverty cannot be eliminated from India. But our biggest poverty alleviation program is to improve the living standard of our farmers.

The thrust of our poverty alleviation program is on the uplift of the farmers."

A farmer not only makes an infertile land fertile, grows crop, fills-up our plates three times a day while he slogs all day in the fields battling the harsh environment conditions but he also represent a large chunk of Indian population which is living in extreme poverty without basic amenities like electricity, infrastructure, health-hygiene, ending their lives as their eyes are deprived of dreams of happy future for themselves and their kids.

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Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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