PIL on farmer suicide: SC seeks Centre's reply

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's response on a PIL seeking direction to the government to take steps to prevent increasing farmer suicides across the country.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 22, 2014, 21:45 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's response on a PIL seeking direction to the government to take steps to prevent increasing farmer suicides across the country.

A bench headed by Justice H L Dattu issued notice to the Centre through Ministry of Agriculture and sought its response on the PIL filed by Punjab-based NGO Youth Kamal Organization.

The PIL also sought the apex court's direction to the Centre to implement the recommendations of the report of National Commission on Farmers (NCF) chaired by agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan in 2006 on farmer suicides.

Citing various problems faced by farmers which compel them to take their life, the petition filed through the NGO's president G S Happy Maan, said, "Farmers are forced to buy seeds every planting season which increases poverty and indebtedness, compelling them to commit suicide.

"Interest rate at which loans are given to the farmers is very high and they are not able to repay the same. As per the report, it should not be more than four per cent."

It also said that farmers do not know how to cope with the changing economy and "need counseling from the government or society to survive it".

"Absence of counseling from government or society on how to survive changing economy" is also a reason for their suicides, it said.

"There is no crop insurance and rural infrastructure is poor, particularly harvest technology. Youths in villages are reluctant to take up farming as a career because of the cost-risk-return structure," the PIL said.

The NGO also told the court that in June 2014, the ministry of agriculture had said that it has started implementing the recommendations of the NCF, but so far nothing has been done for the benefit of farmers.