Archive for ‘farmers’

05/12/2018

Angry Indian farmers march on parliament to denounce their plight

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Indian farmers and rural workers marched to the Indian parliament in the capital, New Delhi, on Friday in a protest against soaring operating costs and plunging produce prices that have brought misery to many.

Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, India, November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The protest is one of the biggest displays of frustration with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which faces a tough general election due by May next year. India’s 263 million farmers make up an important voting bloc.

“Farmers have been routinely committing suicide,” said one of the protest leaders, Yogendra Yadav, as he marched in a crowd down a central Delhi thoroughfare.

“It’s a shame that the government doesn’t have any time for those who feed us,” said Yadav, who leads the Jai Kisan Andolan, a farmers’ group.

Low food prices, export curbs, anti-inflation policies that keep rural incomes low and a broad shift from subsidies to investment spending have all infuriated and demoralised farmers.

Core inflation in India, where farming is a mainstay for nearly half the people, has hovered around 6 percent in the past few months, but food prices have either fallen or remained stagnant.

Agriculture contributes about 15 percent to India’s $2.6 trillion economy, Asia’s third-largest, but employs nearly half of its 1.3 billion people.

Farmers from more than 200 groups began gathering in New Delhi on Thursday. They demanded that the government call a special session of parliament to discuss the crisis in the countryside.

“I myself know so many farmers who have committed suicide, and their families are now living in penury,” said farmer Lakhan Pal Singh from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.

“The policies of the Modi administration are responsible.”

Farmers have also protested in the financial hub of Mumbai, including this month when tens of thousands of farmers marched to Mumbai to demand loan waivers and the transfer of forest land to villagers.

New Delhi police deployed 3,500 personnel in the city on Friday but there was no trouble.

In October, police fired teargas and water cannons in a clash with about 50,000 farmers heading for New Delhi.

‘LAST STRAW’

The discontent in the countryside, where 70 percent of Indians live, could erode support for Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won India’s biggest parliamentary mandate in three decades in the last general election in 2014.

But political analysts and farm economists say Modi will find it hard to repeat that next time.

“We voted for the BJP but anti-farmer policies of the government have hit us hard,” said Singh.

The last time a BJP government lost power, in a 2004 election, it was largely because rural voters abandoned the party.

Last year, police shot and killed six farmers protesting against lower prices in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, which recently held a state assembly election – a neck-and-neck contest between the BJP and opposition Congress party.

The result is due on Dec. 11.

Leaders from the main opposition Congress party, as well as left-wing parties and the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party addressed the flag-waving protesters who converged in the historic heart of the city.

“We’ve been living a hand-to-mouth existence for a very long time but rising prices of seeds, diesel and fertiliser and falling prices of milk, fruits, vegetables and even staples is the last straw,” said farmer Shivpal Yadav.

“If the government doesn’t address the problems, we’ll be back,” said Yadav, from the northern state of Haryana.

Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Robert Birsel

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03/12/2018

Nehru wore rose on his suit, but was ignorant of farmers’ woes: PM Modi

“He (Nehru) used to wear rose and had the knowledge of gardens but did not know about farmers or farming, due to which the community faced hardship,” PM Modi was quoted as saying without naming the first Prime Minister.

Nehru wore rose on his suit, had knowledge of gardening but was ignorant of farmers' woes: PM Modi
PM Modi also stated that Nehru had objections about President Rajendra Prasad’s visit for the consecration of Somnath temple which was destroyed by foreign invaders and ‘renovated’ by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. (PTI File photo)

Campaigning for the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday resorted to ‘kaamdaar-naamdar’ (worker-dynast) jibe in his attack on Congress party which had earlier questioned his knowledge on Hinduism. The prime minister also invoked the first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru while talking about the agrarian distress in the country.

Without naming Nehru, Modi said a leader wore a rose and had knowledge of gardening but didn’t know about farming, which he held as the reason behind farmers’ distress. “He (Nehru) used to wear rose and had the knowledge of gardens but did not know about farmers or farming, due to which the community faced hardship,” PM Modi was quoted as saying by PTI.

He also claimed that Nehru had objections about President Rajendra Prasad’s visit for the consecration of Somnath temple which was destroyed by foreign invaders and ‘renovated’ by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Modi also stated that he is a petty “kaamdaar” who never made the claim of having complete knowledge of Hinduism, nevertheless, the “naamdaar” has the right to speak. He also asked the Congress party about the source of its expertise on religion. PM Modi has often labelled the Congress president to be a dynast or “naamdaar” on multiple occasions previously.

03/12/2018

PM Modi Creating 2 Indias, One For Ambani, One For Farmers: Rahul Gandhi

PM Modi Creating 2 Indias, One For Ambani, One For Farmers: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the Modi government over Rafale jet deal.

 

NEW DELHI: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the farmers’ issue, saying he was making “two Hindustans” – one for Anil Ambani and the other for farmers.

He cited a media report which claimed that for 750 kg of onion, a farmer was given Rs. 1040 in Maharashtra.

“Modi-ji is making two Hindustans. One is the Hindustan for Anil Ambani — who without doing anything, without making an airplane, will get the Rafale contract worth Rs. 30,000 crore from Modiji.

“The second is the Hindustan for farmers — whose 750 kg of onion grown after four months of toil will get only Rs. 1040 from Modiji,” the Congress president wrote on Twitter.

The Congress has been attacking the Modi government over issues concerning the farmers, alleging that the government’s policies have left them in distress.

The government has rejected the claims and pointed out the number of steps it has taken for the welfare of farmers.

The Congress and its chief have also launched an offensive on PM Modi and his government, alleging corruption and favouritism in the fighter jet deal for purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft from France’s Dassault Aviation, a charge the government has strongly denied.

03/12/2018

Upset Over Getting 20 Paise For Brinjal Crop, Farmer Destroys Plantation

Upset Over Getting 20 Paise For Brinjal Crop, Farmer Destroys Plantation

The Maharashtra farmer had planted brinjal on two acres of land. (Representational)

 

MUMBAI: After being offered a meagre 20 paise per kilogram for his brinjal production, a farmer in Maharashtra destroyed the entire plantation on his land to save himself from incurring further losses.

Rajendra Bawake, from Sakuri village of Ahmednagar, claimed he earned only Rs. 65,000 after investing Rs. 2 lakh and putting in all his energy to cultivate the brinjal crop.

Frustrated with low income, the farmer uprooted all brinjal plants from his field and threw them away on Sunday.

“I had planted brinjal on two acres of land and laid pipes for drip irrigation. I used fertilisers, pesticides and modern mulching techniques to enhance the production. The total investment came to around Rs. 2 lakh. In return, I earned only Rs. 65,000,” Mr Bawake said today.

The cultivator said he now owes dues worth over Rs. 35,000 to fertilisers and pesticide suppliers. “I don’t know how I am going to raise that money,” he said.

Mr Bawake claimed that when he tried to sell his produce at the wholesale markets in Nashik and Surat, he fetched only 20 paise per kg.

“I never got better returns in the last three-four months and so, I decided to do away with the plantation,” he added.

Mr Bawake said he rears three cows at home and needs money to buy fodder for the cattle. “I had hopes from brinjal farming, but now I don’t know how to take care of my cattle.”

Recently, an onion-grower from Nashik who had to sell his produce for little over Re 1 per kg and fetched only Rs. 1,064 for 750 kg of the vegetable, sent his earnings to prime minister Narendra Modi last month as a mark of protest.

COMMENT

Farmers from across the country gathered in New Delhi last Thursday in protest to press for various demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.

02/12/2018

India farmers: Tens of thousands march against agrarian crisis

  • 30 November 2018
Farmers protesting in DelhiImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe farmers are marching to highlight the agrarian crisis

Tens of thousands of Indian farmers have marched to the parliament in the capital, Delhi, to highlight the deepening agrarian crisis.

They arrived on Thursday from across the country and held a rally demanding better crop prices, drought relief and loan waivers.

Indian agriculture has been blighted by a depleting water table and declining productivity for decades.

This is the fourth such farmers’ protest in the past year.

Farmers make up important voting bloc in the country and, analysts say, given the scale of the protests, their discontentment could hurt the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in next year’s general election.

“We voted for the BJP but anti-farmer policies of the government have hit us hard,” Lakhan Pal Singh, one of the farmers participating in the march, told Reuters news agency.

One of their chief demands is a special parliamentary session to discuss solutions to the agrarian crisis, including a full loan waiver and higher crop prices.

Half of India’s population works on farms, but farming contributes only 15% to the country’s GDP.

Image captionThe farmers, including women, have come from different parts of India

In most states, governments have been less than swift in paying the farmers more for their crops – the federal government sets the price for produce and procures crops from farmers to incentivise production and ensure income support.

Indian farmers also struggle with debt owed to banks and money lenders. And crop failures trigger farm suicides with alarming frequency. At least 300,000 farmers have killed themselves since 1995.

Daughters, wives and other family members of farmers who took their own lives over crop failure or mounting debt are also participating in the protest – with some of them carrying photographs of their loved ones.

Read more about India’s farming crisis

The march has been organised by an umbrella group of farmers’ organisations from different parts of the country. Many of the protesters are also members of the farmers’ wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

They have been arriving in Delhi since Thursday night. They gathered at a huge public ground that is often used for political rallies and spent the night in tents there. They started matching towards the parliament on Friday morning even as thousands of policemen were deployed for security.

Sangita Bhoir, a woman farmer from the western state of Maharashtra, had protested in Mumbai city a few months ago. Now, she is in Delhi.

Image captionFamilies of farmers who have killed themselves also participated in the protest

“In Mumbai, we had blisters in our feet [from walking]. They [the government] had promised that they would fulfil our demands in three months, but they never did,” she told BBC Marathi.

Several young doctors and medical students have also joined the farmers to show support and to provide them with medical aid, if necessary.

Many others – including lawyers, artists and teachers – are bringing drinking water and food, as well as publicising the protest on social media.

Image captionThis is the fourth such farmers’ protest in the past one year

“Due to social media, there has been an increased awareness about farmers’ issues in Delhi,” says Monami Basu, a Delhi University professor who is also participating in the march.

“I wanted to be a part of this march to show solidarity with the agitating farmers.”

The protest in Delhi is the latest by farmers in recent years. In March, tens of thousands of farmers from the western state of Maharashtra had walked 160km (100 miles) to Mumbai city in support of similar demands.

And last year, drought-hit farmers from the southern state of Tamil Nadu brandished human skulls and held live mice in their mouths to draw attention to their plight.

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