New Delhi, February 3
The Union Agriculture Minister, Narendra Tomar, in a written reply in Parliament, revealed that a total of 1,056 farmers committed suicide over the past five years (2017-21) in Punjab. High debt burden was the cause of suicide by farmers, opine agriculture experts.
Of the total 1,056 farmer cases, 243 were reported in 2017; 229 in 2018; 239 in 2019; 174 in 2020; and 171 in 2021.
Farmers’ suicides in Punjab is obviously a cause of concern for many because this number is the highest among agrarian states of the region. In neighbouring Haryana, the count is 23 in five years.
In Uttar Pradesh, which is the highest producer of wheat in the country, the count in the last five years is 398. In Rajasthan, seven farmers committed suicide in five years.
Tomar had gave this information when AAP MP ND Gupta from New Delhi asked a question in this regard.
According to the Agriculture Minister, 28, 572 farmers committed suicide across the country from 2017 to 2021. The highest number of deaths were reported in Maharashtra where 12,552 farmers committed suicide in the same period.
Various studies conducted by agriculture universities have revealed that heavy debt was one of the reasons behind farmer suicides in Punjab. Agriculture experts said higher input costs and low profits had forced farmers into a debt trap.
On a supplementary question asked by the AAP MP “Whether the income of farmers has doubled by the year 2022 as claimed by the Prime Minister himself”, the Agriculture Minister apparently failed to answer. He told the House that the government had implemented several development programmes, schemes, reforms and policies for achieving higher incomes for farmers.
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