Farmer suicides increased after UPA’s loan waiver: Union Minister

New Delhi: Suicides by farmers increased after a loan waiver of Rs 70,000 crore was announced by the previous UPA government in 2008, Union Minister Parshottam Rupala said today.

Rupala, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, also said an audit conducted after the announcement of the mega loan waiver scheme had found that people who were not farmers were also given the loan waiver.

“There was an increase in farmers suicides after the Rs 70,000 crore loan waiver scheme was announced,” he said during Question Hour.

Replying to a question on whether the Supreme Court has suggested the government bring out a national policy to control farmers suicides, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the Supreme Court in its order on 6 July, 2017 has stated that an issue like this cannot be dealt with overnight, and it is justified for the Attorney General to
seek time to work out schemes appropriately.

Further, the Supreme Court has stated that it will be for the Union Government to determine whether and if so what, course should be adopted for this purpose. Tomar said agriculture being a state subject, State governments undertake development of perspective plans and ensure, effective implementation of programmes and schemes.

The government of India supplements efforts of the State governments through various schemes and programmes, he said.

The Minister said the government has been reorienting the agriculture sector by focusing on an income-centric approach as against the earlier production centric policy. This focuses on achieving high productivity, reduced cost of cultivation and remunerative price on the produce, with a view to earning higher profits for farmers, he said.