India : more and more farmers are killing themselves

Farmer winnowing in the Thar desert. Rajasthan, India;

The Indian economy is booming. Yet, more and more farmers are killing themselves because they are over-indebted, victims of drought or insufficient harvests, or because they are bankrupted. Indeed, they can’t repay their loans. According to the ministry of agriculture, more than 200.000 farmers killed themselves in India since 1997. According to the farmers associations, the number is even far bigger. The most affected regions are the dry states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra ( in central India). There, the number of suicides has been multiplied fourfold between 1995 and 2005. From 1.000 to 4.000 ! Most of the suicides are due to loans the farmers have subscribed to compensate crop failures or to pay the dowry of their daughter from private moneylenders that apply prohibitive interest rates. Most of the farmer repay only the interests, something like 80 % of their income. The government grant loans with interest rate limited to a maximum of 9 %. But only 2 farmers out of 10  are able to access them.

Since then, the government of Manmohan Singh ( the Prime Minister of India since 2004)has made available twice more money to the poor farmers. For each one, the annual amount available is calculated in accordance with the agricultural area, the type of production and its yield. Farmers receive a credit card with which they can withdraw money when they need. A revolution ! Farmers were waiting for that since years.

Moreover, since 2006, the government compensates the victims families : up to 140.000 Rs ( 2.000 euros, 2.500 $) to pay back the debts and 70.000 Rs ( 1.000 euros, 1.250 $) as a subsistence allowance. But it is necessary to prove you have received a loan and the money has been spent to cultivate lands. However, most of the farmers being poor and    illiterate, they are unable to keep financial accounts in order. So, very few families can benefit from this aid program.

About travelerreport

My blog is all about travelling and photography
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