New Delhi: The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that suicide of farmers is integrally linked to problems and deficiencies in the farming sector as the fruits of various schemes did not benefit the farmers.
Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha told a three-judge bench of Justices Dipak Misra, A.M. Kanwilkar and M.M. Shantanagouder that a fresh look is needed to address the concern of the farmers. He cited the various schemes initiated by the Centre and said the focus now is on increasing the income of farmers rather than on increasing production. He said the State was now looking into the pre-harvest, during harvest and post-harvest issues so that the problems of farmers can be effectively addressed.
When counsel Rajaraman, appearing for P. Ayyakannu, who led the agitation in the capital said that the State was not giving a true picture of the number of suicides by farmers due to drought, Justice Misra said “the purpose of entertaining this litigation is not find fault but to get some benefit to the farmers and to the families who had lost their breadwinner (suicide death). The State must take affirmative steps and not rest on rhetoric statements.”
Amicus curiae Gopal Sankaranarayanan submitted a note on the problems confronting the farmers in Tamil Nadu, the foremost being lack of awareness among farmers about the Minimum Support Price given by the government for 26 commodities. The combination of lack of awareness of farmers and lack of proximity of Mandis leads to low procurement by the Food Corporation of India and the State agencies. He said the Centre and the State were yet to implement the recommendations of M.S. Swaminathan committee on MSPs to farmers. Further procurement centres are not opened on time to enable the farmers to sell their produce. The ASG however submitted that a resume has been set out for awareness camps and also steps have been taken to have mandis which are easily accessible and procurement centres have been opened. The Bench then asked the ASG to verify whether there is any programme in Doordarshan to make aware the farmers about the MSP, establishment of mandies and procurement centres.
The Bench asked the ASG to file an affidavit in this regard indicating the steps taken and to be taken with suggestions to enable the court to give directions. The Becnh also asked the amicus curiae to give his suggestions and posted the matter for further hearing on May 8....