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Stop Farmer Suicides by Implementing the Swaminathan Report
Over 50,000 farmers have walked 180 kilometers from Nashik to Mumbai, for a silent protest outside the Vidhaan Sabha. Their demands are simple, implement the Swaminathan Report's suggestions and waive off their loans, as promised. According to Huffpost, over 2,00,000 farmers all over the country have committed suicide from 1997-2008. The past 10 years has just seen a rise in these staggering figures. Farmers in Maharashtra have faced the toughest times than any other states. The government of India constituted the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) on November 18, 2004. The NCF was chaired by Professor M.S. Swaminathan. It submitted five reports to the government. The first was submitted in December 2004 and the fifth and final report was submitted on October 4, 2006. The reports had suggestions for “faster and more inclusive growth” for farmers as was envisaged in the Planning Commission’s Approach to 11th Five Year Plan. The fifth report was the most crucial as it contained suggestions for inclusive growth of farmers and agriculture sector. The Commission observed that farmers needed to have an assured access to and control over rightful basic resources. These basic resources include land, water, bio-resources, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets. It has been over 12 years since the last report was submitted and very minimal progress can be seen, in terms of government action. Farmers are the food givers, they are the lifeline of a healthy nation and their demands have been neglected for way too long now, it is time we stand up for them and their basic rights.