Farm loan waiver benefits only a few, says Mukherjee

Outgoing chief secy blames lifestyle change for farmer suicides

Farm loan waiver benefits only a few, says Mukherjee

Outgoing Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee on Thursday said efforts to mitigate farmers’ woes by waiving of loans availed from cooperative institutions will not be of much help as only a section of farmers get the benefit.

Interacting with the media after handing over charge to Arvind Jadhav at Vidhana Soudha, he said only about 16 per cent of the total farmers in the State have taken membership in cooperative institutions.

“The rest 84 per cent will still be remaining in poverty. We have tried to inform the government in this regard. At the same time, efforts are being made to increase the membership of farmers in cooperative banks,” he added.

On the spurt in cases of farmer suicides in the State, he said the desire to rise in life too fast is one of the reasons for farmer suicides.

“Lifestyle of farmers is also responsible for increasing suicides. I had come across an instance where a farmer owning a two-acre land in Kalaburagi had borrowed Rs 17 lakh. This is what happens when you want to rise in life too fast,” Mukherjee, who served as bureaucratic head of the State for two years and two months, stated.

The farmers require proper guidance. Banks should educate the farmers on taking loans and managing their finances, instead of focusing merely on recovery. The farmers are in distress because they are not getting the remunerative price. Prices of almost all manufacturing goods such as cloths and vehicles have gone up 30 to 40 times in the last few years. The prices of agriculture produce such as potato has increased by only about four to five times. In other words, the middle and the rich classes are getting farm produce at highly subsidised rates, he pointed out.

He praised the State government’s decision to introduce online trading at Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) in order to ensure that the farmers get remunerative prices. The government has taken many other initiatives to bring about a change in the system and it would take two to three years to yield results, he said.

He said he had good experience serving as the chief secretary though his job was a tough one. “Jadhav is a good friend of mine. I have advised him not to take the ball outside the off stump, play only front foot,” Mukherjee, who is a cricket fan, said.

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