Crop damage update: 189 lakh hectares
The unseasonal rainfall accompanied with hailstorm in February and March have caused much more damage to the crops than it was previously thought of, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Singh said that the latest assessments by the state governments add up to 189 lakh hectares of cropped land that have been affected by the recent rainfall.
Replying after a marathon eight-hour debate on the agrarian crisis in the country, Singh said Uttar Pradesh has revised the extent of damage of cropped land from 29 lakh hectares to 94 lakh hectares.
“I had told Lok Sabha on April 20 that a total of 94 lakh hectares of cropped land have been damaged. Since then some states have updated their numbers. As of now, the assessment is that 189 lakh hectares have been damaged,” Singh said, adding that the Centre was doing all it could to give relief to the affected families.
At the same time , he admitted that the crop insurance schemes, run by various private companies, had not turned out be very effective.
“The Central government has given licences to these companies to run crop insurance schemes. But it is the states who select which companies would be allowed to operate in their area,” Singh said.
He said the government has already taken a number of steps to help farmers, including an increase in the compensation amount. He countered the claims made by several Opposition members on the number of farmers who had committed suicide.
“Unhappy” with the minister’s reply, members of Congress, Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress walked out of the House.
Earlier in the day, a large number of MPs took part in the debate, most of them taking up issues of minimum support price, farmers’ suicides, compensation for crop damage, and the land acquisition bill.
CPM’s Sitaram Yechury said the government would be failing not just the nation but also the humanity if it did not take adequate steps to stop the spate of suicides being committed by farmers. He said the suicide of a farmer during the rally of Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi “was just a manifestation of a much bigger problem”.
Ashwani Kumar of the Congress suggested that the minimum support price should be based on the income level of the farmers rather than on the cost of production.
Source:: Indian Express