New Delhi : Expressing shock over a farmer committing suicide every 32 minutes in the country, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre to take steps to prevent such suicides on

account of their financial condition.

The Bench of Chief Justice-designate H L Dattu and Justice S A Bobde also sought details of action taken by the government to implement Dr. M S Swaminathan Committee’s recommendation on the farming sector. The notice returnable in four weeks was issued on a petition by a Bathinda based NGO Youth Kamal Organisation in Punjab represented by its president Gurmit Singh Mann.

The petition said that between 2004 to 2012, about 1, 46, 373 famers committed suicide that makes 16,263 farmers ending their lives a year at an average of 45 farmer committing suicide every day. Every 32 minutes a farmer ends his life on account of financial stress he faces in the agriculture under severe distress.

Pointing out that 60% of India’s population depends directly or indirectly on the agriculture sector, the NGO pointed out that the farming was becoming uneconomical, forcing farmers to suicide, as just in a decade between 2001 and 2011 over 90 lakh people opted out of farming to go into other occupations.

It claims farmers were being driven to suicide because of agrarian distress. It said that major cause of this agrarian distress is the unfinished land reforms, unavailability of quality and quantity of water, technology fatigue, inadequate institutional credit when required, lack of remunerative prices and unfavourable climatic conditions.

The petition sought the implementation of recommendation of the National Commission on Farmers headed by eminent agriculture scientist. Swaminathan and the report of the Working Group of Chief Ministers on Agriculture Production under the Chairmanship of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hoods.

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