Earlier this week, farmers from Tamil Nadu began a dramatic protest in Delhi. After a month of quietly asking the government for help, the farmers took matters into their own hands. Unable to meet the Prime Minister to present their demands, the farmers began dramatic forms of protest, which included rolling on the road, demonstrating with dead rats and snakes in their mouths and even taking off their clothes to get attention for their problems.
Why are they protesting?
Last year during October to December, the north-east monsoon was a failure, and as a result many farmers in Tamil Nadu lost their crops. Before that summer crops were affected as Karnataka refused to release River Cauvery’s water for Tamil Nadu farmers. With crops lost and no money, many farmers killed themselves. More than a 100 farmers died between October and December 2016.
These farmers want the government to help with money to tide over the problem. They also want help in repaying loans they took for buying seeds and farm machinery.
Meanwhile in Uttar Pradesh
Farmers in Tamil Nadu are looking to the government in Delhi for help because the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which runs the central government has recently agreed to a ‘loan waiver’ in Uttar Pradesh (UP), a state that is also run by the BJP. In UP, the government has promised to put aside loans taken by small farmers-this means the farmers won’t have to repay loans taken from government banks.
The UP move is having an effect on other states as well. Farmers in Punjab and Maharashtra would also like the government to help them pay off loans. Is this a good idea?
Experts say “No”
Small farmers typically take money from local moneylenders and not banks. As a result, they won’t benefit from the UP government’s move say experts. Plus it is going to cost the government a lot of money to pay back these loans, which is not good news. Experts say it would be a better idea to help farmers to cultivate crops better by providing seeds and tools and earn more from their existing lands.
Why are farm loans important to us?
Farmers grow our food, so anything concerning farmers affects all of us. If farmers are in trouble, it could affect food supply to all of us.