High farmer suicide rate a result of economic policies: P Sainath

September 7, 2013

Mangalore, Sep 7: Karnataka ranks second for the highest number of farmer suicides in the country with 39,000 suicides since 1995. Overwhelmingly, the suicide-committing farmers are cash crop farmers, said Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu P Sainath.

Delivering the second oration titled 'Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture' in the first B V Kakkilaya Inspired Orations - 2013, P Sainath, recipient of Ramon Magsaysay award, said that this was the result of the huge change that took place in farming, i.e. converting from cultivating food crops to cash crops. As there is greater cultivation of cash crops, there's a greater control by corporates in farming and the costs of cultivation are shooting through the roof as input prices go up. And every damage has been driven by economic policies,” he said, adding that the high farmer suicide rate was a result of growing inequality economic policies.

“The suicide rate is 47 percent higher among farmers than non-farmers. The highest number of suicides is by cotton farmers. Although the official figure states that about 2.85 lakh farmers have committed suicide since 1995, the figure excludes large number of women and Dalit farmers. Thousands of women farmers are excluded while calculating suicide rates, as the society does not consider women as farmers,” he said.

Quoting Ravindranath Tagore, Mr Sainath said that “Food is the source of wealth; food production is a source of endless misery.”

“When the Arab Spring that occurred in countries such as Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia in 2010, it did not occur due to Twitter. All these countries including India had seen giant increases in food prices since 2008, and all the while food and related companies continued to make profit. Food companies ranked at the top of the Fortune List of most profitable companies in 2009, when the world was hungry. Harvesting crops such as hunger and thirst is what the corporate world and corporate-driven society do,” he said.

He said that the West wanted us to cultivate cash crops to make us more dependent on them, as cash crops commodities are controlled by corporations at the global level. Corporatisation of agriculture is growing worse in India, he said, adding that we have to re-think the entire process of agriculture and move away from extremely critical techniques.

“In growing inequality, what has happened in agriculture is the extreme case of what has been happening in the rest of the country. We need to de-link ourselves from high-input and high-cost economy and lower the cost of agriculture,” he said.

A special 10-day session should be conducted in the Parliament specifically for agriculture, he opined.

The third edition of 'Bara Andre Ellarigoo Ishta', Kannada translation of Sainath's book 'Everybody Loves a Good Drought' was released on the occasion by K Phaniraj.

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July 6,2024

Mangaluru: An unsuspecting woman, who fell prey to online fraud, lost Rs 18.1 lakh. The complainant, who works from home, received a call on July 1 from an unknown person claiming to be from FedEx, informing her that a parcel had been registered in her name. 

Eager to find out more, she was instructed to press 1. After doing so, a person identifying himself as Anurag Tomar, with an employee ID, briefly introduced himself before ending the call.

Anurag Tomar called her back and alleged that the parcel contained contraband items, including a passport, four credit cards, 25 strips of LSD, and some clothes.

He told her she would be connected to the Mumbai Crime Branch and instructed her to download the Skype app for a video call.

Following these instructions, she spoke with an individual claiming to be an officer from the Mumbai Crime Branch. This person obtained her Aadhaar card and bank account details, and instructed her to add a beneficiary to her account. 

Over the course of the conversation, Rs 15 lakh was transferred from her account, followed by an additional Rs 3.1 lakh, after adding another beneficiary. The scammers stayed in touch with her until about 7.30 pm.

When the complainant attempted to reconnect with the same number, she was unable to reach anyone. She informed her family and realised that she had been defrauded. From 1.30 pm to 7.30 pm, the scammers made her believe they were from the Mumbai Crime Branch, threatening her with a case involving the alleged LSD found in the parcel. In total, she was cheated out of Rs 18.1 lakh, she alleged.

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July 3,2024

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Bengaluru: Police detained over 10 people, including state BJP chief B Y Vijayendra and leader of the opposition in the assembly, R Ashoka, for attempting to lay siege to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's official residence on Kumar Krupa Road in central Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Led by Vijayendra and Ashoka, over 10 people attempted to stage a protest in front of the Guest House, just beside the CM's official residence, against the alleged multi-crore scam at the Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation (KMVSTDC) and recent developments in the state, such as the fuel price hike.

Even as the protestors gathered to denounce the Congress government and the CM, as a precautionary measure, security forces deputed at the K K Guest House (near CM’s house) swooped down on the agitators, detained them and shifted them to a bus stationed at the location.

BJP leaders Araga Jnanendra, MLAs Suresh Kumar and Aravind Bellad and MLC CT Ravi were among the protesters detained by the police.

The alleged multi-crore scam in the KMVSTDC came to light after Chandrashekhar, the accounts superintendent of the corporation, died by suicide on May 26 at his residence in Shivamogga.

The Karnataka governmentt transferred the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the scam.

The SIT has arrested 11 people in connection with the case and the inister for Tribal Welfare, B Nagendra resigned from the Cabinet after the scam came to light.

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June 28,2024

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Mangaluru: A 21-year-old woman was allegedly electrocuted in a village in Belthangady taluka in Dakshina Kannada district, police said on Friday. 

The deceased has been identified as Pratiksha Shetty, they said, adding that the incident happened in Shibaje village within the Dharmasthala police limits on Thursday evening.

According to police, the woman had stepped out of her house to collect a parcel when she was electrocuted. An insulator of an electricity wire had broken and fallen into the water-filled trench, resulting in Pratiksha’s electrocution. 

She was heading towards the main road, just 100 meters from her home, to collect an online parcel she had ordered. The trench, which becomes waterlogged during the monsoon, lay in her path. 

She was electrocuted on the spot. Her father, Ganesh Shetty, also received a shock while attempting to rescue her.

Pratiksha was a resident of Bargula hamlet in Shibaje village, a police official said. The body was handed over to the family after the post-mortem, the official added.

This is the second incident of electrocution this week. Earlier, two autorickshaw drivers had come into contact with a live cable in Pandeshwar in Mangaluru city on Tuesday and died, police said.

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