The Telangana government has decided to hike compensation for farmer suicide deaths from Rs. 1.5 lakh rupees to Rs. 6 lakhs. The decision was taken after a five-hour cabinet meeting that discussed farmer suicide deaths and agriculture crisis in the Telangana districts this kharif season.
Deputy chief minister Kadiam Srihari announced that the hiked compensation would be effective 'prospectively' from September 19. This is likely to become controversial as those families where farmers killed themselves before September 19 will get only Rs. 1.5 lakh as compensation.
Besides, critics are asking if the government is expecting more farmers to kill themselves instead of reaching out to them and stopping them from taking the extreme step.
''We appeal to farmers with folded hands to face the situation bravely, and assure that the government will stand by you,'' the deputy chief minister, agriculture minister and home minister said in a joint press conference after the cabinet meeting.
So if earlier compensation to family was one lakh rupees for creating livelihood, now that is five lakh rupees. And earlier, Rs. 50,000 was for one-time settlement of all outstanding loans, that has now been increased to one lakh rupees.
The government said a decision on declaring districts or mandals as drought-hit would be taken after September 30. In a welcome move, the government also announced that 1,000 new agriculture officers will be appointed to observe and offer advice for every 2000 hectares of farm land.
According to the government, 430 farmer suicide deaths have been reported in the last one year of which 141 have been found eligible for compensation in accordance with the government's criteria.
Opposition parties have claimed at least 1200 farmers have killed themselves in the same period.