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Farmers' suicides: Supreme Court bats for national policy; seeks government response
 
(NEW DELHI,Jan 08, 2017):: Expressing concern over the increase in farmer suicides in the country, Supreme Court on Friday favoured a comprehensive national policy to protect farmers, many of whom have committed suicide due to rising debt and crop failures caused by natural calamities.

“It is a sensitive matter of larger public interest and human rights which covers the entire country," a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana said while expanding the scope of the petition which has raised the issue of farmers' suicides in Gujarat, to the entire country.

“In this matter, we are of the view that all states should assist and accordingly we implead all state governments, Union Territories, the Centre and the RBI," the bench said asking them to file their responses in four weeks.

The court was hearing the appeal, filed by NGO 'Citizens Resource and Action and Initiative' on issues related to farmers in Gujarat.

During the hearing, the court said that many farmers were committing suicide because of crop failure and indebtedness and yet there was no national policy to protect them.

The PIL, which only concerns Gujarat, had sought compensation to families of 619 debtridden farmers who allegedly committed suicide in the state since 2003 and sought a direction to the state to pay compulsory financial aid of Rs 30,000 per hectare to the farmers who suffered crop failure.

It has challenged the July 10, 2013 order of the Gujarat High Court dismissing its plea for compensation and alleged that farmers were being neglected by the state government.

The affidavit of Ministry of Agriculture had submitted that out of a total of over one lakh suicides in the country in 2013, farmer suicides were recorded at 8.7 per cent.


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