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New Delhi: Suicide by farmers due to agrarian reasons have dropped significantly to 152 in the current year, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said today.
A total of 14,027 farmers in the country had ended their life in 2011, he said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
The worst affected states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have seen a fall in farmer suicides this year, he said. The minister said the government has taken several steps to revitalise agriculture sector and improve condition of farmers on sustainable basis by increasing investment, improving farm practices, rural infrastructure and delivery of credit, technology and other inputs, extension marketing, marketing etc., under various schemes. Maharashtra registered 118 cases of farmer suicide till August 8 this year, while Andhra Pradesh witnessed 33 such cases till July 25 and there was only one such incident in Karnataka (till July 10), Pawar added.
The number for the same in 2011 was 485, 193 and 67 for Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, respectively. Pawar said reasons for farmer suicide as reported by state governments included indebtedness, crop failure, drought, socio-economic and personal reasons.
The government is focusing on expansion of farm income, creation of non-farm income opportunities, improvement in productivity of rainfed agriculture, increasing coverage of farming areas under protective irrigation and forging appropriate backward and forward linkages. Investment in agriculture & allied activities by public and private sectors at current price has increased from Rs 1,81,562 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 2,11,565 crore in 2010-11.
Total plan outlay for Department of Agriculture has been increased from Rs 17,123 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 2,0208 crore in 2012-13, Pawar said.