The Supreme Court on Friday told the Tamil Nadu government to concentrate on preventing farmers’ suicide and not to go around distributing compensation after they commit suicide. “Your approach has to be preventive and not compensatory,” a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar said.
Counsel for an association of Tamil Nadu farmers, Advocate R. Rajaraman, cited loss of dignity as the reason behind farmers’ suicide. “Banks take coercive steps if farmers fail to pay their agricultural loans. This hurts their dignity and sense of pride. Most of them are small farmers, they opt to take their own lives,” Rajaraman said.
To this, Justice Khanwilkar asked the state government whether there was is any mechanism by which a distressed small farmer subjected to coercion can approach the administration. “If there are coercive steps taken against farmers by banks for defaults in agricultural loans, there should be intervention from you,” Justice Misra said.
Tamil Nadu is battling one of the worst droughts in the past 140 years. A group of farmers from Tamil Nadu had come to Jantar Mantar in April and had agitated for 41 days to get the PM’s attention. Their demands included a loan waiver and a drought relief package. Their shocking and novel protests made headlines across the country.