The Maharashtra government on Thursday issued a notification appealing its employees to contribute a day’s salary to provide financial assistance to families of farmers in the “suicide-prone” regions of the state. “We have asked officials, including IAS, IPS and Forest officers, and the workers of the state government, semi-government bodies, and corporations to contribute a day’s salary to the Chief Minister’s Relief fund in July to help families of farmers living in the suicide-prone regions,” stated the notification.
The money would also be used for education purposes of farmers’ children. “Besides chief minister, his cabinet colleagues, ministers of state, MLAs and MLCs have also been asked to contribute if they are willing to,” an official said today. The Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of the state are traditionally known as the “suicide belts” due to a large number of suicides by farmers reported in these areas over years.
Cultivators in various parts of the state recently resorted to protests for a complete loan waiver and other demands. Rattled by the unprecedented agitation, the state government recently agreed to waive loans of small and marginalised farmers. The government is in the process of laying down the criteria to determine the beneficiaries of the loan waiver.