NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday admitted before the Supreme Court that only 40 percent of country’s farmers had benefitted from its various agricultural schemes.
India’s top legal officer K K Venugopal appeared on behalf of Centre and told a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud that, “Government is trying to take various pro-farmer measures but for showing effective results, we should be given adequate time.”
CJI Khehar responded, “We want schemes to move from paper to implementation. Tell us how are you going to implement.”
Attorney General said, “Government is ensuring that the schemes reached at least half of India’s farmers and out of 12 crore farmers, 5.34 crore farmers have already been covered under various welfare schemes, including the Fasal Bima Yojana.”
The court too agreed with Centre that time is needed for proper implementation of policies, and observed that “cases of farmers suicide cannot be dealt with overnight.”
The hearing also saw CJI asking Venugopal in a lighter vein, “I am also a farmer. Never has anyone come to me to collect premium for crop insurance.”
Venugopal explained, “That's because CJI wouldn't have taken a loan.”
The bench granted six months time to the government to implement the schemes to prevent farmer suicides.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by an NGO NGO Citizens Resource and Action Initiative (CRANTI) on farmer suicides.
The court also asked Centre to consider the suggestions of senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing the NGO in formulating measures to deal with the issue of farmer suicides.
Last month, five farmers were killed when police opened fire in Madhya Pradesh when they were demanding a loan waiver and a better price for their produce.