HYDERABAD: Farmers can call helpline number 9490900800 to speak to Kisan Mitra counsellors regarding any agricultural issue or government scheme. The team ensures that the problem is resolved by reaching out to authorities
Heavy financial indebtedness, lack of financial support, crop loss, exploitative marketing system and an apathetic banking system are among the many reasons for farmer suicides across the country. The lack of proper financial and agricultural awareness has led many to trouble.
To address this, Kisan Mitra, a unique collaboration between the civil society organisations and the Vikarabad district administration, was launched on April 14, 2017. Five years later, the helpline has expanded to serve farmers not only in the Adilabad and Mancherial districts of Telangana, but also in Kadapa, Visakhapatnam and Anantapur districts of Andhra Pradesh.
With an aim to help farmers, a helpline number 9490900800 was started where farmers could speak to Kisan Mitra counsellors regarding any agricultural issue or government scheme. The Kisan Mitra team works with concerned government officials to resolve the issue. The field outreach team follows up with the farmers on the field to ensure that the issue is resolved. Instructions are sent to the concerned officials, if the issues are pending for long.
The efforts by the team have helped resolve 5,810 cases in Vikarabad, 3,566 cases in Adilabad and 924 in Mancherial districts. However, 1,199 cases in Vikarabad and 599 cases in Mancherial districts are still pending. Most of the issues were related to agriculture and revenue.
After the heavy rains in 2018, Adilabad farmers faced huge crop losses. Similarly, Mancherial farmers, who had faced heavy losses due to mid-season adversity, were left out of the crop insurance cover in 2019. The helpline team worked with the respective district administrations and ensured that input subsidy support reached the farmers and that they could claim their insurance.
Standing up for ryots
Kisan Mitra has also been working on giving market support by intervening when distress calls were received with regard to the procurement process, ensuring minimum support price, procurement of Rabi crops, and so on. In Adilabad alone, the Joint Liability Groups (JLG) comprising around 700 tenant farmers were supported with a loan of `1 lakh to `1.5 lakh per group through Kisan Mitra’s banking credit intervention.
Kisan Mitra has followed up on revenue-related problems raised by farmers by coordinating with concerned officials, making field visits, checking the portals like Maa Bhoomi and Dharani and giving inputs to the District Collectors during their review meetings on revenue-related issues. The helpline has not only been working to ensure victimised farmers get compensation from the government, but has also been supporting the families after failed suicide attempts by farmers.
Impressed by the operation of the helpline, the District Collector of Wardha in Maharashtra initiated a similar helpline there. Niti Aayog has also proposed to have consultations with the District Collectors of 50 suicide-prone districts across the country to initiate something akin to the Kisan Mitra.