NEW DELHI: The government should implement land reforms on a priority basis in order to prevent farmer suicides, said Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM), a forum fighting for the rights of women farmers.
Activists said women’s lack of visibility as farmers due to lack of land ownership is not reflected in the farmer suicide numbers published by the states.
The forum demanded the Centre should announce a package for women in states which are affected by farmer suicides in its upcoming Budget.
The government should come up with a detailed database of women farmers and the suicide affected states and identity certificates should be issued to them to improve policymaking and monitoring, MAKAAM has said in a policy statement.
The various packages rolled out by states in order to combat the agrarian crisis have neglected women from households.
A district-level committee should be formed to monitor the preventive measures taken on a monthly basis and a case-by-case review of rehabilitation support extended to the victims’ families.
Besides, a special cell should be formed to address the concerns of women in suicide-affected households. The government should be given women farmers land transfers, pensions, healthcare support, education, housing and farming support on a priority basis, said the forum.
With the denial of land rights being rife, lack of land ownership often forces women out of the households to exit farming. They are either forced to work as labourers or look for other forms of employment which makes them more vulnerable, the forum has observed.
Government programmes do not recognise the need for women accessing healthcare services, MAKAAM pointed out. Psychosomatic disorders which are common among women from these families and the state apathy make women more vulnerable, testimonies collected by the forum showed.
The forum held a national consultation in order to represent its views in the capital ahead of Budget in order to press its demand for resettlement and rehabilitation package that gives women farmers the opportunity to continue with their farming.