Agri-land lease law can contain farmer suicides: Haque

Bhubaneswar: In the wake of rising farmer suicide cases in Odisha which has officially touched 48 so far, NITI Aayog expert committee chairperson T Haque observed that agricultural land leasing law which identifies tenant farmers and helps protect them from crop losses, will be able to check farmer suicide cases across the country.

Haque who is heading an expert committee to prepare a model agricultural land leasing act in consultation with seven states, said the law which is being implemented in States like Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, allows farmers to take loans from banks.

“This (law) also enables the small farmers to get loan eligibility card to lessen input costs during cultivation. Besides they can also insure their crops. Hence, they need not be worried in case of crop failure,” stated he.

Emphasizing on the haranguing by private moneylenders, on the sidelines of a State-level consultation programme here for a model agri-land leasing Act, he said across the country the peasants are prone to take extreme steps fearing the repayment of loan.

“The law will not only relieve the sharecroppers from the burden of loans from private moneylenders but will help increase their incomes from the land. Once they are identified and recognised under the law, the agricultural loan burden is shifted to the insurance company,” he said adding the risk will be less for the farmers.

Haque opined that natural calamity-prone Odisha should bring reforms in State agriculture policy by incorporating the land leasing act which is being implemented in neighbouring West Bengal since years.

The expert committee will consist of top representatives from seven states and officials from rural development ministry as well as the NITI Aayog, and will have a term of three months to submit its proposals. The states which are part of the committee include Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam and Meghalaya.