- A woman looses her husband, a farmer who committed suicide. So she moves in with her mother in a different village than her husbands. She is eligible for a single woman pension, but since her Aadhaar card has an address linked to her husbands village, she is denied
- Another farmer lost 40% of the crop to spurious pesticides and fertilizers
- Farmer sold his 6 quintals at the market, but never got the payment
- Farmer is cultivating ground nut on his 6 acres land and the crop is turning red and needs help
- Farmer sowed ground nut and wants to know about crop insurance, about the claims etc
- The electric pole breaks down, the farmer buys a new one. but lineman never gave the connection
These were just some of the problems that the farmer helpline at Vikarabad had received over the past 9 months or so. From crop insurance to land registration to pension to compensation to spurious seeds to pest attacks – a whole gamut of issues concerning farming and everyday farmers life, were reported to the helpline. The helpline had received over 6000 phone calls in the past 9 months i.e. 660 phone calls a month i.e. 22 phone calls a day i.e. almost one call every hour (and if we consider a 10 hour working day, then that is 2 calls every hour). And going by these numbers the helpline definitely justifies its relevance.
A simple cloud of the cases that have been reported till date reveals that most of the calls were around
- Crop Insurance
- Loan waivers
- Drip irrigation
What the cloud also reveals is that the farmers are calling the helpline for something as basic as where do they buy the seeds or how do they apply for crop insurance or what steps do they have to take for pest attacks. This is information that is lying with the agriculture department and/or the extension officers at the district or the mandal level, but unfortunately there is very little to no effort being made on the ground to make this information accessible and available to the farmers. So helpline is a great initiative to bridge this gap, a rather wide gap, and bridge it effectively.
Moving on to more serious issues that were reported – issues concerning suicides and suicide victims. Many of the victims were calling about filing an FIR or seeking information on compensation procedures, which is very critical. Having they lost their only breadwinner and having money lenders breathing down their neck, their everyday survival becomes a living nightmare. The helpline can play a crucial role here, as seen in the case of KisanMitra, to help disseminate information, escalate and give them a ray of hope that there is at least someone the families can talk to.
Enough of justification of helpline, but seriously, lets just think common sense for a minute. Agriculture is the biggest employer of the country, with than 60% of the population depending on agriculture and yet their basic needs are not cared for – that essentially is the crux of the problem. The hands that feed the nation are seeking help with those very hands and if we continue to turn a blind eye to their everyday problems, we may not have the farmers to feed us any more.
The data below, thanks to Harsha Thanneru, Rythu Swarajya Vedika, shows the length and breadth of the issues that were reported to the helpline.
Major categories of issues received:
Pension, Ration Card, Assigned Land, Drip, Title Deed, Land Survey, NREGS Payment, Patta, Crop Damaged by Wildbores/Monkeys
Cases by Banking Department
Crop Loans, Loan Waivers, Information, LEC Card and Loans, SC Corporation, Input Subsidy, Loan Waiver Adjusted,
Revenue department category wise
Land succession, Assigned Land, Ration Card, Title Deed, Land Survey, LEC Cards, Land less farmers
Major categories of Issues Received
Information & Process Related Queries were the maximum number of issues received, followed by Online Pahani and Crop loans. There were 46 calls received regarding the heavy floods in 2016.