Swaminathan Committee Report: Analysis of Kisan Suicides & MSP.

Swaminathan Committee Report: Analysis of Kisan Suicides & MSP. 1

Important Details related to the Committee:

Swaminathan Committee is also known as the National Commission on Farmers (NCF). The committee was headed by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan and is therefore popularly known as the Swaminathan Committee.

This committee was set up to focus on causes of farmer distress, the rise in farmer suicides, and addressing these issues through national policy for farmers. The Swaminathan committee submitted five reports through the period December 2004 to October 2006.

 Recommendations of Swaminathan Committee Report :

  1. What are the causes behind farmers’ distress?

  • Unfinished agenda in land reforms.

  • Quantity and Quality of water.

  • Poor farming technology.

  • No proper loan, or insurance facility for farmers.

The NCF/ Swaminathan Committee recommended that “Agriculture” be inserted in the Concurrent List of the Constitution so that both States as well as the central government can tackle the problem related to the farmer’s distress.

2. Recommendation related to Land Reforms:

  • Prevent distribution of agricultural land and forest to the corporate sector for non-agricultural purposes.
  • Set up a mechanism to regulate the sale of agricultural land which will be based on the quantum of land, nature of use, and category of buyer.
  • Establish a National Land Use Advisory Service which will advise on land use related to ecological meteorological and marketing factors on location.
  • Ensure grazing rights and seasonal access to forests to tribals etc. Grazing rights are the right of a user to allow their livestock to feed (graze) in a given area.

3. Recommendation related to Irrigation:

  • Reforms to enable farmers to have equitable access to water.
  • Increasing water supply through rainwater harvesting and recharging underground water (also known as aquifer) should become mandatory.
  • There shall be an increase in investment in the irrigation sector under the Five Year Plan. There shall be schemes for groundwater recharge.

4. Recommendations related to the Productivity of Agriculture:

  • Substantial increase in public investment in agriculture-related infrastructure. For example- In irrigation, drainage, land development, water conservation, etc.

  • Establishment of advanced soil testing laboratories which will help in detecting micro-nutrient deficiencies.

  • Promotion of conservation farming.

5. Recommendations related to Credit and insurance:

  • Expand and reach the formal credit system to the poor and needy.

  • Crop loan to be reduced to 4%.

  • Issue of Kisan Credit Cards to women farmers.

  • Develop an integrated credit-cum-livestock-human health insurance package.

  • Expand crop insurance coverage to cover the entire country and all crops with reduced premiums.

  • Establish an Agriculture Risk Fund to provide relief to farmers in natural calamities.

6. Recommendations related to the Prevention of Farmers’ Suicides:

  • National Rural Health Mission should be extended to suicide hotspot locations.
  • Set up a state-level Farmers’ Commission to ensure smooth dialogue between government and farmers’ problems.
  • Cover all crops under Crop insurance.
  • Provide social security such as old age support and health insurance.
  • Public awareness campaigns to make people identify early signs of suicidal behaviors.
  • Set up Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs) in farmers’ distress hotspots.
  • Protection of farmers from international price.
  • Set up of Price Stabilisation Fund in place to protect the farmers from price fluctuations.

7. Recommendation related to Competitiveness of Farmers:

  • Improvement in implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

  • MSP should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production.

  • Availability of data about spot and future prices of commodities through the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCD). This network shall cover 93 commodities through 6000 terminals and 430 towns and cities.

  • There should be a shift towards a Single Indian Market.

8. Recommendations related to Employment and Bio-resources:

  •  The committee also recommended emphasizing faster growth of the agriculture sector, preserving traditional rights of access to biodiversity, encouraging community-based breed conservation, and conserving, enhancing, and improving crops and farm animals as well as fish stocks through breeding.

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