The Tamil Nadu Government has been told by the Supreme Court that no coercive action must be taken against the farmers who default on loans and asked it to install the process through which the farmers can report the misbehaviour by officials of bank while trying to make them pay up.
By a non-government organisation the court was hearing a petition for relief to debt-ridden farmers, many of them have committed suicide due to the inability for them to pay back the loans to the bank. The court is been told by the petition that while a big bank loan defaulter like liquor baron Vijaya Mallya was allowed to leave the country, small farmers are humiliated by officials from lending banks who often seize their tractors and other assets if they are unable to repay their loans.
There must be a strike at the heart of the matter and should take the “preventive steps rather than compensatory steps” to help the farmers in the state said by the court to the Tamil Nadu Government.
Judge said on once such step that, it should be that government pick up the farmer’s produce directly from villages to eliminate middle, who exploit them.
About the schemes the court also asked that the state runs for the farmers benefit. The court is been told by the Tamil Nadu that there are many schemes and that the cost of crops insurance is by the state and centre.
Supreme Court had stalled an order earlier this week by the Madras High Court that directed the state government in April to waive loans of all the farmers who incurred losses last year during a drought in the state.
The loan waiver scheme to all farmer of Tamil Nadu has been extended by the High Court, even though only to the small and marginal farmers were intended to help with up to five acres of land. It had also ordered cooperative societies and banks to waive the loans and not recover any dues. The state government had moved the Supreme Court in May against the order, saying it could ill-afford such a waiver for all farmers
The Tamil Nadu government’s argument accepted by the Judges, the scheme must provide relief to the small and marginal farmers only. After four weeks the court will continue the hearing of the case.
Tamil Nadu farmers, demanding help on their loans, had earlier this year protested for over a month at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, shaving their heads and moustaches and holding mice and snakes in their mouths. They conducted mock funerals, flogged themselves and even carried skulls of other farmers who had committed suicide due to debt.
With 60 per cent deficit in rainfall, Tamil Nadu has witnessed its worst drought in 140 years. 17 farmers were reported to have committed suicide between November 2016 and January this year in the state.
The farmers have demanded a Rs. 40,000-crore drought relief package and farm loan waivers. They had called off their protest after an assurance from Chief Minister E Palaniswami that their demands will be met, but have threatened to renew their protests and now want the Centre to announce a relief package for them.