Answer :

(a) There has been a recorded increase of 40-46% in the number of farmer suicides across India. ‘Farmers’ suicides have increased at an alarming rate because:

1. The government continues to pursue policies that are bizarrely anti-farmer.

2. Under GST, tractors and other agricultural implements are taxed at 12%,

3. Tyres and tubes were taxed at 28%.

4. The tax on fertilizers has risen from 1. 03% to 5%.

5. Pesticides, which even a layman would attest are essential for farming, are taxed at 18%.

6. By gross maladministration, the government imported a record 6. 6 MMT of pulses (at Zero import duty no less). This excessive supply led to a crash in prices affecting farmers and the domestic market.

7. The government withdrew import duty on wheat from 25% to zero just as farmers were preparing to harvest their crop. This led to a massive increase in wheat imports (5. 9 MT) from abroad crashing domestic prices.

(b) Techniques used by the farmers to capture the government’s attention

1. Several thousand farmers marched to Delhi, across unions and political ideologies.

2. Farmers from Tamil Nadu have brought along skeletal remains of their kin who committed suicide.

3. Peaceful farmers were forced to resort to loud protests in Mandsaur

4. Young children from Maharashtra who have lost their parents to suicides arrived in Delhi and waited patiently to be heard by the government.

5. Not a single representative of the government bothered to acknowledge their presence, let alone grant them an audience.

Effects of farmers’ protest

1. During loud protests in Mandsaur and farmers were shot dead by an apathetic and cruel state government.

2. It did not become a wake-up call for the government.

3. The government is intoxicated by its own hubris and with its priorities are elsewhere.

4. the valiant efforts of farmers were in vain.

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