40,000 agriculturists commit suicide between 1997-2007:Report

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 30 (UNI) Close to 40,000 agriculturists committed suicides between 1997 and 2007, while slogans, shouting, walkouts, boycotts and adjournments cost 26 per cent of Parliament's precious time in the 14th session during June, 2004.

The latest report by the National Social Watch Coalitition, a country-wide network of civil society organisations, citizens and communities examined the performance of Parliament, judiciary, the policy making arena and institutions of local self government and new policies like NREGA, NRHM and JNURM.

It said even after release of crores of rupees, the capacity building of the elected representatives of local self government could not be completed. The absence of skill was used as an alibi for devolution of power to panchayats and municipalities.

The MoUs signed with the Panchayatiraj Ministry were not respected by the states in the absence of any frame time. The state governments also continued to retain direct control over majority aspects of the panchayats and municipalities.

The investment in Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission was also lopsided. While the government had sanctioned Rs 4,430.23 crore for urban governance and infrastructure, only Rs 1,003.27 was sanctioned for basic services to urban poor, the report said.

The response to the NREGA was mixed with registration percentage of eligible households varied from 14.1 per cent in Madhubani, Bihar to 100 per cent in Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh, the report said.

According to the report, Rs 6,500 crore was still unspent in NREGA sector during 2005-06.

Even though the total number of cultivators across the country had declined, allocation to the agriculture sector continued to be dismal.

Quoting the 59th round survey report of National Sample Survey Organisation, the report said 40 per cent of farm households did not prefer farming as a profession as they considered it unprofitable, risky and low in social status.

The report further stressed the need for a judicial reform to reduce the number of pending cases. While 33,635 cases were pending in the Supreme Court, various high courts had 34,24,518 cases pending. More than 50 lakh civil cases were also pending in various parts of the country, of which 34,2135 had been pending for more than ten years, the report stated.

The waste of time was shocking as each minute of Parliament costs the exchequer Rs 26,035. The absenteeism among the MPs was about 33 to 62 per cent during the period.

UNI

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