278 farmers commit suicides in 2010 till Oct: Pawar

New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) As many as 278 farmers committedsuicides in the first 10 months of 2010 due to agrariancrisis, with Maharashtra and Karnataka reporting the maximumnumber of such incidents, Parliament was informed today.

In the whole of 2009, 897 farmers had committed suicidesacross the country.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in a written reply inthe Lok Sabha said Maharashtra witnessed 234 farmers suicidesin the first eight months of 2010. In the entire 2009, 503farmers in the state had ended their lives due to agrariancrisis.

In Karnataka, 22 cases of farmer suicides were reportedas on October 30 last year, while the number of such incidentswas 114 in 2009.

In Andhra Pradesh, 18 such incidents were reported tillOctober 2010. In the previous year 248 farmers had ended theirlives.

On steps taken to prevent such incidents, Pawar said thegovernment has released a rehabilitation package of Rs19,163.91 crore since 2006 covering 31 districts in fourstates -- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra,to address the problem of agrarian distress.

The period for implementation of the non-creditcomponents of the package was subsequently extended as well(by two more years) up to September 30, 2011.

He further said that the interest subvention for timelyrepayment of crop loan up to Rs 3 lakh was enhanced from 1per cent to 2 per cent for the year 2010-11, thereby reducingthe effective rate of interest for such farmers who repaytheir crop loan in time to 5 per cent per annum.

The government also implemented the Agricultural DebtWaiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008, benefiting about 3.69crore farmers involving an estimated amount of Rs 65,318.33crore, Pawar added.

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