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Govt moots new law to safeguard interests of sharecroppers in State




 The State government is likely to bring a new law in the next Assembly session to safeguard the interests of sharecroppers, who are now deprived of several benefits meant for farmers.

This was announced by state's Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout, who told reporters that the inter-ministerial formed by the State government for this purpose would hold a meeting on may 29 in this connection. The objective of the proposed legislation is to recognise and provide various benefits to farmers who actually work in the field, he said.

Sharecroppers are not entitled to get compensation in the event of crop loss, input subsidy, insurance cover, relief and other benefits under the existing law. Claiming that the farm sector has become robust and farmers had prospered during the last 17 years of BJD rule, Rout said the per capital income of farmers climbed to Rs 4,976 from Rs 1,062 during since year 2000. On suicide by farmers, the minister said though 50 peasants took the extreme step in 2015, the exact reason behind their move was unclear. They commit suicide generally due to mental stress, he said. As the State surged ahead in the agriculture sector, foodgrain production sky-rocketed from 55 lakh metric tonnes in 2000-01 to 118 lakh metric tonnes in 2016.17, Rout said adding that paddy production for the first time crossed 100 lakh metric tonnes.

Average foodgrain production in Odisha was 2,438 kg per hectare which was higher than the national average of 2404 kg per hectare, the Minister said. Noting that the State has been preparing a separate budget for agriculture, Rout said the allocation for the important farm sector has increased from Rs 8061 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 14,9300 crore in 2017-18. However, opposition Congress and BJP slammed the BJD government accusing it of misleading the people, particularly the farmers, by making false claims about its performance in agriculture sector.

State Congress spokesperson Sulochana Das hit out at the State government for not admitting incidents of suicide by farmers due to debt burden and crop loss and said the BJD regime should accept the fact and provide compensation to the affected. Senior BJP leader Pradip Purohit said states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are admitting suicide by farmers due to crop loss and providing compensation, but the State government is betraying the farmers.






Editorial

Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.

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