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Between 2015 & 2016, suicide by farmers fell but suicide by agricultural labourers grewBetween 2015 & 2016, suicide by farmers fell but suicide by agricultural labourers grew

The total number of farm suicides in the country has reduced from 12,602 to 11,370 between 2015 and 2016 viz. a fall by 9.8 percent. This has been revealed recently in a reply by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Parshottam Rupala in the Lok Sabha. So, one may wonder why there is such a hue and cry about rural distress and agrarian crisis in the recent times. Clearly, the minister's reply on 20th March to an unstarred question (no. 4111) shows that although the number of suicides by farmers fell from 8,007 to 6,351 between 2015 and 2016, the number of suicides committed by agricultural labourers increased by 9.2 percent from 4,595 to 5,019 during that span. Please check table-1 for further details. Table 1: Number of suicides by farmers and agricultural labourers (2013 to 2016)     Source: Reply to Unstarred Question No. 4111 dated 20th March,...

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Formal employment rises but less no. of regular jobs created in 2nd quarter of '17-18Formal employment rises but less no. of regular jobs created in 2nd quarter of '17-18

The increase in organized sector employment (i.e. in establishments employing 10 or more workers) in the second quarter was much higher as compared to that in the first quarter of 2017-18. The seventh round of the Quarterly Report on Employment Scenario in selected sectors (as on 1st October, 2017), which was released in March this year, confirms this. The Labour Bureau’s latest report says that during the period 1st April to 1st July, 2017-18, organized sector employment grew by 64 thousand in the 8 major sectors of the economy. As opposed to that, during the period 1st July to 1st October, 2017-18, new jobs created in the organized sector was 1.36 lakhs, which is more than twice the organized employment generated in the first quarter. It may be noted that in the last quarter of 2016-17, the net number of workers who got jobs was 1.85 lakhs, which is roughly 49...

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Public hearing reveals poor implementation of NFSA and other entitlement-based schemesPublic hearing reveals poor implementation of NFSA and other entitlement-based schemes

A national-level public hearing, which was organized at the Gandhi Peace Foundation (Delhi) on 15th March, 2018, has revealed that the intended beneficiaries of various entitlement-based welfare schemes and programmes of the Central government are witnessing difficulties and impediments in accessing the benefits and services. During the public hearing, which was organized by the Right to Food Campaign along with partnering grassroots-level organizations, poor and marginalized citizens from across 14 states gave their testimonies in front of eminent citizens like Members of Parliament (MPs), lawyers, journalists, scholars and social activists. The statements made by those citizens indicate that many were denied ration cards, old age pension, disability pension or even aadhaar, although they had met their respective state’s criteria for inclusion in the entitlement-based schemes and programmes. A panel of eminent persons witnessing the public hearing organized by the Right to Food Campaign Image Courtesy: Inclusive Media for Change It was observed during...

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Agricultural sector growth slows down to 3%, show new estimatesAgricultural sector growth slows down to 3%, show new estimates

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has recently made an upward revision to the growth to be experienced by the agrarian economy in the present crop year (viz. from July, 2017 to June, 2018). The growth in real Gross Value Added (GVA) by the agrarian sector as a whole is expected to be 3.0 percent in 2017-18 as per the second advance estimates of national income for 2017-18, which was released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) on 28th February, 2018. The first advance estimates of national income for 2017-18 (released on 5th January, 2018), however, had predicted that the real GVA by the agrarian sector is likely to increase by 2.1 percent. It must be noted that GVA is the difference between GDP and net indirect taxes.   As compared to other sectors of the economy, the growth to be experienced by ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’ sector is likely...

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PDS beneficiaries oppose cash transfers in Nagri block of JharkhandPDS beneficiaries oppose cash transfers in Nagri block of Jharkhand

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) or cash transfer might appear attractive on papers, but in reality it is opposed by its beneficiaries when implemented. Something similar to this has happened in the Nagri block of Ranchi district, where cash is being transferred to the aadhaar seeded bank accounts of beneficiaries in lieu of providing subsidized foodgrains. Cash transfers in the public distribution system (PDS) has been in operation in the Nagri block (Jharkhand) on a pilot basis since October, 2017. However, a recent survey of 244 households spread across 13 randomly selected villages of this block (between 28th January and 3rd February, 2018) reveals that the respondents (viz. beneficiaries of the DBT scheme) are facing several difficulties in accessing the money, which has been transferred into their bank accounts. For example, 95 percent of respondents (beneficiaries) were not informed by the concerned officials, which bank account of theirs would be used...

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