ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Struggle Far from Over

Kisan Long March in Maharashtra

The kisan long march, which took place in March 2018, is the most noteworthy agitation by farmers in Maharashtra in recent times. However, beyond the demands of complete loan waivers and fair prices for farm produce, the march is the manifestation of deep-seated and burgeoning structural problems within the agricultural sector that successive governments have failed to address.

Maharashtra continues to top the list of states with the highest number of farmers’ suicides in the country, as was revealed in Parliament by the minister for agriculture in reply to a question (Sandhu 2018). Despite the farm loan waiver announced by the state government, in the first six months of 2018, a large number of farmers’ suicides have been reported (Kakodkar 2018). Thus, Maharashtra, once famous for path-breaking innovations in agriculture as well as its trendsetting policies for agricultural and rural development, has now won repute as the worst state for farmers and land tillers, with the highest number of farmer suicides in the country so far. The never-ending phenomenon of farmer suicides is the penultimate manifestation of deep-rooted agrarian distress in the state, caused by anti-farmer and anti-agriculture policies that have been pursued by successive central and state governments over the last two and a half decades. This is not to say that suicide is the only response available to farmers in distress. In fact, farmers’ groups and political organisations have continuously agitated, taking up various farm-related demands from time to time. The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana became a formidable political force in the state’s polity, thanks to the massive organised struggles it waged for fair prices for farm produce, particularly sugar cane. These often successful struggles were replicated in other agriculture-allied occupations such as milk production. The state has thus witnessed numerous militant farmers’ movements over the last two decades.

Significant Struggle

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Updated On : 13th Aug, 2018
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