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Small farmers more prone to suicide, says report

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In a latest data by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), it was found that most of the farmers who commit suicide were small farmers while only 2% of them were large farmers having more than 10 hectares of land.

The NCRB report found that for the year 2015, over 72% of farmers who commit suicide have less than two hectares of land.

A hectare of land is roughly equivalent to 2.5 acres.

Middle farmers, who have between 2 hectares and 10 hectares of land, contributed a fourth of the 8,007 farmer suicides in the country in year 2015.

It’s not as though the smaller the farmer the more likely he is to commit suicide due to farm distress. According to the NCRB data, small farmers were 45.2% of all farmer victims, while marginal farmers made up 27.4%.

According to the latest (2010-11) landholding records by the Ministry of Agriculture, 67.1% of all landholdings are marginal — smaller than 1 hectare — while 17.9% are small (1-2 hectares). Medium (2-10 hectares) and large (over 10 hectares) holdings are 14.3% and 0.7% of the total respectively.

However, the share of land under cultivation by marginal and small farmers is much smaller. The census found that the operational holding (i.e., the area under cultivation) with marginal farmers is 22.5%, with small farmers it is 22.1%, with medium farmers it is 44.8%, and with large farmers it is 10.6%.

Srijit Mishra, the director of Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies, Bhubaneswar, and who has devoted years to the study of the Indian agrarian crisis, stated that “The data needs to be studied further for a proper comment. But, in a general sense, farmers who have alternate sources of livelihood (including as agricultural labourers) may cope with the crisis better when compared to those who may depend almost entirely on farming; relatively speaking, this may be one of the factors separating the marginal from the small farmers.

“Also, farmers who are enterprising and have seen success can find it difficult to handle (the situation) when things fail. Statistics may also not be completely reflecting the complexity of the problem. The data on large farmers says they make up 2% of farmer suicides. That is almost twice their share in farmer population!”

Among the total 2,195 suicides committed by “Marginal Farmers”, 834 cases were of Maharashtra and 354 were of Chhattisgarh, accounting for 38% and 16% of the total.

Among suicides committed by “Small Farmers” — the largest group among victims of farmer suicides — Maharashtra (1,285 out of 3,618) again topped with a 35.5% share, followed by Karnataka (751 out of 3,618) which accounted for 20% of such suicides.

A total of 160 “Large Farmers” committed suicides in 2015. Telangana, with 79 such suicides, accounted for almost half the numbers. Chhattisgarh was a distant second with 37 suicides by large farmers.

Among the states with the worst figures of farmer suicides, Chhattisgarh witnessed only one where more marginal farmers (354) committed suicide than small farmers (310). In most other states, suicide cases for small farmers were more than double that of marginal farmers.

Suicides among medium farmers were almost comparable to those among marginal farmers, with Chhattisgarh again being an exception. Against 354 marginal farmer suicides in the state, there were only 154 medium farmer suicides.

 Wefornews Bureau

India

Was any research done before ordinance on Pocso act amendment, asks HC

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Delhi High Court

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday questioned why the ordinance on amending the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, to provide for death penalty to those convicted of raping a child up to 12 years old, was cleared without conducting any research on the issue.

The observation by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar came while dealing with a plea seeking to strike down the amendments made in the rape law post the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape incident here as they are “being abused”.

Asking if any study or research was conducted while clearing the ordinance on Pocso, the court observed that it seemed to come after people started demanding strict punishment against the rapists of minors.

It said that the ordinance is also silent on granting welfare to the rape victims and does not deal with issues related to educating and sensitising youth and juveniles on sexual offences against women, especially minors.

On Sunday President Ram Nath Kovind approved an ordinance to provide death penalty for those convicted of raping girls younger than 12 years besides clearing another ordinance to confiscate property of fugitive economic offenders.

The President promulgated The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, approved by the Cabinet on Saturday, that seeks to provide effective deterrence against rape and instil a sense of security among women, particularly young girls.

The ordinance amends the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The ordinance comes against the backdrop of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, the rape of a teenager in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh and similar crimes in other parts of the country.

The court, hearing a plea filed by academician Madhu Purnima Kishwar, listed the matter for September.

Kishwar’s plea has sought striking down of some of the provisions of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, which provides for amendments to the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and Code of Criminal Procedure on laws related to sexual offences.

The plea had also sought a direction to reconsider the case in which a sentence of imprisonment has been passed post the amendments.

After the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman on December 16, 2012, a committee under the chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge was constituted to suggest amendments to the criminal law to sternly deal with sexual assault cases.

IANS

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AFSPA removed from Meghalaya, restricted in Arunachal

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AFSPA

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Union Home Ministry has removed Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya and reduced it to eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, an official said on Monday.

“AFSPA was totally withdrawn from all areas of Meghalaya from April 1. In Arunachal, it is down from 16 police stations to eight,” the official said.

The Act has however been extended by another six months in three eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh — Tirap, Longding and Changlang — which border Myanmar and specific areas under eight police stations of seven other districts bordering Assam. The three districts have been under the AFSPA since January 2016.

The Act was withdrawn from Tripura in 2015 and in past one year, fewer areas in northeast are under the Act, the official said, adding that the Act was only in place in Meghalaya for a 20-km area along the Assam border) and not in operation in Mizoram.

AFSPA gives powers to the Army and central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.

It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal). The state governments of Assam and Manipur now have the powers to keep or revoke the Act.

IANS

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After flak, Health Ministry removes ‘fat shaming’ tweet

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New Delhi, April 23: After witnessing outrage, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Monday removed a tweet that asked people “What’s your choice?” based on a photo that depicted two women — one overweight, depicting non-veg and processed food items and the other lean with fruits and vegetables.

Twitterati immediately slammed the tweet, as some called it “stupidity at its highest” while others “fat shaming”.

While the fat woman depicted food items such as sausage, poultry, meat, burger, donuts, french fries, cola and alcohol, the lean woman showed fruits and green vegetables, along with the tweet from the ministry: “Good nutrition is one of the keys to a #healthy life. Choose wisely, live well”.

“Both veg and non veg can be healthy or unhealthy depending upon their origin, methods of production, distribution, storage etc and in this country, the less said the better about those standards. That’s what you should be focusing on @MoHFW_INDIA,” reacted one user to the ministry’s tweet.

Another user said: “This is fat shaming. Now that you’ve posted it, hope your women Ministers take the lead and set an example!”

Screenshot by India Today

“Stupidity at highest!!! Is Egg ?? and Cheese ?? unhealthy? which scientific study proved it? Moreover where do Poor Indians get Kiwi/Avocado Fruits and Berries? Or is it ment to be for RICH People? ?? As far as all scientific study all packaged foods are bad or unhealthy!!!,” tweeted another user.

One user went further and found the source of the image.

“So, Ministry of Health @MoHFW_INDIA picks up a stock photo which portray eggs, poultry, meat and bread as unhealthy and tweets that as health advice,” the user tweeted.

The photo, copyrighted to Tatsiana Tsyhanova from Belarus, was taken from https://www.123rf.com which offers millions of stock photos but with copyright.

“And they’ve quietly deleted their tweet now,” the user added.

A recent study from the University of Eastern Finland, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that a relatively high intake of dietary cholesterol, or eating one egg every day, are not associated with an elevated risk of coronary heart disease.

A University of Connecticut study suggests that eating eggs may actually have favourable effects on good cholesterol metabolism in men and women with diabetes and heart disease.

With Inputs from IANS 

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