The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has urged the state government to increase monetary compensation given to widows of farmers committing suicide. In a letter written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week, MSCW's chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar has recommended about a dozen measures to improve the plight of these farm widows.
Rahatkar, in her letter to Fadnavis, said monetary compensation, which is currently Rs one lakh, should be hiked to Rs 2 lakh for widows of farmers who had committed suicide. Rahatkar said the commission had, earlier this year in January and February, conducted camp-cum-seminars in Nagpur and Aurangabad to understand socio-economic problems faced by them.
A report compiled during these camp-cum-seminars has also been submitted to the Maharashtra government, she added. "What happens to the women of the household after the suicide of the farmer or the male head of the household? We wanted to know and hear this from them, and the answers were heart-wrenching," Rahatkar said Friday.
According to a report prepared by the MSCW, these farm widows face problems while getting property rights transferred on their names as their relatives themselves object to it. "The education and marriage of their children also get jeopardised as society tends to isolate them. Besides, they face a crisis in repayment of loans," the report stated.
The Maharashtra government had last month, stated that 235 farmers committed suicide for various reasons in September this year. In a written reply to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly last month, state Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Chandrakant Patil said six districts of Vidarbha region had witnessed 15,629 farmer suicides between January 2001 and October 2018.
"Of these, 7,008 farmers were eligible for financial compensation and their families were given financial assistance of Rs one lakh each. As many as 215 cases are pending investigation," the minister had said.
(With inputs from agencies.)