By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, February 7, 2018: The Odisha government is all set to set up a farmer welfare fund to provide compensation to the kin of farmers committing suicide.

The move by the state government follows strident opposition criticism of farmers committing suicide due to crop loss. The state government, however, has been denying the allegation all through.

A meeting presided by the chief secretary A P Padhi discussed about imposing a cess on sale of agriculture land to create a corpus fund which along with budgetary provisions will provide assistance to farmers in distress. The initial collections from the fund could be used for ex-gratia in cases of unnatural deaths of farmers, the minutes revealed.

The recent suicide incidents of Brunda Sahu & Hadu Bagarti allegedly due to crop loss and financial burden seems to have had impact on the government exploring the possibilities of launching a fund exclusively for farmers in distress.

Experts pointed out that the state government has not yet acted upon the Swaminathan Commission’s findings and proposals. “Market conditions, insurance schemes are not conducive and there is also a lack of appropriate infrastructure. If we do not ensure these primary requirements first and talk about setting up a fund then it will not solve the problems,” the experts said.

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