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  1. Over the last few months, the state government has taken a series of steps to end the oligarchy of the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and promote direct marketing by the farmers. However, RTI documents procured by The India Express show serious discrepancies in the way the director marketing’s office had handled the issuance and supervision of licences for alternate channels of agriculture marketing. See more at: APMCs or not, farmers still get a raw deal | The Indian Express
  2. An RTI reply has revealed Karnataka has spent close to Rs 50 crores for Assembly sessions in Belagavi in the past five years. But the farmers in the state continue to lose their sleep as the recent spurt in suicides has indicated. The monsoon session had a stormy start with the opposition charging Siddaramaiah government of sheer apathy and neglect of farmers. Money for neta's needs, not farmers?-India-TIMESNOW.tv - Latest Breaking News, Big News Stories, News Videos
  3. [h=1]Mumbai: Corrupt officials did not spare even rape survivors, farmers[/h] The fact that those in power take bribes will not come as a surprise to anyone; however, what is shocking in the 83 cases mentioned in an Anti-Corruption Bureau list is the background of the victims. Here are some of the sinners. How low would a person have to sink to seek a 'cut' from the money being handed over to a rape survivor? Vinod Bhosale, an official from the Women and Child Welfare department, no less, could have the answer to that question. He was caught red-handed trying to extract Rs 20,000 from a rape survivor to hand over her Rs 50,000 cheque under a government scheme to aid victims of such crimes. What’s even worse is that Bhosale is just one of 83 government officials, figuring on a list compiled by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), who were caught red handed and arrested for taking bribes in 2014 from the poorest of the poor to give them the benefits they are entitled to under various government schemes. The list of shame includes doctors trying to fleece elderly women before giving them spectacles, health officers demanding money to release cheques for constructing toilets and even a school principal, who asked a cook making mid-day meals for children to fork out Rs 1,500 before releasing her salary cheque. Even poor farmers, many of whom have been driven to suicide because of their financial situation, were not spared. ACB officials say the details of these cases are meant to give a clearer picture of how the benefits from various government schemes meant for people living below the poverty line either fail to reach them in full or are made available to them after a long delay. The only silver lining in this sordid tale is that in 2014, the ACB saw a considerable increase in the number of people approaching it to complain. Amazed “It is the height of shamelessness. Whether it’s a rape survivor, a senior citizen or people looking for basic needs like toilets in their villages, the corrupt babus have not spared a single person coming to them for availing these benefits. We have also arrested a principal from a Latur-based school who asked for Rs 1,500 from a cook of a municipal school to release her cheque for providing mid-day meals for the students,” an ACB official said. According to ACB officials, there are around 38 different government schemes to give subsidies and other benefits to people living below the poverty line. Of these, the main schemes are Employment Generation Scheme, Indira Avas Yojana, Ekatmik Vikas Yojana, Rajeev Gandhi Health Scheme and others related to goat farming, water supply and tap connection. There are also schemes for rape victims, dalits, slum dwellers etc. To avail the benefits under the schemes, the villagers often have to go through the gram sevaks or their village head to get the amount. Many of the villagers are illiterate and usually give away a portion of what they are supposed to get as a cut or a bribe to speed up the payment process because they know that those who refuse to pay up are made to run from pillar to post. “The schemes are meant for very poor people that need the government’s help to improve their quality of life and these officers demand money even from them to get the benefits of the schemes. Some of the complainants have approached us from faraway places like Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Washim, Yavatmal and Amravati, and we have arrested the accused,” said Pravin Dixit, Director General of Police, ACB, Maharashtra. Sparing no one ACB officials said they were shocked when they found doctors, health officers and even a school principal indulging in such activities. “One government officer demanded money to release cheques for building toilets in a village in Nashik. The gramsevak was arrested while taking Rs 600 from the complainant to release his cheques. A doctor was also arrested for demanding R400 from poor elderly women for giving them spectacles under the government’s health scheme,” said Dixit. Unemployed villagers work under the Employment Generation Scheme of the government, but when it comes to releasing their wages, the Panchayat Samiti officers demand a cut from them. “Some such villagers approached us and we trapped around 14 officers,” said an ACB official. Officers also arrested around 12 government employees who demanded money from poor people who had got fund for housing from the government. “The officers from the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samitis and Gramsevaks demanded money to release cheques under the Indira Vikas Yojana,” the official added. “They (corrupt babus) don’t understand that such schemes are meant for very poor people who don’t have food or employment and make do with the money they get for whatever days they can get employment through government schemes. The corrupt officials demand cuts even from them. We had published our numbers in such areas and that’s how the complainants approached us,” said the official.
  4. As reported by Vijay Sabharwal of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 12 June 2008: Bank insures farmers without their consent-Chandigarh-Cities-The Times of India Bank insures farmers without their consent KURUKSHETRA: A glaring case of misuse of power by the officers of Kurukshetra Central Cooperative Bank has come to light as under an alleged pact with some companies they got as many as 53,352 farmers jointly insured and debited the premium amounts from their accounts without their knowledge. The officers continued to buy and pay for these policies for four years and took out premium amounts worth about Rs 31.19 lakh from the farmers' accounts by recovering the money as loans. In the year 2003, 1,754 farmers of Markanda cooperative society, Shahbad Markanda, and 738 farmers of Kaithal cooperative society were insured and premium amounts worth Rs 1.39 lakh were debited from their accounts. The farmers thought it was some government-sponsored scheme and did not object to it, which provided encouragement to the officers who introduced their self-styled 'welfare' scheme into various other cooperative societies during the next year. These surprising facts came to light recently when a farmer-cum-social worker Gulab Singh sought information regarding this issue under Right to Information Act from Kurukshetra Central Cooperative Bank managing director. According to the reply, officers of cooperative societies got 25,715 members of 24 farmers' cooperatives insured in the year 2004, for which premium amounts worth Rs 15.05 lakh were debited from farmers' accounts by adding those to the loan taken by them. Similarly, in the year 2005, as many as 17,594 farmers, who were members of 16 cooperative societies, were insured by paying premiums worth Rs 10.24 lakh. In 2006, 7,551 members of Ajrawar, Thaski, Miranji, Rohti, Jakhwala, Ismailabad, Amin and Jyotisar cooperative societies were insured and premiums worth Rs 4.50 lakh were debited from their respective accounts.
  5. As reported in asianage.com on 24 February 2008: The Asian Age - Enjoy the difference Suicide by 800 farmers early ’07 New Delhi, Feb. 24: More than 800 farmers committed suicide in the first six months of last year, as per information obtained under the RTI Act. The agrarian crisis forced 607 farmers to commit suicide in Maharashtra, 114 in Andhra Pradesh, 73 in Karnataka and 13 cases of suicide were reported from Kerala in the first half of last year alone, the information revealed. Some states ruled by the Opposition NDA such as Punjab and Gujarat had failed to furnish details about the number of suicides by farmers to the Union agriculture ministry. States like Orissa, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Goa and Haryana and five Union territories did not report any case of farmer suicide during the period, according to government records. The Union government, as part of its rehabilitation package for the affected farmers, has disbursed Rs 9,650 crores in 16 districts of Andhra Pradesh, Rs 2,389.64 crores in six districts of Karnataka, Rs 765.24 crores in three districts of Kerala and Rs 3,879.26 crores in six districts of Maharashtra in this connection.
  6. Ahmedabad, August 10: MANY farmers may not be knowing that the State government has insured them for accidental death, but what surprises one is the high number of rejections of claims forwarded by the government to the insurer. From 2003 to 2006, as many as 3,968 of 6,055 claims have been rejected on various grounds. Responding to a RTI application filed by city-based activist Bharatsinh Jhala, the State Agriculture Department gave this figures. “In 2003, 1,893 of 2,883 claims were rejected; in 2004, 836 of 1289 claims; in 2005, 1,176 of 1,209 claims; and in 2006, 63 of 674 claims were rejected and 327 are still pending,’’ said Jhala. According to Jhala, the trend shows that only about 20 per cent of the claims are being honoured. “The State government has been paying the premium for the farmers’ insurance, but one wonders why only a few of the claimants get the insured money,’’ he said. Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture and Co-operation) Dr. Avinash Kumar, when contacted, made it clear that while the government does pay the premium for the group insurance policy for the farmers, it does not have any say in the matters of settlement of the claims. He said that the National Insurance Company deals with the claims.“This is a group insurance operated at the taluka levels, where the premium payable is quite low. However, the insurance company needs to be sure of the authenticity of the claims before settling them and for that they need some documentary evidences, which the claimants have to submit,’’ said Kumar. He pointed out that most of these cases have been rejected owing to the non-availability of relevant documents to prove the claimant’s identity or some procedural lapses. According to the policy, a farmer is covered for Rs 1 lakh against death due to accident.“Many a times, the land is registered in one’s father’s or grandfather’s name and the successor just doesn’t bother to get this transferred to his name after the death of the original owner,” said Kumar, adding that such lapses add on to the reasons of rejections of claims. “The issue being highly emotive, the company has been asked by the government to take a re-look at the cases before closing the files,” Kumar said. Farmers insured against accidental death, but poor claim settlement still hitch
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