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No deaths: Agriculture ministry is ostrich-like over farmer suicides

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New Delhi: If the union agriculture ministry is to be believed, not a single farmer’s suicide was registered in Bihar and Rajasthan in the past 15 years due to agrarian reasons. This is sharp contrast to the data isues by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Altogether, 7,927 suicides were recorded by people involved in agriculture/farming between 2000 and 2014 in Rajasthan and 975 in Bihar, according to the NCRB.

The department of agriculture’s ‘no deaths’ in the two states during the years 2000 to 2014 came in response to an RTI enquiry by IANS. No explanation was given given by the department as to why they have no record of such deaths.

Not only that, according to the department, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh registered only four and one deaths, respectively, due to agrarian reasons during the same period.

The NCRB data on suicides, though, shows that in Madhya Pradesh 21,138 suicides by famers occured while Uttar Pradesh saw 8,531 deaths in the fifteen years in question.

Among the other states that reported zero or single-digit number of farmer suicide, according to RTI reply sent by the department, were Odisha, Haryana, West Bengal, Delhi, Tripura, Assam, Jharkhand, and Himachal Pradesh.

It also said that states like Gujarat and Chhattisgarh recorded, in 15 years, just five and one deaths, respectively.

The NCRB puts the number of farmer suicides case in 15 years in Chhattisgarh at 15,099, West Bengal 13,098, Gujarat, 8,309, Assam 3,908, Odisha 3,439, Jharkhand 1,197, Himachal Pradesh 669, Tripura 430 and Delhi 191.

The Union agriculture minister Radhe Mohan Singh drew sharp criticism from the media in July this year for attributing the causes of farmers’ suicide to issues like love affair and impotency in a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on the issue of farmers’ suicide.

The department of agriculture may argue that the NCRB data of suicides involving people in agriculture and farming may be due to various factors like bankruptcy or sudden change in economic status, marital trouble, not having children, illness, death of dear a person, dowry dispute or other issues — everything other than agrarian distress.

But experts say that each factor — as stated by NCRB — responsible for suicides is directly or indirectly related to agrarian reason. It has also said that states do not record farmers’ suicides in a serious manner.

“There are lots of discrepancies in the registering farmers’ suicide data by the states. A large number of farmers in our country don’t have their own land. Most of them work on somebody else’s land. The government doesn’t record suicides committed by these farmers,” K. Nagaraj, former professor at Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) in Tamil Nadu told IANS.

The reason state governments don’t register farmers’ suicides, he adds, was because they know they would have to compensate their families. “Moreover, they understate the figures because they want to show that the situation is not so bad,” Nagaraj said.

According to the data received from the department of agriculture and cooperation, the only states which registered any large number of farmers suicides in 15 years were Maharashtra with 7,678 deaths, Andhra Pradesh with 2,259 deaths, Karnataka with 1,484 and Kerala with 948. Tamil Nadu had recorded 13 deaths, it said.

The NCRB of course paints a totally different picture. Maharashtra saw 54,941 suicides, Andhra Pradesh 30,752, Karnataka 30,604 Kerala 16,088 and Tamil Nadu 12,373.

According to NCRB data, the total number of suicides by people involved in farming/agriculture from 2000 to 2014 is 238,658. However, the number of such suicides as stated by the department of agriculture during the same period is 18,271 — less than eight per cent. Something obviously is wrong in the system.

(Sidhartha Dutta, IANS)

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Exploring the Rajasthani Cuisine

The foodie in you is sure to stumble upon more exotic and unique culinary delights if you set out to explore the place in detail

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Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea).
Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea).

Home to royal palaces, mighty forts and unending deserts, Rajasthan is the land of legends and kings and queens. Rajasthani cuisine is famous all over India for its rich flavours and unique cooking styles. Being an arid state, the traditional cooking style has evolved in such a way that very less water is used in cooking. More oils and spices are used in order to preserve the food for longer times. Also, Rajasthani cuisine uses milk, ghee and butter in large quantities owing to the local production and availability of dairy products. Here are some top dishes which has made the Rajasthani cuisine famous worldwide. All you have to do is contact one of the car rentals in Jaipur for a day of restaurant hopping in the city.

Daal Baati Churma
This is the signature Rajasthani dish which is a combination of baked round bread called Baati, spicy lentil curry or Daal and a lightly sweet crumble known as Churma. It is so simple yet tasty and healthy. The baati is made out of wheat flour, ghee and milk and cooked in a baati cooker or tandoor whereas the daal is made of five different types of lentils. Churma is nothing but crushed baati mixed with sugar or jaggery and flavoured with cardamom.

Gatte ki Sabzi
Gatte is the gram flour balls which are used in the preparation of various dishes. Gatte ki sabzi is an everyday dish made by cooking gram flour balls in a gravy of buttermilk and spices. The sabzi can be relished with rice or roti.

gatte
Gatte ki Sabzi.

Ker Sangri
Ker Sangri is yet another traditional dish of Rajasthan which is a preparation of dried Ker berries with Sangri beans. These berries and beans grow easily in desert conditions, and hence it evolved as a staple food item. Ker Sangri pairs best with roti, daal and rice.

Laal Maas
Rajasthani cuisine is mainly vegetarian. However, the Rajput influence has led to the inclusion of some mouthwatering meat preparations in the cuisine. Traditionally, Laal Maas used to be prepared with deer meat or boar meat. In modern days, the dish is prepared using tender mutton. The spicy red curry is best relished with bajra ki roti. Liberal use of fiery red chillies imparts the unique red colour to the curry.

Mohan Maas
This is yet another mutton dish where well-cooked delicious mutton chunks are dunked in a
rich gravy of milk, cream, spices and nuts.

Rajasthani sweets and snacks.
A man with Rajasthani sweets and snacks.

Snacks
Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea). Kachoris and Samosas are commonly found in every local sweetmeat shop in the city. Kalmi Vada, Bikaneri Bhujia, and Mirchi Vada are some of the other snacks to be tried.

Sweets
Rajasthani cuisine is not complete without mentioning its wide variety of mouth-watering
sweets and desserts. Most of their sweets are rich preparations involving generous usage of
milk, cream, ghee, and sugar. Sweet lovers cannot miss trying out Mava Kachori, Rabri Jilebi, Malpua, Balushahi and Ghevar.

The foodie in you is sure to stumble upon more exotic and unique culinary delights if you set out to explore the place in detail. Jaipur Outstation taxi services are also available for intercity trips within Rajasthan, to make the most out of your Rajasthan food expedition journey.