Wednesday June 19, 2019
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Farmers welfare: What Indian agricultural sector needs to learn from Denmark?

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By Prachi Mishra

Every day, from breakfast to dinner, our lives are touched by the farmers as the food we eat is cultivated by them. But never even once, a thought crosses our minds about the sacrifices peasants make so we can enjoy our daily bread.

This year itself, thousands of farmers have ended their lives because they were unable to provide basic sustenance to their families.

The poor farmers are vulnerable to a larger variety of risks, which not only affect individuals, but their households or the entire community. Other than the risk of injuries, accidents, underemployment, these farmers also have to deal with the risk of natural calamities like heavy rainfall, droughts, cyclones, etc.

The condition of the farmers in India is deplorable, and over the last 67 years since Independence, the political parties have used them only for political gains. Indian politicians, instead of coming up with solutions to the woes of the farmers, keep lamenting about the situation.

What is needed by the government is to adopt the policies, which have been tried and tested in the nations where farmers live a dignified life. One such example from which India could take cues is of Denmark.

Denmark is renowned for its profitable agriculture sector. In India, the farmers, who cultivate food for the country, cannot provide their own families with two square meals, while in Denmark, the farmers produce food sufficient to feed three times of its actual population. The farmers in Denmark are given proper education of around 4.5 years to enhance their skills and competency. The marketing and food companies are owned by the farmers themselves, unlike India where the agro-based companies are owned by industrialists who eat away the farmer’s share of profit.

Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has laid down certain rules regarding the storage of manure, livestock farming, handling and storage of manure. Some of the rules are:

·          Cover on manure storage

·          Education for farmers using chemicals

·          Updated list on safe pesticides

·          Safe storage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides

India should take up Denmark as a model to improve the livelihood of its farmers. Instead of handing over the control to multinational corporations, the government can form farmer cooperatives, which could look into the production as well as the marketing of agricultural goods. Farmers should also be aided with proper education and infrastructure.

It’s not that India does not have plans to provide the farmers with subsidies and welfare schemes. Every now and then, we see political leaders supporting pro-farmer movements and coming up with new proposals to aid them. Several NGOs represents the vulnerability of farmers and urges the government to support them. Then, why are the Indian farmers still sustaining in a deplorable condition?

We have enough social protection plans in our country to redress the grievances of the farmers. It’s just that these plans are not implemented properly. Therefore, instead of coming up with new schemes, the government should make sure that the existing welfare program are exhausted to their full extent to benefit the farmers.

  • In india schemes r just on papers and r only to fill their own pocket.In india Talent and merit r given second importance.Double faced few indians like to be called Progressive but the truth is they love their backwardness.Denmark is also know for its Cattle breading milk production….
    Long way to go but this is a beautiful and encouraging articles.

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  • In india schemes r just on papers and r only to fill their own pocket.In india Talent and merit r given second importance.Double faced few indians like to be called Progressive but the truth is they love their backwardness.Denmark is also know for its Cattle breading milk production….
    Long way to go but this is a beautiful and encouraging articles.

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India: Sugar Mills, Distilleries under The Scanner of Special Task Force of UP Police for Links with Hooch Syndicates

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol

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India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

As more than a hundred people died in ‘poisonous hooch’ tragedies in Uttar Pradesh during the past one year, a few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Working round the clock to bust ‘killer syndicates’ supplying cheap industrial alcohol to bootleggers and gangs involved in manufacturing of illicit liquor, STF has seized more than 10,000 litres of rectified spirit in raids across the state in the past one month.

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol and is usually used in manufacturing of paints, fragrance, printing ink and coating. As it is cheaper, the liquor syndicates get it smuggled from distilled ethanol manufacturing units. On June 16, STF seized 5,750 litres of rectified spirit (high concentration alcohol) from the possession of a big time crime syndicate active in Lucknow and Kanpur.

The STF rounded up the kingpin, Suraj Lal Yadav, along with six other members of the gang. During interrogation it was discovered that Yadav was well-connected with some distilleries in Haryana. Large quantities of industrial alcohol was smuggled out of Haryana and pushed into hooch manufacturing dens in UP.

Concerned about frequents deaths in UP due to consumption of poisonous hooch, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched a statewide crackdown on illicit liquor manufacturing gangs after 21 people died in a hooch tragedy in Barabanki two months ago. The STF, considered the state’s premiere crime busting agency, subsequently geared up to intercept scores of tankers and private vehicles being pushed into UP from Delhi and Haryana.

India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

“The syndicate involved in smuggling of rectified spirit has spread its tentacles in the state. Even murders have taken place in disputes relating to the smuggling. But our raiding parties are determined to bust the gangs. Innumerable cases have been registered by us in the past one-and-a-half years,” said Amitabh Yash, Inspector General(IG) of STF.

Even though the STF, after rounding up the accused handed over the investigation of the case to the district police, the agency is said to have the most precise data on organised crime in North India.

“We seldom investigate the cases as it involves prolonged court work, so our main aim is focused on cracking heinous crimes, particularly organised by crime syndicates. At the moment, gangs involved in illicit trade of hooch are our target,” said Amitabh Yash, known for his skills in dealing with underworld operations and syndicate crimes. When asked whether a few officials of the excise department and a couple of distilleries could be linked with smugglers of rectified spirit, the IG said a report was given in this connection to the government.

While high excise duty makes liquor expensive, hooch, on the other hand, is available for less than Rs 20 per bottle. At places the rates are less than even Rs 10 per liter. A report, in connection with the Saharanpur hooch tragedy in February 2019 which took the lives of over 50 people, reveals that the quantity of rectified spirit mixed in the drink was so high that it had the effect of poison.

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The report says that rectified spirit was smuggled by criminal gangs which were hand-in-glove with local authorities.

“The gangs have links in distilleries and chemical factories from where industrial alcohol is smuggled out at a very cheap price. It is later re-packed in drums and transported to hideouts of manufacturers (of illicit liquor),” said a source in the police.

With widespread sale of hooch across UP, CM Yogi Adityanath has instructed DGP O.P. Singh to take stringent measures against the culprits and ensure that police secures conviction of those accused who are put on trial in cases of hooch smuggling or hooch-related deaths. (IANS)