New Delhi: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it would set up a panel of experts for re-examining the eight-year-old National Policy for Farmers (NPF), particularly in the wake of rising cases of farmer suicides.
The Ministry of Agriculture said that it has proposed to set up an expert committee to initiate the process of re-examining the policy.
"It is recognised that almost eight years have elapsed since the present policy NPF, 2007 was formulated. There are instances of farmers' suicides being reported from various parts of the country.
"There is, thus, a need for an integrated approach and re-look at the present policy. For this purpose, the government intends to initiate action and set up a committee comprising experts and stakeholders to initiate the exercise," the Ministry said in an affidavit filed before the court.
The affidavit, filed by Kamal Arora, Under Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, said that nearly all action points emanating from NPF, 2007 have been implemented through various schemes and initiatives taken by the Centre and state governments.
It also said that a plan of action was prepared by an Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by government for operationalisation of NPF, 2007, which identified 201 points.
"It is submitted that the present government recognises the need for supporting the farmers and has taken a number of steps for increasing production, productivity, realise remunerative prices and risk mitigation," it said while listing down the schemes initiated by the government.
The ministry further said that in order to provide price support and de-risk farming, the government has enhanced Minimum Support Price for various crop based on the recommendations of the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL seeking direction to the government to take steps to prevent farmer suicides across the country. The PIL by Punjab-based NGO Youth Kamal Organization, through its President G S Happy Mann, had stated that there is a high distress level in the agriculture sector.
On October 30, the apex court had imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the Centre for failing to clear its stand on the issue of revisiting the policy.