On a mission to help distressed farmers – The New Indian Express
Express press service
HYDERABAD: Farmers can call the helpline number 9490900800 to speak to Kisan Mitra advisors regarding any farming issues or government programs. The team ensures that the problem is resolved by contacting the authorities
Heavy financial indebtedness, lack of financial support, loss of crops, an abusive marketing system and an apathetic banking system are among the many reasons for farmer suicides across the country. Lack of adequate financial and agricultural knowledge led many into trouble.
To address this issue, Kisan Mitra, a unique collaboration between civil society organizations and the Vikarabad district administration, was launched on April 14, 2017. Five years later, the helpline has expanded to serving farmers not only in Adilabad and Mancherial districts of Telangana. , but also in Kadapa, Visakhapatnam and Anantapur districts of Andhra Pradesh.
In a bid to help farmers, a helpline number 9490900800 was launched where farmers could talk to Kisan Mitra advisors regarding any agricultural issue or government program. The Kisan Mitra team is working with relevant government officials to resolve the issue. The outreach team in the field follows up with the farmers in the field to make sure the problem is solved. Instructions are sent to the relevant managers, if the issues have been outstanding for a long time.
The team’s efforts resulted in the resolution of 5,810 cases in Vikarabad, 3,566 cases in Adilabad and 924 in Mancherial districts. However, 1,199 cases in Vikarabad and 599 cases in Mancherial districts are still pending. Most of the problems were related to agriculture and income.
After heavy rains in 2018, farmers in Adilabad suffered huge crop losses. Similarly, farmers in Mancherial, who had suffered heavy losses due to mid-season adversity, were excluded from crop insurance coverage in 2019. The helpline team has worked with the respective district administrations and ensured that input subsidy support reached farmers and that they could claim their insurance.
Stand up for the ryots
Kisan Mitra has also endeavored to support the market by intervening when distress calls have been received regarding the procurement process, ensuring minimum support price, supply of Rabi crops, etc. In Adilabad alone, Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) comprising about 700 sharecroppers have been supported with a loan of `1 lakh to `1.5 lakh per group through the bank credit intervention of Kisan Mitra.
Kisan Mitra followed up on income-related issues raised by farmers by coordinating with relevant officials, making field visits, checking portals like Maa Bhoomi and Dharani, and providing input to district collectors during their review meetings on revenue issues. The helpline has not only ensured that victimized farmers obtain compensation from the government, but has also supported families after farmers’ failed suicide attempts.
Impressed with how the helpline works, the Wardha district collector in Maharashtra started a similar helpline there. Niti Aayog also offered to have consultations with district collectors from 50 suicidal districts across the country to launch something akin to Kisan Mitra.