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F – Farmers’ Distress | #AtoZChallenge

F – Farmers Distress | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The last two years in India have been marked with continuous farmer protests all across the nation with some of them even ending up in violence. India is going through one of its major agrarian crisis since independence. The current government rhetorics always place the soldiers in the center. Every question directed towards them is something answered with National Security issues or soldiers.

I have earlier written this and will highlight it again today – each and every member of the society is important in the proper functioning of the society and efficient performance of an economy. The government keeps looking the wrong way while addressing issues related to farmers.

According to historic data, agricultural growth has much more impact on poverty reduction than any other activity like industrial growth. While they lay so much emphasis in their slogans on poverty reduction the facts tell a different story otherwise they would not have stopped so many reports from coming out. In fact, you will be shocked to know that the government hasn’t released any data on the number of farmer suicides for the past two years.

60% of India lives in farm households and about 55% of India’s total employment is directly related to agriculture, though it only contributes to 17% of the GDP. Many would say that I am stating these facts as a bias against the government in power but it is not me who is saying this.

The current government constituted a committee under Ashok Dalwair called “The Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income”.

The first report of the Dalwai committee using inputs and research of over 100 experts has pointed out that India’s agriculture is currently in a deep crisis. And it says so because during 2004-14 the country’s agriculture sector witnessed its highest ever growth phase. The report calls it the sector’s “recovery phase”; a term it defines as historic.

“The agricultural sector grew at the growth of around 4% per year during 2004-05 to 2014-15 and the growth was quite impressive as compared to 2.6% per annum during the previous decade (1995-96 to 2004-05),” says the report. The average rate of growth on average for the past four years is around 2% only.

An official from the agriculture ministry says that the trend is very disturbing, “If agricultural labor is increasing in the country and number of cultivators is decreasing.”

The growth rate of farmers’ income on real price (which adjusts inflation) is 3.8% per year. At this rate, the ruling government’s target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 will not be met. It will take at least 25 years from now to achieve it.

According to the Committee on Doubling of Farmers’ Income every year, farmers lose around Rs 63,000 crore for not being able to sell their produces for which they have already made investments.

Recorded incidents of agrarian riots jumped 670% from 628 in 2014 to 4,837 in 2016, according to the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau.

As a result, 76% of farmers would prefer to do some work other than farming according to a study, “State of Indian Farmers” conducted by The Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

The study says that the benefits of government schemes and policies are being mostly given to big farmers having landholding of 10 acres (4.05 hectare) and above. Only 10% of poor and small farmers with average land holding of 1-4 acres (0.4 to 1.6 ha) have benefited from government schemes and subsidies.

It also highlights that 70% of farmers never heard about direct cash transfer and 62% of interviewed farmers were not aware of the minimum support price (MSP).

Approximately 22% of farmers survive below the poverty line. The continuous decline in farmers’ income, while championing the slogan for doubling income, shouldn’t be just another grand plan for a “new India”, because agricultural growth critically decides poverty reduction.

An NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) survey report says about 52% of the agricultural households in the country are estimated to be in debt. Another critical data shows that post demonetization the small lenders who usually took loans up to amounts of Rs. 200000 have dried up. The farmers usually took loans from the informal sector, which accounts for 40% of the entire agricultural households.

As of Jul 2018, in a reply given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala in Rajya Sabha on the present income of the country’s farmers, the NDA government as done an official survey on farmers’ income in its tenure so far.

He also added they have based their calculations on a Survey report done in the year 2013 by National Sample Survey Office. The Minister said NSSO has not conducted any survey during the last one year and the Survey presented in Rajya Sabha refers to a Situation Assessment Survey (SAS).

One of the surveys shows that PM’s minimum income support of Rs 6000/year only account for 6% of the household’s total income.

There hasn’t been any data released on farmer suicides in the past two years. As of 2015, about 45 farmers committed suicide each day in India.

You will be startled to know that farmer suicides doubled in Maharashtra in the last four years according to an RTI reply. No soldier would be able to sustain without food. No amount of development will suffice hunger if the increase in farmer suicide continues on a yearly basis and the farmers start opting other modes of income.

Just ask yourself, “Are we asking the right questions?”

For all those understand the pain of farmers,

For all those who want better measures to be taken,

For all those who want an increase in farmers’ income

And

For all those who agree to the fact that there is a severe agrarian crisis…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 6th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

F – Farmers’ Distress

Read the previous post here

A – Anti-National

B – Banking

C – Climate Change

D – Demonetisation

E – Elections, EB & EVM

Please do visit on Monday for the next post with letter ‘G’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

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The VILLGRO Fellowship

The Villgro Fellowship

Rich-Poor Reality

Rich-Poor Reality

I remember giving a presentation on 11th five-year plan during an academic session as a part of MBA curriculum and I don’t know how but I stumbled upon this pic while searching for an appropriate title slide and used it. I used this pic mainly because it is self-explanatory but how it subtly signifies that the governments have failed over the years to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich. Though for the past several plans one of their underlining objectives was ‘Inclusive Growth’ – Growth of every stratum of the society simultaneously…The rich getting richer but the poor also getting better. But instead of continuous efforts and so called plans I personally believe that we have come to a stage that the middle class has virtually diminished and has gone nearly extinct. The reason for this is that the rich is getting richer while at the same time the poor is getting poorer. Hence one of most prevailing questions arise how can we change this…how can we make the state of poor in our country from the current suffocating one to at least survivable.

Statistically speaking where majority of the poor population resides in our country…it’s mainly in the rural lands. There may be many ways but one of the ways that I believe is by starting more and more rural organizations where we can employ a lot of locals as well as the end beneficiaries at large should also be them. I know that there are many NGOs and government organizations working towards achieving the same but still the work isn’t reflecting in the number of success stories that we should ideally hear. I recently heard a bunch of guys coming up with an initiative of rural BPO and I thought that it was a great move. Neither everyone can be a farmer nor is every land that is rural, futile and fertile enough to bear crops.

There are more and more visionaries who are coming up with social enterprises whose main objective doesn’t lie in creating wealth for just them. They are surrounded by a more holy motive of betterment of the poor and how they can be empowered, how they can become the controller of their destinies than mere the rain gods.

But sadly to say the infrastructure, in every regard, I don’t think is that conducive and encouraging, where we can say that the environment is suited for such entrepreneurs and such enterprises. Most of them struggle with a lot of issues and one such issue is how to move ahead with such an enterprise and such a motive. Since there is not much that has already happened in this area…there are very few mentors and experts in the same field and category. But wouldn’t it be a boon for everyone who wants to dedicate his business and life to such a cause that he gets a platform to showcase his/her enterprise and on top of that get mentors and if possible investors for their mission. Someone to understand their idea and make it kind of their own and incubate it and take it forward like a corporate company.

The Villgro Fellowship

The Villgro Fellowship

Villgro is one such non-profit institution, which is giving a platform for social entrepreneurs and enterprises with innovative and technical ideas, whose underlying theme should be the betterment of society as a whole especially the underprivileged and the poor. They have come up with an awesome Fellowship program where they encourage people from all walks of society to be a part of it and showcase their innovative idea. They will provide total support and whatever guidance is required right from the incubation stage of the idea and project. They will nurture your idea like their own and in return teach you also the key aspects of running a social enterprise so that after the fellowship you can on your own run it in a sustainable manner which achieves its objectives and goals with which you wanted to start on the first place.

Fellow success stories

Fellow success stories

On the other hand in return you will learn a lot, since the program is designed in such a manner that you will get a lot of exposure through the other fellows, which will be a mix of international students with similar passion and such ideas. There is no dearth of recognition also, Villgro has won a lot of awards and appreciation for coming up with such a foundation that instead becomes foundations for other organizations and hence the credibility about Villgro and its Fellowship program automatically follows.

In the end I would like to mention a line from their website…’Change starts with ideas…when ideas become reality, they transform lives’. So, if you have an idea which you believe can change a lot of lives…Villgro is the place to go.

For more info please check out these links about the fellowship:

150318-Fellowship Posts-Rachana

 

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul