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
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
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.