” Is it really a crisis ? “
The first obvious question that comes to one’s mind in this age of false portrayals , fake news and brainwashing , is agrarian crisis for real or a card that is played by opposition to depict the present government as a pro-corporate and anti-farmer?
Well to answer this , we must take a look at some contemporary events related to this. First of all “Jat reservation stir “ , but our inquisitive mind should begin to question- was not that related to reservation issue?
Prima facie, it may look to be but the two major reasons were subsequent crop failures and increase in number of educated Jats( a caste in India ). it is not needed to mention the revenue loss and inconveniences caused by that incident. Secondly the cotton farmers suicides in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, more than 3 hundred thousand farmers have committed suicides and that too growing a crop that is considered to be cash crop.
More than 300000 farmers have committed suicides and that too growing a crop that is considered to be cash crop.
The Bundelkhand region remains in news for these incidents regularly. Among the most recent ones are the Tamil Nadu farmers’ protest and killing of 5 farmers in MP .
And if this doesn’t look to be serious than to put things into perspective , the population involved is 320 million and more than 90% of them are small and marginal farmers . It is more than the population of many of the countries of the world
Causes in brief can be as such:
- Occupational structure
Agriculture engages about half of the Indian population and contributes merely about 17 to 18 percent of GDP
Agriculture engages about half of the Indian population and contributes merely about 17 to 18 percent of GDP . There is a need to shift the population to secondary and tertiary sector of economy. It is easier said than done since all the gates to changing occupation are closed. The rural cottage industry has not been able to catch up sufficient growth. Also it was one the areas worst hit by demonetisation (a recent economically blunder policy which resulted in taking the cash away from an economy which is 86% dependent on cash) and moving to construction worker in an adjoining city just shifts the farmers from one trap to another. The urban development serves no good because people will naturally not be ready to leave their homes and forefathers land in search of jobs. A big policy failure has been in improving the condition of the rural economy itself and to make it competent enough to withstand the tough competition.
The urban development serves no good because people will naturally not be ready to leave their homes and forefathers land in search of jobs.
- It is an inherently risky profession
With most of its area as rain fed , and lack of innovations in irrigation means that monsoon failure means crop failure. Monsoon has always been erratic and strong El- Nino has made it even more serious. Large cost of inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides , insecticides , and even the seeds makes the input costs high that’s why loans are the only option for farmers which later become a burden in case of crop failure due to drought , disease, or any other reason
- Disguised and seasonal unemployment
“ Two man working in wheat field produce 3000 kg of wheat in 4 months, then how much time it will take for four men working in the same field to produce same quantity of wheat” , Maths says 2 months but of course, maths can not make yield or wheat season short. And here it Is , the reason for disguised unemployment and seasonal unemployment in this sector. Seasonal unemployment has been taken care through MNREGA but disguised unemployment is still a big problem and it is not even a priority with a huge population of white-collar unemployment.
- Outlook of people towards farmer
Everyone wants to put farmers out of their misery but we are cultured to behave in a particular manner towards them. People get out of their SUVs to buy vegetables and fight for 5 -10 Rs (10-20 cents) with the seller. Same people spend 150 Rs (2-3 $) at fast food outlets for some unhealthy dish. Knowingly or unknowingly city people have turned into anti-farmers and it is a bitter truth where 20 billion $ loan waiver to 320 million farmers is termed as fashion while 80 billion $ loan of 15 corporate houses is written off without any fuss.
$20 billion loan waiver to 320 million farmers is termed as fashion while $80 billion loan of 15 corporate houses is written off without any fuss.
Also there are much more reasons like lack of infrastructure, godown facilities, corruption, middleman, lack of awareness among farmers or unfavourable policies. It seems that in Indian agriculture, Success depends on 1% hard work and 99% precipitation. These issues are not among those which can be addressed by mere speeches or condemning loan waivers. One thing is for sure , solutions exist and no need to delay because in a the long run we may not be all dead but many of our “Annadatas” would be.