POST AGRARIAN DISTRESS IN INDIA : UNPAYABLE DEBT - YOUTH DARPAN

TRILOK SINGH : It was a promise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his government  implemented the swaminathan recommendations, Cost of production Plus 50%?? In the Farmers’ Commission Report recommended that MSP should be the total cost of production plus 50%. Unfortunately a recent Panel set up by the Govt. of India or so called Modi’s Government has recommended only a margin of about 10% more than the cost of production. Still, we can say that, “no achhey din are going on for farmers”. I think any kind of  Protest and Strike is not an option because it is a loss of farmer not of Government but Government should take farmer and agriculture very seriously as they are the need of Country, Society or what we can say growth..

Number of Research, National Crime Records Bureau and also Shinath reports indicates that something big wrong happened with farmers, India. Also Huge number of political scientist and experts reports indicates that, Each and Every hrs/day farmers commit suicide in India at a very large scale. In short, “liberal import of agricultural products, Lack of easy and low cost loan to the Agriculture sector, Commercialization, chemicalization, LPG, Special Economic Zone, Public Distribution Service, unseasonal rainfall is the growing causes of farmers commit suicide in india”…

DATA ON FARM SUICIDES IN 2016 AND 2017

The states which have had largest number of farm suicides for several years now include: Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Chattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat etc.

In 2017, 155: Telangana, 390 in Jan.2017 alone: Maharashtra, 51: Karnataka etc. Information from states like Punjab which have witnessed a high number of suicides in 2016-17, or Odisha where the matter of farm suicides has been a big public debate for months now, or Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, UP etc., which are usually in the list of largest farm suicide states, is not available from any reliable source. The Government claimed in the Supreme Court that suicides are on the decline. With the available information, we contest this. While in Karnataka, there appears to be a small decline, in MP there appears to have been an increase.

However, states like Bihar and Jharkhand reported the least number of deaths although Bihar is in top 10 states in terms of rice, wheat and pulses production in India.. Some fact, More than 1.5 crores farmers have left farming between 1991 to 2017, 45% of farmers interviewed by National Sample Survey Organisation wanted to quit farming, 3.2 lacs farmers committed suicide between 1995 to 2015 (Govt. estimates while actual numbers are much higher since there is a strict definition that defines who is a farmer) with ~8000 suicides in 2015 with Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, AP, WB accounting for majority of the suicides (∼16,000 suicides per year or one farmer death every 30 minutes).

So, we really need to get rid about the same to make our exercise more efficient. Moreover, A number of social activist groups and studies proposed a link between genetically modified crops and farmer suicides. Bt cotton (Bacillus thuringiensis cotton) was claimed to be responsible for farmer suicides. “The latest data is interesting because all of us thought that moneylenders were the culprits of the piece.

As first reported by The Indian Express on August 19, 2016, farmer suicides saw a spike of 41.7% 2015 from 2014. The year 2015 saw 8,007 suicides by farmers compared to 5,650 in 2014, according to National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) data. Further, Among the states, the data showed, Maharashtra (3,030), Telangana (1,358), Karnataka (1,197), Chhattisgarh (854) and Madhya Pradesh (516) led the table. Karnataka saw a more than three-fold rise in farmer suicides in 2015, as compared to 2014 when around 300 farmers ended their lives.

Before few year, a report published by the International Food Policy Research Institute, an agriculture policy think tank based in Washington DC, noted that there was an absence of data relating to “numbers on the actual share of farmers committing suicide who cultivated cotton, let alone Bt cotton.. You hear a lot about “farmer suicides” on tv, newspapers, Social Media and movies. But If you ask anyone, other than a farmer, why it happens, you hear only one answer – “unpayable debt”… As much as 79.5% of India’s farmland relies on flooding during monsoon season, so inadequate rainfall can cause droughts, making crop failure more common…

P. Sainath on the latest phase of the agrarian crisis, Why are our farmers angry? Further, From farmers being shot dead in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, to those across Maharashtra now out on the streets in protest, to those from Tamil Nadu on hunger strike in New Delhi not so long ago, this has been a season of agrarian discontent. Why is this happening, which way will it go? P. Sainath will broadcast live on YouTube on Sunday, 11th June 2017 at 7:00 pm.. You May watch his video..

Moreover, Left leaning economists like Utsa Patnaik, Jayati Ghosh and Prabhat Patnaik suggest that the large scale of structural changes in the macro-economic policy of Indian Government that really favoured LPG is the root cause of farmer suicides. Who are the real losers? Neither the government nor the taxpayers, it is again the poor farmers. Of course, farmers are suffering from losses in agriculture.. Even the farmer is a man who is excellent trader by intrinsic nature, so he just exercised what he thought as his best choice i.e to be dead is better than alive…

We know that poverty, hunger and human security is not new phenomenon to India neither in debt. This has been a “season of agrarian discontent”, in India. Farmers were never known to be rich or elite. So, Why do Indian Farmers commit suicide in India? For example people terminate themselves only when something serious happens. E.g. a rich man suddenly loses all his wealth and or a honest man suddenly finds himself in an insurmountable debt. I know nothing about the ground level reality but I assume that these farmers are already very poor or hunger. So being little more poor does not affect them as much….

Prof Swaminathan urges Govt to implement Farmers’ Commission Report for support price of grains. Prof  Swaminathan, Agriculture Scientist has urged the Government to accept and implement the Farmers’ Commission Report, with regard to Minimum Support Price for grains set at production cost plus 50% citing the need to safeguard interests of small farmers and the increasing risk of taking up agriculture as a profession due to adverse incidents caused by climate change. Source : India’s Journals. The National Commission on Farmers headed by M.S. Swaminathan was set up in 2004 to study and provide recommendations to improve agriculture and farmers condition in India…

Significantly, Loan waver are becomes very serious issue in order to agriculture and farmers. Does we need to implement the swaminathan reports, Cost of production Plus 50%??. We assume that, 1947-2017 (on wards), Every government in India has failed to fulfill the needs of a farmer. If you look at the situation it is hard for a farmer to survive as the conditions are not that suitable. I don’t know if I’m wrong, but the thing that’s bothering me is, why should government waive a loan of farmer?

In Short, First, Loan waiver (Complete loan waiver to all the farmers of maharashtra). Second, A fixed price for agricultural produce. Third, 24/7 Electricity Supply. Fourth, Implement Swaminathan Commission’s Report. Fifth, Pension for Farmers. Finally, Loan without interest etc…

However, Sen said, moneylenders were more flexible compared to banks and microfinance institutions. The organised sector is less flexible because rules don’t permit them flexibility. The microfinance sector is worse. They put pressure by telling others in self-help groups that their share would be cut if one person does not pay loans in time. This creates social pressure, as well. Many also send goons to the neighbourhood to scare borrowers.

In a statement issued today on the subject, Prof Swaminathan said “Our green revolution has been sustained only because of public procurement of wheat and rice at a fairly reasonable MSP. In the Farmers’ Commission Report, we have recommended that MSP should be the total cost of production plus 50%. Unfortunately a recent Panel set up by the Govt. of India has recommended only a margin of about 10% more than the cost of production…

SOME WAY OUT

Technology and Youth also becomes important with the same regard, Now a days very few people wants to do farming even a son of a farmer don’t want to go towards farming as he knows the problems in it. Technological advancement in the agriculture field can help in improving the productivity and it can also attract youth toward farming…

  • Implementing The M S Nathan Reports
  • Encouraging private players to contribute in creating better storage and transportation facilities
  • Educating farmers about better post-harvesting technologies
  • Locally-specific farm mechanisation to improve storage
  • Standardising farm operations and ensuring better transport facilities for food and food products
  • Encouraging consumers to eat what is produced locally

Yet, the ongoing agrarian tragedy makes farmers one of the most distressed groups in India. Farming and Teaching once considered to be one of most noble professions have now completely lost their vitality in our society. The plight of farmers in our country has been given very little attention by our media and on Social networking sites.

SUM UP

Farmers in many parts of India are largely dependent on timely rainfall for harvest and subsequent profits. Uncertainty surrounding this phenomenon has also haunted them since the beginning of civilization. Over time however, this uncertainty had reduced significantly as farmers back in the day could almost accurately plant crops based on previous experience with weather conditions. This wisdom has been passed on from one generation of farmers to the other. Gradual onset of global warming and climate changes, over the last century, have slowly-yet steadily put this wisdom out of use. As for rain-fed farmers preparing for agriculture, soil-water equation is fragile and any delay in rainfall could easily mar the harvest. Food wastage due to lack of storage and transportation facilities, The amounts of food wasted in the country puts huge pressure on agriculture to produce more crops. Lack of storage and transportation facilities leads to a situation where a significant proportion of the agricultural produce is spoiled before it reaches the market. This leads to reduced returns for the farmers and is also inefficient from the economic point of view…

(Trilok Singh, The writer/Author, is currently Honorary Student, Kirori Mal College, DU, Department Of political Science and also Founder/CEO at IASmind & India’s Journals).

Youth Darpan

Founder and CEO, Trilok Singh. MA. POL.SCI (2015-17). CEO/Owner at IASmind.com

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