Indian success story of growth should be captioned as”Growth with Suicides”,considering the ongoing magnitude of suicides.The wave of suicide is spreading like wildfire in the rural landscape of penninsular India.Surprisingly, the most advanced state Maharashtra is going to become the graveyard for farming community. Through this article “Agrarian distress in India”I will provide deep insight of this issue.
Dependence beyond carrying capacity on agriculture
It is true that Indian agriculture is over burdened.Over 50 percentage of total population is directly or indirectly depending on this age old occupation. If we consider the percentage in GDP, then it is below 15 percent.Isn’t it shocking.
In the countries like US, UK, and Australia, only 2 percent people are engaged in the agriculture sector. Moreover, the agro-processing base in the rural areas is negligible.
In this situation, surplus labour force is forced to confine in the non-profitable agricultural sector. This points out the magnitude of disguised unemployment in the rural landscape.
Secondly, over 60 percent of cultivable land depends on the vagaries of monsoon because there is no other source of rain. Compare to this, around 35 percent area is under irrigation. If there is 60 percent of population directly depend on the erratic monsoon, then they hardly mange to do work in four months.
As per the employment definition, a person should get work more than 180 days. Only then, he or she could be called as employed.
Third, population has been grown more than three times since independence. And, we know that land is hereditary property. Therefore, fragmentation is unavoidable or inevitable in the Indian culture. With this small holding, how could it become profitable.
Low productivity and traditional mimmindset- cause of agrarian distress
It is the chronic problem of Indian agriculture. If we compare the Indian productivity with other nations, then we can only find contrast.You will easily notice that the difference is double.
If the productivity is too low, then the chances to withstand in the present competition remains negligible. In this way, the occupation becomes subsistance, instead intensive profit oriented.
Emotional attachment with land, as a symbol of ancestorial property, is also another hurdle. In case, they lose land, lose respect in society.
Here, the problem is more serious. Farmers wants to free themselves from the clutches of misery with the help of either land or government. On the Indian hand, land is not capable to liberate then. On the other hand, governments efforts are limited. In this way, misery perpetuates,victimizing farming community.
Governments apathetic and discriminatory attitude
So far, governments efforts are barely limited with the loan waiver schemes and minimum support price for agro commodities.
They think that by providing better price for commodities and offseting the burden of loan(institutional),they could appease the farming community.
In 2008 and now, the government declared loan waiver schemes well earlier to elections to woo the farming community for ballets.
These measures are nothing more than painkillers. This is the deliberate policy to maintain status quo on the condition of farmers. As they are well aware about this reality and that’s why they are more stressing over the industry and services led growth with broken wheel of agriculture.
Farmers mentality and lack of awareness
Farmers in the country like India are mere a vehicle to advance the interests of political parties. The issue of farmers suicide gets unprecedented attention prior to elections.
For this, farmers are equally responsible. They lack in unity and divided on the name of cast, religion and political parties. In the whole country, there is no single party exclusively for farmers to uphold the cause of farmers.
In the 2019 general elections, despite huge grivences, they overwhelmingly voted in favour of party in power.Theirs resentment and disillusionment isn’t enough to liberate themselves from the clutches of misery but they need to think about theirs interests as a class instead caste or religion.
External social coercion–limits for change
Indebtedness is a serious social stigma which is nothing less than a fetter for agrarian rural community. It is directly or indirectly responsible for intensifying the ongoing agrarian distress in India.
Unlike earlier times, today property is directly related to the prestige in the society.whosoever gains property, gains respect and prestige and vice versa. This is one of the reasons for the wave of suicide, particularly in the rural Maharashtra.
External social coercion is acting on both sides. Whenever, the news of indebtedness comes out, social pressure piles up in the same degree and proportionate.Marriage is a industry in the rural society.
In order to get acclaim of relatives or peers, one has to spend as per the expectations of people in relation. Apart from this, to celebrate festivals, maintain customs and traditions, one has to burn pocket even though against the mind or conscience.
It proves death blow for a person who is already a victim of crop failure or price crash.
Agrarian distress in India is a product of intertwined Various factors. Overdependence, lack of occupational alternatives, and traditional mindset are some of reasons responsible for the declining agrarian lustre.Low productivity and price crash are attributed to the physical as well as institutional bottlenecks. Also, we cannot rule out the apathetic attitude of successive governments in dealing with this chronic problem.There is no magic wand to solve it quickly. Total overhaul is utmost important to transform the rural landscape into prized asset