Indian farmers are facing one of the worst economic condition experienced in last few years. Over the years, Government have declared a lot of help, but the fact is that the help doesn’t reach at all. Even if it does then only a fraction of it, and that too not in time.
In 1985 the then PM accepted publicly that only 14 paise reaches the grass root level out of 1 rupee of help that is extended by the government. It seems the same has been further aggravated. I was born & brought up in a remote village, and so have seen how the government help is divided between government officials & distributing agency – having little scope to the meaning of any complain, if made because all are the active participants. Thanks to the end of license raj which brought a little bit relief to the people at grass root level.
Our country is agriculture based – 65 % of the population. But they are in a very bad shape. Every successive government since independence promulgated different type of policy time to time to help them. But the fact is that each policy spurted their pains. With each declaration, their hope busted up for help but whenever the help didn’t reach in time, it led to suicides too.
Majority of farmers are marginal or they cultivate land of others called bataidari. As per one survey there are 144 million cultivators & 144 million land less laborers in our country. About 80% of cultivators own less than a hectare of land. They all economically exploited because income from cultivation are less than the total expenditure, according to survey made by NSSO.
Situation of bataidari cultivators is further deteriorating because they get only half of the agriculture produce. All the cultivators supplement their income by animal husbandry or to work on other farms, even then they hardly provide requirement of their family. In the month of February, I visited my native village, talked to many farmers, they revealed that cost of inputs like fertilizers, water, seeds, labour, fuel have gone up in recent months but price of their produce did not, thus causing indebtedness.
Most of them have purchased inputs either on credit or on case loan with private lenders who charge heavy interest on month to month basis. Banking loan are still not in reach for these cultivators due to its red tapism
What Is The Solution?
Well, Different state and regions have different type of problem faced by the farmers.As region wise, policy is required to be formulated. Marginal cultivators must get inputs at low cost. Cooperative farming , cluster farming, agro based industry & farmer producers organization must be strengthened.
Corporate sector should be encouraged to help the farmers in cluster & cooperative farming including establishing agro based industries even at no profit no loss or even at loss, because if farmers smile only then India will smile. Secondly increase in public investment is key to provide a dignified life to the farmers. Successive government undermined this sector & time has come to give top priority to this sector.
Jai Kishan Jai Jawan is most relevant as our Late PM Lal Bahadur Shastri taught us.
By: Dr. Dinesh Mishra