Forsaken Farmer: Economy will Fall Like an Avalanche… No One Can Stop It

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Severe agrarian crisis is the result of decades of apathy towards farmers. The corporate sector flourishes at the cost of farmers. It’s time to reset our priorities. The danger is that agrarian crisis will fail the economy sooner rather than later.

Being the victim of an unhappy family, my life wasn’t what I would have wanted. As the future stretches out before me, my mind sometimes recalls my default profession i.e. agriculture. Losing my childhood to sufferings gave me a different set of priorities than the other teenagers. I always sought to make the both ends meet while they chased their dreams and luxuries. My thoughts were on experiencing bitterness in life. I chased this desire of mine in misfortune, miseries, and suicides. I am a Farmer.

For seventy years and prior to that as well, the fate of the farmers in India has only got the marginal change. The apathy of the successive governments towards farmers has reduced them down to mere a vote bank. Terming this as a heinous crime against 60 percent of the population is just an eye wash.

Devendra Kumar
Devendra Kumar, Editor, ELE Times

The disparity between the per capita income of urban and rural household is quite evident. Though statistics are available showing the depleting condition of farmers in terms of debts, small and fragmented land holdings, seeds, manures, fertilizers and biocides, irrigation, lack of mechanisation, soil erosion, agricultural marketing, and inadequate storage facilities. We are not here to show any data on the same. The government already has much more data available with them than anybody else in India.

Our concern is about the success of the number of Government  policies launched in the last two years; Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Stand up India – the list is quite long. Consequent to the manufacturing and other policies and product abundance in the market, the domestic market is not active to its full potential. The rural market is subdued and sluggish in the absence of buying capacity. The government has to break the vicious cycle of the agrarian economy. Only if doubling the income of the farmers, as Prime Minister says, amount to defeating our own policies. We must find the ways to increase the purchasing capacity to at least four fold in a very short time.

In the absence of a decent per capita income of 60 percent of rural population, India cannot think of becoming an economic power. Keeping a sizeable population devoid of contributing to national growth plan is a dangerous trend. Urban market is on the brink of saturation. If the rural market is not developed by way of increasing the purchasing power, who is going to buy TVs and the mobiles. The script is lucid and well written. We do not need specialist or soothsayers to analyses and predict.

The average farm household makes Rs 6,426 per month. Surprisingly, what this translates into is debt. Over half of all agricultural households are indebted, and these are not small debts.

Agriculture plays a vital role in India’s economy. Over 60 per cent of the rural households depend on agriculture as their principal means of livelihood. The share of agriculture and allied sectors is expected to reach meager 17.3 per cent of the Gross Value Added. If the current situation persists, there should not be any doubt that all the government efforts making India a big economy are bound to fail miserably.

India’s GDP is expected to grow at 7.1 per cent while agriculture GDP is expected to grow at 4.1 per cent, way below the national average. Efforts should be made to bridge the gap. Unless all the sectors – manufacturing, service and agriculture are not at par in terms of GDP growth, we cannot improve upon the current market scenario.

Government’s affirmation of doubling the income is a welcome move. We may start with saying that nothing is impossible. Dreaming big, that too for the long-neglected cause of farmers, is a sign of boldness. But realisation of any bold dreams requires four things: a clearly defined vision, a carefully crafted strategy for achieving it, sufficient financial resources to support the efforts and, above all, the minister, official and technocrat to lead and persevere on the path until the goal is reached. Enjoy Reading ELE Times.

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