The agricultural sector and farmers are the pillars of the Indian economy. But do Indian farmers reap the benefits they sow?
Worldwide, India is portrayed as an agriculture powerhouse. However, on the contrary, the Indian government fails to understand the plight of its nation’s farmers. Despite being significant contributors to India’s GDP, farmers struggle to make ends meet. More than 10,000 farmers in India commit suicide every year due to financial distress. In addition, innumerable hurdles imposed by the government recently have led to additional farmers distress.
Decline in Agriculture Efficacy
Owing to Indian climatic conditions and agricultural efficacy, the Agri sector in the past added 75% to the nation’s GDP. However, with the recent turn of events, its contribution has stooped down to 14%. One of the prominent reasons for this decline is the government’s negligence towards the backbone of the sector. Accordingly, the agricultural ministry focused on increasing agri-output and food security measures. Instead, its primary focus must have been to promote farmer welfare. Thus, resulting in poverty among the farm households that led to mass suicide incidences.
Reasons for Farmers Distress in India
In recent times, agrarians are often protesting either by dumping vegetables or by marching to the national capital. This is essentially due to the agricultural distress in India. In turn, the distress fluctuates the farm income that deliriously affects the interest in farming and farm investments. Few primary reasons that result in agriculture and farmers distress in India are discussed below:
1. The average farmland holdings have drastically reduced in India. The reason being the demographic pressure and alternative use of farmland.
2. Global climatic misery is also pushing the agriculture towards failure as Indian agri-sector is highly dependent on monsoon.
3. The disrupted supply chain due to the lack of storage infrastructure, reduced import price, and low global prices for agricultural commodities
4. The credit system in India supports the government more than the farmers. Further, it is highly dependent on the money lenders and establishes their dominance over the cultivators.
5. Lack of mechanisation by sticking to traditional farming techniques also paves the way to crop failure
In all, poor government policies, subsidy corruption, debt, crop failure, and anti-farm laws have drowned Indian farmers in agony.
Farmers Suicide in India
The Indian farmer’s suicide rate is one of the highest in the world. The agrarian nation notes over 11.2% farmer suicides in India. A recent study revealed that Maharashtra alone accounts for 60,750 suicides since 1995. Further, in 2019 more than 10,000 people directly associated with the farm sector died by suicide. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana are states with the high farmer suicide rate.
The Recent Misery
The newly introduced farm bills have yet again stirred the lives of the farmers. Farmers fear that the new laws lead to their exploitation by the private sector as the new rules facilitate the buying of agronomic products at low prices. As of now, farmers are protesting and are adamant in doing so until their demands are met.
In all, the farmers are not only distressed over extreme climatic variations, but also the hurdles imposed by the government. At present, it is imperative for the government to take notice of the many lost lives and current struggles. Bearing that in mind, the centre must plan a proactive policy that maximises farmers’ benefits. It is in fact centre’s responsibility as well as the duty to restore the lives of farmers and help them increase their income.