- A study by a premier social sciences research institute reinforces what policymakers and media have been talking about the past few years—that India is going through a deep agrarian crisis.
- The Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), based in Delhi, found that given an option majority of farmers in the country would prefer to take up some other work. Poor income, bleak future and stress are the main reasons why they want to give up farming.
- Around 18 per cent of respondents surveyed said it was because of family pressure that they are continuing with farming. The CSDS study report, “State of Indian Farmers”, was released in Delhi.
Why they want to give up farming:
- The survey of 5,000 farm households across 18 states says that 76 per cent farmers would prefer to do some work other than farming. Sixty-one per cent of these farmers would prefer to be employed in cities because of better education, health and employment avenues there.
- A high percentage of farmers complained of repeated losses; 70 per cent of respondents said their crops were destroyed because of unseasonal rains, drought, floods and pest attack.
- The sample size of the study is not very large—just 36 households per district.
- National Sample Survey office (NSSO) and Census surveys, which also pointed to agrarian crisis and increasing number of people giving up farming, covered hundreds of thousands respondents.
- None the less the CSDS study lends further credence to reports of the poor state of India’s farmers.
- The report says that benefits of government schemes and policies are being mostly given to big farmers having landholding of 10 acres (4.05 hectare) and above.
- Only 10 per cent of poor and small farmers with average land holding of 1-4 acres (0.4 to 1.6 ha) have benefited from government schemes and subsidies.
- The farmers blamed the state and Central governments for their present condition as 74 per cent of those interviewed alleged they do not get any farming-related information from officials of the agriculture department.
- The survey shows that 62 per cent of interviewed farmers were not aware about the minimum support price (MSP) and among those who have heard about MSP, 64 per cent were not satisfied with the price government offers.