Agrarian Crisis

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New doc: Agrarian Crisis in India

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We hear often about India as a country with a very high economic growth, a country with the highest numbers of billionaires in Asia, and a country of world renowned information technology. But we do not hear enough about the serious problems in agriculture. With the globalisation policy adopted in 1991, the government started reducing its investment in agriculture and the industrial sector allowing the private sector to take over. The restructuring of the public distribution system really affected the availability of foodgrains to the poor at subsidised rates. All such measures had implications for the farm sector.

Decline in growth rate of foodgrains: In 1980s, while the growth in agricultural output was as high as 4% p.a., causing self-sufficiency, in the liberalisation period (1993-2000) the rate of growth fell to 2% p.a. The rate of growth of the GDP in agriculture and allied sectors was just 1% p.a. during 2002-05, causing a decline in per capita availability of foodgrains; the growth rate of population became higher than that of foodgrains, and India started to import foodgrains at a much higher price than that in the domestic market. Unemployment: Unemployment in the agricultural sector increased during the reform period as agriculture was not profitable due to the fall in the price of farm products. As a result, the number of people employed in cultivation fell, which in turn caused a decline in rural employment. The annual rate of growth of the employment in the rural areas was 2.07% in 1987-1984, while it declined to a mere 0.66% in 1993-2000. Even the Dalits and tribals, who heavily depended on agriculture, suffered. Farmer Suicides: When agriculture was not yielding remunerative income, the life of the farmers became very desperate. Many of them committed suicide as a last resort. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 17,060 farmers committed suicide in the country in 2006 with Maharashtra...
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