Nationwide survey finds Indian farmers in bad shape -Vishwa Mohan
-The Times of India
The situation is equally bad in other parts - except in states like Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Western Uttar Pradesh - where farmers don't get adequate price on time and therefore they have to opt for distress selling route in open market.
This conclusion is part of a survey on state of Indian farmers, conducted by a Delhi-based think tank Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). It also found that all the government schemes in agriculture sector mainly benefit "rich" farmers.
Findings of the survey, based on interviews of 11,000 farmers of over 5,000 households in 137 districts across 18 states, show that 62% of the farmers were not even aware of the MSP system which allows public sector agencies to procure food-grains at the price fixed by the government.
Though the system is aimed at helping the farmers through intensives by providing them minimum price to their farm produce, the findings of the survey show that the majority of the respondents (64%) - who know the scheme - are not satisfied with the government decided rate of crops.
The CSDS, which conducted its survey at the behest of a non-political association of farmers Bharat Krishak Samaj (BKS), released its report on Tuesday, making many other eye-opening revelations on government's key employment guarantee scheme MGNREGA, Direct Cash Transfer, subsidies, Land Acquisition Law, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and political preferences of farmers.
It found that the highest numbers of medium and big farmers in the country, except in South India, prefer to vote for the BJP in the forthcoming Parliamentary election.
Interestingly, most of the farmers don't think corruption is the main issue in election. They find price rise is the most important issue.
According to the survey, nearly 85% of the farmers have heard of MGNREGA. However, 51% of the household did not ever get work under the scheme. Nearly 57% of the respondents said the farmers would stand to lose from the Land Acquisition Law.
Referring to the findings, chairman of the BKS, Ajay Vir Jakhar, said, "Farmers have got raw deals from successive governments because they are not organized. Disorganized farmers are not taken seriously and their consent for policies are taken for granted".
He said most of schemes had not got its desired result as it was not implemented and monitored properly in states.
The survey also shows that 74% of the farmers do not get farming related information from officials of agriculture department. Contrary to the general opinion, the survey finds that a very low proportion of farmers are worried about "repayment of loan".
Jakhar said, "It is, perhaps, because farmers know that the government may invariably come out with loan waiver schemes, specifically before elections".
Key findings of the survey:
* MSP of most of the food-grains has been increased by over 100% in the past 10 years, but it failed to benefit farmers in eastern and central India.
* 62% of the respondents (of sample size of 11,000 farmers across 18 states) are not aware of the MSP.
* Among those who heard of MSP, 64% are not satisfied with the system of procurement.
* Most respondents feel that only rich farmers get the benefits of government schemes.
* Only 10% respondents feel that the government schemes benefits poor and small farmers.
* Approximately 85% of the farmers have heard about MGNREGA. But 51% among them did not get work under this scheme.
* 70% have not heard about Direct Cash Transfer scheme. Nonetheless, 34% farmers support the idea of subsidy benefits going directly to their bank accounts.
* 19% said that the subsidy should continue as it is. Rest wants more or in different ways.
* 27% of the farmers have heard about Land Acquisition law. 57% of them said the farmers will stand to lose from this law.
* 83% of the farmers have not heard about FDI.
* Among those who have heard of FDI, 51% said that FDI should not be allowed in the agriculture sector.
* 40 % of the landless farmers supported the idea of FDI in agriculture.
* Approximately 15% farmers heard about suicides in their area.
* 41% respondents report domestic problems as most important reason for suicide cases; 35% because of credit/loan followed by 14% because of crop failure.
* 76 % would prefer to do some other work rather than farming.
* 61% farmers will leave farming if they get an employment opportunity in the city.
* 47% of farmers said that the overall condition of farmers in the country is bad.