Monsoon, Market and Middlemen as Key Ingredients to Agrarian Distress in Contemporary India: Prioritizing for Policy and Practice Based Interventions

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Ravi Ranjan Kumar , V.K. Yadav, Kirti Arya


India has been an agrarian society since ages but fails to be an agriculture economy especially post globalization. Farmers who have rightly been termed as ‘Anna-data’ i.e. ‘giver of food’ have been facing an existential crisis unprecedented in India post-independence. One just needs to look at the rich literature on farmer suicides to understand the shades of distress that a farmer household has been going through off late. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been publishing the statistics for suicide in India since the 1950s. The same body has also been collecting and publishing the statistics for farmer suicides since 1995. More than three lakh farmers have committed suicides in country as per government’s own records only in past two decades. There has been varied responses by both government as well as non-government sector to the issue. However, there has been no substantial change to the existing situation. This paper dwells into the reasons of failing interventions to the issue.


The paper revisits major factorswhich have resulted in an unprecedented farm crisis in the countryover recent decades. Analyzing secondary data by individual and institutional researchers, it draws conclusions towards farm crisis being an inherently environmental issue surrounding climate change, unsustainable practices of water management and genetically modified seeds -needs attention foremost from an environmental view point, whereas not to discount economic factors like market and middlemen being given due attention for a rights based approach and not just with politically sellable loan-waivers or ritualistic jargons of Minimum Support Prices (MSPs). Counseling and other support services too deserve their due but largely as complementary to environmental and economic factors and never at their cost.

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