ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Indebtedness of Cultivator Households

Two important surveys, viz, the Situation Assessment Survey and the All-India Debt and Investment Survey were conducted in the 59th round of the National Sample Survey Organisation in 2003. A common topic was the indebtedness of farmer/cultivator households. The estimates of incidence of debt, extent of indebtedness and also the pattern of debt owed to institutional and non-institutional agencies, showed wide variations among different states and also at the all-India level in the two surveys, mainly because of the differences in concepts, definitions, methods of data collection, sample design, etc.

Some Puzzling Results

T he 59th round of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), as in most of the NSSO rounds, was a multi-subject survey.The two important surveys it covered are the Situation Assessment Survey of Farmer Households (hereafter called SAS 2003)1 and the All-India Debt and Investment Survey (hereafter called AIDIS 2002-03).2 The SAS 2003 was an ad hoc survey stated to have been conducted by the NSSO at the instance of the ministry of agriculture, while the AIDIS 2002-03 was the latest survey on debt and investment of the rural and urban households3 conducted decennially by the NSSO. The rural households covered in the AIDIS 2002-03 comprise the cultivator and non-cultivator households, for which separate estimates are available from the survey reports. The SAS 2003 covered a wide array of problems faced by the farmer households, and elicited, inter alia, quantitative information on income, expenditure, indebtedness, etc. The AIDIS 2002-03 also covered, among other aspects, the indebtedness of rural and urban households. A common area of interest between the two surveys was the indebtedness of the farmer households. Indebtedness is recorded differently in the two surveys, which resulted in different estimates and the structural pattern of debt of the cultivator households. Though the two surveys were covered as part of the subject programme of the 59th Round of the NSSO, the same concepts and definitions were not used in the two surveys. In this article, an attempt is made to highlight on

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