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

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Agrarian Distress: Beyond Cropping Pattern and Credit

Pointing out some analytical and factual limitations in Ajay Dandekar and Sreedeep Bhattacharya’s paper (EPW, 27 May 2017), important aspects of agrarian distress are discussed.

I read Ajay Dandekar and Sreedeep Bhattacharya’s paper “Lives in Debt: Narratives of Agrarian Distress and Farmer Suicides” (EPW, 27 May 2017) with interest as it deals with a topical and serious issue. The paper is welcome as it comes after a long gap in the sequence of studies that have been conducted on the issue (Singh and Toor 2005; Gill 2005; Jodhka 2006; Gill and Singh 2006; Satish 2006) and adds to the more recent studies on the subject (Singh 2009; Sidhu and Jaijee 2011; Sidhu et al 2011; Singh et al 2014; Singh et al 2016).

The paper is also refreshing in two ways: (i) it compares the two hotspots of farmers’ suicides from two different states with very different agrarian and agroclimatic conditions and goes into the causes of distress and suicides from a policy angle; and (ii) it integrates secondary data-based analysis and domain issues with primary data-based analysis and insights from the field. Additionally, it also highlights the issue of farmers not getting the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops. This is a real issue, as just the announcement of an MSP does not ensure that farmers would benefit from it. Unless the MSP is backed by effective procurement by state agencies, it has little meaning. Also, the inadequacy of formal sector lending for farming is highlighted correctly despite policy claims of doubling of credit.

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Updated On : 7th Jul, 2017
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