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

AgricultureSubscribe to Agriculture

Farmer Suicides in India, 1997–2013

A critical examination of the official data on farmer suicides reveals a poor understanding of the issue. Yet, it also reveals that farmers’ suicides, on average, account for 14% of the total suicides in the country. It peaked at 16% in 2004, consequently falling to 9% in 2013. It is a region-specific issue and those states with high farmer suicides have persistently remained so. The underlying causes of farmer suicides and non-farmer suicides may be similar across states on account of a high correlation between their corresponding numbers, suggesting that the causes of suicides may include factors other than economic and livelihood issues.

Farmers’ Politics in West Bengal

After the end of 34 years of the Left Front rule, West Bengal has seen a renewed emphasis on agriculture. A decade-long ethnographic study conducted during and after the political transition unravels the reasons why such emphasis fails to benefit the small and marginal farmers, at places where...

Agrarian Crisis and Agricultural Labourer Suicides in Punjab

Punjab’s economy is engulfed in a serious agrarian crisis. The capitalisation of agricultural production processes has squeezed employment opportunities and wage rates in the farm sector. The agrarian crisis in the state has pushed the agricultural labourers towards low earnings and debt traps, which have led them towards death by suicide. Based on a door-to-door and village-to-village survey of 2,400 villages falling in the jurisdiction of six districts of Punjab, the present study reveals that 7,303 agricultural labourers died by suicide in the state during 2000–18. The financial compensation, debt waiver, provision of healthcare and education of victim families along with safeguarding of legal entitlements regarding wage enhancements and land rights, and agro-industrialisation are main policy measures for addressing the act of suicide by agricultural labourers.

Green, but Not So Green

The pandemic, the climate crisis, and crisis in agriculture call for sustainable solutions, which are acknowledged by NITI Aayog, but did not find a thrust in the budget. A positive growth in agriculture during the pandemic shows its resilience, but it is intriguing that food inflation remained high and its possible link with the three farm produce laws should not be overlooked. It is worrying that crop loans for input-intensive production are non-serviceable.

A Budget amidst a Deepening Crisis

Budget 2021–22 has been presented in the context of a sharp slowdown in an economy battered by a severe contraction due to the lockdown. The pandemic has only contributed to the worsening of the humanitarian crisis, as is evident from data on hunger, malnutrition and employment. This budget provided a historic opportunity to use fiscal resources to provide a vision for economic recovery, and also to create enabling infrastructure and provide resources for improving the lives of people suffering from the twin shocks of slowdown and the pandemic. Despite the urgent need to invest in the social sector, the failure of the budget to allocate resources will be detrimental to the progress made in the last two decades.

Farm Size and Productivity Debate in Indian Agriculture

This paper shows the statistical validity of the farm size and crop productivity relationship after five decades of the advent of the green revolution. The results indicate that the inverse effect of farm size on productivity is visible at an aggregate level, but the relationship varies across...

Punjab Agriculture

Punjab’s economy, including its agriculture, has been in crisis for some time on various fronts. But the pandemic provided an opportunity to the state government to set up an expert committee to suggest measures for rolling out a medium- and long-term strategy for the revival of the state economy. This article provides critical commentary on the various recommendations of the committee to deal with the agrarian crisis and presents an alternative perspective.

Restoring Employment and Rural Landscapes

The national lockdown unleashed an unprecedented economic crisis on millions of poor urban migrants who lost their employment and were forced to “reverse-migrate” to their homes on foot over vast distances. However, the rural areas—from where they originated—were already reeling under severe and rapid economic and ecological degradation and were ill-equipped to deal with this sudden increase in the demand for livelihood opportunities. In this paper, we demonstrate the potential of “ecological restoration” of primarily rural landscapes in India to generate rapid and high-volume employment along with other co-benefits.

Droughts, Heatwaves and Agricultural Adaptation

Extreme events as floods, droughts and heat waves ensue from climate change. There has been an increase in the frequency and intensity of such events in the past two decades. Some of the recent events have caused substantial damage to agricultural crops and loss to human lives. The recurrence of such events is a threat to social welfare, economy and humanity as a whole. Adaptation to climate change is the key and the way forward. It is observed that agriculture has historically adapted to shocks and extreme events. Agricultural adaptation and resiliency to extreme events over the last three and a half decades is gauged using secondary data.

Swidden Farming among the Yimchunger Nagas

The Politics of Swidden Farming: Environment and Development in Eastern India by Debojyoti Das, London and New York: Anthem Press, 2018; pp 272, £70 (Hardback).

Peasants and Their Interlocutors

Culture, Vernacular Politics, and the Peasants: India, 1889–1950: An edited translation of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati’s Mera Jivan Sangharsh (My Life Struggle), Walter Hauser, Kailash Chandra Jha (translated and ed), New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2015; pp xliv + 708, ₹ 2,295. My Life Struggle: A Translation of Swami Sahjanand Saraswati’s Mera Jivan Sangharsh, Walter Hauser and Kailash Chandra Jha (translator and ed), Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2018; pp 434, ₹ 995. The Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha 1929–1942: A Study of an Indian Peasant Movement , Walter Hauser (Foreword by William Pinch), Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2019; pp 265, ₹ 1,495.

Goal Setting for Indian Agriculture

Though the 16-point action plan for agriculture laid down in the 2020 Union Budget continues prioritising subsidies and safety nets over agricultural investments, it does not make any fundamental improvements in the allocations towards these heads.

Pages

Back to Top