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Agrarian scenario in post-reform India: A Story of distress, despair and death

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  • Srijit Mishra

    () (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

Abstract

Indian agriculture today is under a large crisis. An average farmer household's returns from cultivation would be around one thousand rupees per month. The incomes are inadequate and the farmer is not in a position to address the multitude of risks: weather, credit, market and technology among others. Social responsibility of education, healthcare and marriage instead of being normal activities add to the burden. All these would even put the semi-medium farmer under a state of transient poverty. The state of the vast majority of small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers is worse off. An extreme form of response to this crisis is the increasing incidence of farmers' suicides. In such situations, employment programmes can provide some succour to the agricultural labourers and also perhaps to the marginal and small farmers. The least that one can expect from such programmes is rent-seeking. Some recent evidences indicate that one can develop institutions to address this. It is this that gives a glimmer of hope in the larger story of distress, despair and death. Incidentally, this paper provides some estimates from National Sample Survey (NSS) region wise information on returns to cultivation and on some aspects of farmers' indebtedness based on the 33rd schedule 59th round survey of 2003. It provides suicide mortality rate for farmers, non-farmers and age-adjusted population across states of India from 1995-2004.

Suggested Citation

  • Srijit Mishra, 2007. "Agrarian scenario in post-reform India: A Story of distress, despair and death," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2007-001, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:igiwpp:2007-001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Breman,Jan, 1996. "Footloose Labour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521568241, October.
    2. Srijit Mishra & Manoj Panda, 2005. "Growth and poverty in Maharashtra," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2006-001, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    3. Barrett, Christopher B. & Holden, Stein & Clay, Daniel C., 2002. "Can Food-for-Work Programmes Reduce Vulnerability?," WIDER Working Paper Series 024, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Breman,Jan, 1996. "Footloose Labour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521560832, October.
    5. Vamsi Vakulabharanam, 2005. "Growth and Distress in a South Indian Peasant Economy During the Era of Economic Liberalisation," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(6), pages 971-997.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kakarlapudi, Kiran Kumar, 2012. "Agricultural Growth Deceleration In India: An Enquiry Into Possible Explanations," Journal of Regional Development and Planning, JRDP, vol. 1(1), pages 25-40.
    2. Srijit Mishra, 2009. "Poverty and Agrarian Distress in Orissa," Development Economics Working Papers 22934, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    3. Kakarlapudi, Kiran Kumar, 2010. "Agricultural Growth Deceleration in India: A Review of Explanations," MPRA Paper 35865, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Jan 2012.
    4. Mishra, Srijit, 2008. "Risks, Farmers’ Suicides and Agrarian Crisis in India: Is There a Way Out?," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 63(1).
    5. Arora, Saurabh & Romijn, Henny, 2009. "Innovation for the base of the pyramid: Critical perspectives from development studies on heterogeneity and participation," MERIT Working Papers 036, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    6. Usha Sridhar & Sridhar Mandyam, 2010. "A Simulation Framework to Study Policy Formulation and Evaluation of Economic Viability and Sustainability of Small and Marginal Farmers," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 17(1), pages 27-62, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agrarian crisis; agricultural indebtedness; farmers' suicides; employment programmes; value of output in agriculture;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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