Skip to main content

A farmer family, on an average, earns Rs 6,426 per month; income attributable from farming is only Rs 3,078

This is the fifth article in the series “One Can Not Keep Mum Now!” sponsored by the non-political organization, Save Democracy Movement, and prepared by former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Gujarat) general secretary Gautam Thaker, environmental expert Mahesh Pandya, and economists Prof Rohit Shukla and Prof Hemantkumar Shah:
***
The condition of farmers and agriculture in Gujarat is bad, even though tall talks of development are being recited. Farmers do not get viable price of their produce, and they are sinking into debts because of ever-increasing cost of the essential inputs for farming year after year. In Gujarat, there are 52 lakh farmers and 68 lakh agricultural labourers. Thus, 1.20 crore people are directly associated in farm activities. As per a simple calculation, the source of livelihood of approximately 3.60 crore people of Gujarat is derived from agricultural activities. This represents about 55% of the total population of the state.
Moreover, there are those working in storage/ preservation, transportation, marketing etc. of agricultural produce. They are another 10%. Further, another 10% people are associated in manufacture of fertilizers, insecticides, packaging bags, transportation and distribution. If we add to it ancillary occupations such as dairy and animal husbandry sectors, then this ratio will exceed 70% of the total population of the state.

Economically viable price of agricultural produce is not being realized:

In Gujarat, the farmers do not get viable price for their agricultural produce and the government is hardly worried about it. This year, the support price of groundnut was fixed, but it is not purchased at the fixed rate. On the other hand, the price of cotton, which was hovering around Rs 1,500 five ago, has now reduced to Rs 800 this year.
Although the production cost in farming is increasing, farmers do not get sustainable or reasonable realization and hence they are sinking into debt. The price of fertilizers, seeds and insecticides/ pesticides has risen exorbitantly because the government has reduced subsidies.
One farmer family, on an average, earns Rs 6,426 per month, and the income attributable from farming is only Rs. 3,078. The remaining income is earned from animal husbandry and salary from sundry labour and miscellaneous tasks. Thus, agriculture has not remained a main source of income.
Because of negligible realization from agricultural produce, farmers have been compelled to throw away their produce on public roads. Recently, farmers of Surat and Deesa threw their vegetable and grain produce on public roads.

Difficulties in obtaining power connection:

It is a fact that farmers in Gujarat are facing severe difficulties in getting the power connection. In 2017, some three lakh farmers are yet to get power connection. Looking at the pace of providing power connection, the remaining farmers will not get it even in coming five years.

Suicides committed by farmers sunk into heavy debts:

Farmers become debtors, and if they cannot bear debts, they commit suicide. In Gujarat, during the last 17 years, 10,000 farmers have committed suicide. Only during a span of three years, i.e. 2013-15, as many as 1,483 farmers committed suicides in Gujarat. If the party that came to power in 2014 had implemented the promises made by it, these suicides could have been avoided. During 2003-07, 483 farmers committed suicide, and during 2003-12, as many as 4,874 farmers committed suicide. The government is not providing assistance/ succour to dependent family members of the farmers who committed suicide.
On the other hand, it is a fact that farmers do not get loans at cheap rates. The Government of Gujarat made the announcement in the budget for the year 2017-18 to offer loans at 1%, to the farmers. For that, it has made provision for Rs 500 crore and has stated that 14 lakh farmers would benefit. It means that one farmer would get loan of just Rs 3,571 only. One really doubts the intention on the part of the Government.

No compensation is offered in the cases of accidents:

In spite of promulgating it for three times, the Modi Government could not amend the land acquisition Act. The Gujarat Government made amendments in the Land Acquisition Act overnight on the same line on which the Modi Government wanted to enact for the country. By making these amendments, the Gujarat Government has made a conspiracy to snatch the lands of the farmers at a very cheap rate. Arrangements have been made to take away farmers lands without their consent. In the year 2009, by passing the Act on SIR (Special Investment Region), the Government conspired to hand over farmers lands to industrialists at throw away prices.
Moreover, a new law was enacted on irrigation by the BJP Government in Gujarat which is aimed to ruin farming. If this Act is stringently implemented then farmers will be compelled to cease to do farming and will be forced to sell off their lands. Under this Act, farmers have been reduced to the stature of slaves of irrigation department officers. This Act reminds us of the British Govenment in pre-independence times which had enslaved us.

Cheating by the Government in Crop Insurance:

Farmers do not get money of crop insurance. The Modi Government has started the scheme under the new name of Fasal Vima Yojana (Crop Insurance Scheme) in place of the earlier/ old scheme. But farmers of Gujarat will not get benefits up to 100% of the losses suffered by them. In the year 2016, during the Kharif season, insurance under this scheme was taken for Rs 3.66 crore out of a total of 11 crore farmers in the country. Gujarat ranked 10th in the country as a whole in 2016, whn the amount of Rs 1795 crore was paid towards crop insurance. Assuring that 10 lakh out of 52 lakh farmers in Gujarat got the benefit of crop insurance; it works out to be Rs 17,950 per farmer. On the other hand, due to crop failure, farmers have to suffer very heavy losses. The Gujarat Government is cheating farmers this way.
In the Centres budget for last year, it was stated that in the coming five years, income of farmers would double. In this direction, the Govenment has not initiated any even step. The Government has not done anything at all in the direction of giving 50% compensation on the production cost for agriculture, which was suggested by the Swaminathan Committee.
During the war in the year 1965, the late Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri had coined the slogan of Jay Javan Jay Kishan. But this Govenment is neglecting or avoiding the interests of farming community.
This is a suicidal step. Increasing population of the country could have been supported or subsisted on the basis of Green Revolution and White Revolution. Due to the present Government's anti-farmer steps or policy, Toor Dal was being sold at Rs. 200 per kilo. Vegetables like onion, potatoes and tomatoes also touched the price level of Rs 80 to Rs 100 per kilo. Due to this, 45% of children and many more women in the state are suffering from lack of nutrition. For the future generation of Gujarat, clouds of disappointment and distress have started to spread out in all sides.

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.