Even though no one enjoys hearing bleak stories, the troublesome phase(extended phase, actually) that the Indian farmer goes through is one we ought to take heed of, not least because it affects the food-security of all of us in the country. If importing food is the way out, we can be sure that it will come at a higher cost-making what’s ‘enough money’ a sort of joke in the near future. With expenditure insanely high as it is, that’s not something which is bound to improve the quality of any of our lives, as it is for the farmer.
Here are 9 reasons why the crisis is about to hit a higher-note in India.
1. Scissors Crisis
‘Scissors Crisis’ is the term given to a situation(inspired by the crisis of similar nature in 1920s Soviet union) that farmers in every part of rural India is facing-the rising input costs without a respective increase in the output price.
2. Falling oil prices not helping the farmers
By all logic, the fall in international crude oil prices should have benefited the farmers. Unfortunately, the benefits are ‘absorbed’ by the government which has used the opportunity to increase sales taxes and excise duties.
3. Bringing down fertilizer subsidies
The fertilizer subsidies are planned to be brought down. This will have a far-reaching impact as the farmers would be forced to use lesser-quality fertilizers that would affect the soil adversely in the not-too-long run.
4. Reduced public spending on agriculture
In real terms, the public spending to facilitate agricultural development has already fallen and is set to slide more in the coming year.
5. Irrigation in crisis
The amount of money spent on irrigation projects has already been reduced.
6. Reduced government spending on health
Since many rural farmers rely on government services for health-related facilities, the government bringing down its spending on health would badly affect them on the financial front. Keep in mind the fact that many government-run health facilities are already running like illness-afflicted institutions themselves.
7. The Employment Guarantee Scheme running dry
The Employment Guarantee Scheme implemented by the UPA government has already been squeezed a lot that it doesn’t have much to offer in the future that can incite confidence in the farmer. About 40 percent of the farmers who have already joined the programme did so in order to supplement their meagre incomes from the farmland.
8. The shifting of responsibility to the State governments
The Central government is more or less considering the plight of the Indian Farmer as an issue to be solved by the State governments, effectively putting the onus on the states. This is hardly a positive scenario given that the State governments are already cash-starved owing to the fact that the Central social spending is reduced.
9. A bleak budget in 2015 for agriculture
The Budget 2015 has far from done much to alleviate the problem facing the Indian farmers and thereby the community at large. In the budget, the total outlay for agriculture has been reduced to Rs. 28, 050 crore from Rs. 31, 322 crore in 2014-2015. As for animal husbandry, the budget cut down the allocation to Rs. 330 crore from Rs. 599 crore. Major and medium irrigation take the plunge from Rs. 1,121 crore to Rs. 572 crore whereas for minor irrigation, the drop is from Rs. 468 crore to Rs. 306 crore.
The thing is, even if we manage to convince ourselves that all our ‘human past’ was just an elaborate fiction and the mecha-electronic present will also be the wave of the future, we are still left with the task of fulfilling the very human need to eat(Sigh!). Which brings us to this peculiar predicament-even as India is surging economically, giving many a developed country’s presiding deities(or rulers) nightmares, the most crucial segment for both economic growth and self-sufficiency is being overlooked. The stories of farmer suicides due to indebtedness have become so commonplace we are beginning to get desensitized to them- a dangerous sign in a country where the farmer’s nightmares prevail and is even taking a turn for the worse. There’s nothing ‘intellectual’ or ‘elitist’ to be discussing about this in the open and pushing for positive actions. For the rule is simple-you protect agriculture, you protect your own life.
Cover Image Source – businessinsider.com.au
Also see: Worst Scams And Scandals Involving The Nehru Family
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