Every now and then, India is facing spontaneous eruptions of farmers agitations in recent times. While throwing light upon various plights of the farmers, suggest policy measures.

Published: July 21, 2017

Farmers in India have been at the receiving end of the superfluous welfare schemes and misplaced governmental policies which have been largely ineffective to bring an end to their miseries.
Primary irritants:

  • The gradual depletion of soil quality due to indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides along with hybrid varieties of seeds which were introduced by Green Revolution led to an introduction of newer pests and thereby more pesticides of higher potency. These increased the production costs, depleted the crop quality and killed soil bacteria. Further chemical fertilisers were focused on the addition of only nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous with a complete absence of micronutrients which are essential for soil health.
  • Incorrect irrigation practices from large dams and other huge irrigation projects gave rise to waterlogging and converted a huge portion of land to a wasteland. There was also increase in the unchecked use of tube-wells which led to depletion of the water table and triggered deeper tube-wells thus increasing the input costs.
  • The problem further compounded due to climate change which has given rise to repeated droughts and floods. This has forced a change of entire agricultural practices and heavy loss of crops every year.
  • The Minimum Support Price has been only fixed for wheat and rice. Also, it is just enough to meet the costs incurred and no room for labour. Swaminathan Committee recommendation to extend MSP to other crops has not been implemented. Further, the compensation for loss of crops is not timely awarded.

Possible solutions:

  • A paradigm shift in the agriculture policy can alleviate the troubles of farmers who have been heavily indebted due to rising farm costs which force them to borrow money and lead to vicious debt traps.
  • Organic farming, rainwater harvesting, micro-water irrigation practices and a shift from chemical to organic fertilisers can help in restoring soil health and crop yield.
  • Implementation of recommendations of Swaminathan Committee.

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