It's the biggest irony of the millennium. At a time when window shopping of apparels has become a sort of religion, it is the cotton farmers who are committing suicides in thousands.
• Agriculture be made profitable by providing a middle-man free market
• Scrap MSP & promote crop rotation.
• Restrictions on internal trade should be abolished.
• Crop insurance should be mandatory & soft loans promoted
• Reduce dependency on monsoon, promote sustainable irrigation & agricultural R&D
Cars can be bought comfortably at 9% interest while agriculture credit ranges between 13% and 16%! And at a time when investments in millions are being pumped in almost all the sectors of economy, agriculture is starved of any investments. Planning Commission states that in Vidharba alone almost 45% of farmers are out of access to credit (after Rs.854.1 million worth of loans that were reportedly disbursed to 49,000 farmers). Gross capital formation in agriculture remains at the pathetic 2% of GDP compounding the crisis further.
It is debatable if the economic reforms or the absence of it, that stands to be blamed for the malaise in agriculture. The result has been the plight of the majority of the population who are dependent on it. At best, agriculture has created disguised unemployment and at worst, it has brought death, misery and destitution for the dependents. Even free electricity, subsidised fertilizers and disproportionately high Minimum Support Price (that is heavily politicised for the large farmer lobby) and a massive credit outlay (which is nearly 18% of the total bank lending in India) have not been able to save Indian agriculture or those that are dependent on it.
For all, the crocodile tears that are religiously shed for the farming community in India, never ever an attempt has been made to crush the chain of middlemen who eat away nearly 70% of the price the end customer pay for farm products. Silently, the sector that employs the maximum of Indians; suffer. Subsistence farming hardly meets their yearly nutritional requirements and life as daily wagers after that pays them even lesser for keeping them alive.