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FARMER'S DISTRESS AND RURAL ACTIVISM IN INDIA, TRILOK SINGH

TRILOK SINGH, YOUTH DARPAN


“The future depends on what you do today", Mahatma Gandhi.
Above statement has resounding relevance in the context of today, characterized by the emergence of a society comprising of ordinary men and women armed with courage that has had the power to change systems. While mainstream media coverage has brought national attention to the condition of farmers in India. Indeed, Indian farmers are in agrarian distress or agrarian Crisis mode but our governments remained unchanged or unaffected with regard to farmer's demand. Recently, huge number of farmers from across India collectively gathered in the National Capital at Ramlila Maidan, On November 20, 2017. Further, they are protesting against the cost versus income imbalance recently being faced by our farmers, leading to suicides and indebtedness. But again i want to say that, "such kind of Protest and Strike is not an option because it is a loss of farmer not of Government but Government should take farmer and agriculture very seriously as they are the need of Country, Society at large"..
Around 184 farmer groups from across states such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, MP, UP, Punjab, and Telangana participated in the national capital protest walk with regard to ongoing demands of farmers...
While 'Rural Activism' is a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue. With the same light now we can find number of youth professionals those who supports the farmers issue at large scale and we may say that, this one also generates a regional aspirations in a rural society. ie., Santosh, The young entrepreneur who helps farmers with low-cost innovations. You may find more in a bottom paragraphs..
Prof. Yogendra Yadav said that, every year the farmers of our country face a dual crisis, one is that they do not get a good produce, and when they do, they do not get fair prices for it. So, we are here for reminding the Narendra Modi government of their pre-poll promises made to the farmers..
Also, in my Previous article, highlighted the recent reports of CAG, which observed huge gaps in the implementation of 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna' (PMFBY). While, PMFBY’s coverage has also increased due to the low premium the farmer pays, the problems lies in the fact that the assessment methods haven’t really changed. Further, Due to poor implementation of crop insurance scheme from the period 2011 to 2016, a huge sum was released to private insurers without proper verification of the beneficiaries... Result, Insurance companies earned huge profits due to low claims reported in relation to the premium charged...
Every 30 minutes, a farmer commits suicide in India — Aren’t we complicit in allowing this to continue? Official data shows that the debt burden of farmers is increasing.. AIKSCC.
Much, of course, remains to be done to extend the reach and improve functioning of the institutional credit system, especially cooperatives. The state has also the duty to give relief to surviving members of suicide-affected families. But we can say that, there is no warrant for the clamour for generalised debt relief by way of postponement of recoveries or waivers of interest, and even principal. The burden of debt is neither crushing nor of crisis-making proportions.
Read Also, The Latest Story of India’s Rural Transformation, Trilok Singh
However, the Government’s initiatives for empowering the farmers and improving the infrastructure at the village level have been narrowly successful in reducing Farmers Distress in India and it also becomes a critical base points for agriculture, education and health care indicators. As per the Economic Survey 2016-17, the subsidy on gold imports was almost Rs 10,800 crores. In fact the subsidy given on sleeper class tickets in Indian Railways was also Rs 9,002 crores. Subsidy given on cooking gas and kerosene for 2016-17 stood at Rs 15,412 crores While tt is true that the government provides subsidy to farmers for fertilizers but that benefit is not passed directly to them.
MSP for Rabi 2017-18, Download
Niti Aayog member, Ramesh Chand, has also said that farmers are being spoilt by politicians through their commitment to populism. 
FARMERS ACTIVISM OR RURAL ACTIVISM WITH THE MASSIVE SUPPORTS OF YOUTH
The young entrepreneur who helps farmers with low-cost innovations

Santosh Kaveri’s experience working on the farm led him to identify the common problems farmers faced, leading him to come up with low-cost innovations that have saved both time and money for the farmer. He was awarded the “Best Leader” Award by Ratan Tata in 2013.
Significantly, it was a promise of PM Shri Narendra Modi that his government implemented the Swaminathan Recommendations with the same regard.. In the recent Farmers Commission Report recommended that MSP should be the total cost of production plus 50%. Meanwhile, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee or AIKSCC has put forth two main demands to the Centre that, 50% profit margin over the cost of production and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations… A ‘kisan sansad’ also, comprising members from over 25 states, also appealed to PM SHRI Narendra Modi to end rural distress.
Before few year, a report published by the International Food Policy Research Institute, an agriculture policy think tank based in Washington DC, noted that there was an absence of data with regard to numbers on the actual share of farmers committing suicide, India..  The fastest growing States had formulated laws for amalgamation of farm holdings into viable units for investments, productivity and growth. While Indian farmers were always concerned about the availability of adequate credit at reasonable cost in a timely manners.. We know that poverty, hunger and human security as well as the cyber security is not new phenomenon to India neither in debt. We may say that, this has been a “Season of agrarian discontent or Post-Agrarian Distress in India”.
Indeed, farmers were suffering from losses in Agricultural Crops.. Even the farmer is a man who is excellent trader by intrinsic nature, so he just exercised what he thought as his best choice i.e to be dead is better than alive… It was in this backdrop that the Indian State implemented a series of welfare programs for the rural population. These included the Desert Development Program, the Drought Prone Area Development Program and the Watershed Development Program etc..
A young engineer who is helping farmers in remote villages
An electrical engineer from BITS Pilani, 25 year old Parth Gupta has created the concept of a cooperative society, selling produce at profitable retail markets, eliminating the need for middlemen. Run by the womenfolk of the villages, they are trained to manage the finances and marketing of this cooperative society..
Also, the drought in Tamil Nadu is seen to be one of the worst the state has seen in over 140 years. This has propelled a group of software professionals to come together to start a trust that aims at providing financial assistance to the families of farmers who have committed suicides. Accordingly, “India’s State policy focused on State Governments formulating and implementing Land Reforms legislation. These included the Land Ceiling Act, the Tenancy Act, the Land Revenue Act and broadly adopted the land to the tiller policy. Surplus arable government lands were distributed to the poor and needy peasants for livelihoods. These policies were envisaged to promote agricultural growth and alleviate rural poverty”. Added, on Quora, IAS V.Srinivas.
Read Also, POST AGRARIAN DISTRESS IN INDIA : UNPAYABLE DEBT

Source: AIKSCC POST.

Recently, a trending campaign on social media, banner, “Companiyon ko Chhoott, Kisanon ki Loot by AIKSCC”, it is a campaign to bring in front of the nation how farmers are getting looted through low prices. Photographs of individual farmers holding the attached poster when they are selling their Kharif crop at agricultural market yards/mandis. These photos will be circulated through social media and print media too, Added, AIKSCC on Web. After the spontaneous struggles led by young farmers in different states and the unconscionable firing and killing of '6 young farmers' in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh in June 2017, more than 170 farmers organisations across the country came together to form the 'All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee' (AIKSCC). This is the first ongoing effort in decades to bring together various farmers’ organisations into one platform for a commonly agreed programme. Farmers here include not just landowners but tenant farmers, sharecroppers, livestock rearers, women farmers, adivasi and dalit farmers and others.
In its existence of less than six months, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has revived and revitalised the farmers’ movement in India at the national level. It has created the largest ever coalition of farmers’ organisations in the country, cutting across states and agro-climatic regions. It has also bridged the divide between different classes of farmers and conflicting ideologies, to pave the way for a historic unity of the Indian farmers. It has begun a new phase of farmers’ activism that leverages information, uses new media, intervenes in policy debates and takes recourse of judicial activism, besides street mobilisation and ground struggle. Added, AIKSCC.
Nevertheless, there are two reasons to be concerned that Indian agriculture may indeed be facing a wider, deeper crisis: (1) The long term growth trend in production and productivity of agriculture, considerably less than required to sustain the projected high overall growth rates in the coming decade, may actually be slowing down; and (2) the growing economic and social disparities between agriculture and the rest of the economy and between rural and urban sectors.
The slowing down of agricultural growth is widely attributed to the slowing down of investment, especially public investment. The Planning Commission seems to share this perception and sees increased investments in irrigation and watershed development as the means to achieve the projected growth.

While, in India the rapid growth has been both “sustainable and inclusive” but it poses formidable challenge for existing rural panning in India in order to our agriculture and such other schemes. Recently, "the farmers protest in Delhi follows successive years of low crop prices during 2016 and 2017 when, following a normal monsoon and a bumper harvest, prices of crops like pulses, oil seeds and cotton plunged below government-set minimum support prices. Prior to that, in 2014 and 2015, farm incomes were hit by consecutive years of drought". Added, Sayantan Bera on livemint..

Way Forward

The Principles of Rural Development Programmes suggest that, Rural development strategies usually take the form of programmes which implement projects in a specific rural area. Such programmes form the basis of most government and non-government (i.e., NGOs or Civil Society) efforts to assist rural areas, and they include both agricultural and non-agricultural projects, e.g., maternal and child health programmes. Specialized staff supply the expertise required, and ministerial or other institutional budgets provide the necessary financial resources. External aid is also usually channelled into such programmes in the rural areas. In Short, Shifting public investment towards modernisation of surface irrigation works (to facilitate higher yield per unit of water used) and for watershed development, Enforcing better preventive and punitive measures to contain gross violations of rules governing access to and use of resources and Conducting a critical review of the research system in public institutions to make it more effective may becomes cycle zone with the same regard..
MFBY has been successful considering that the number of farmers covered has gone up by 1 crore and the amount insured nearly doubled. However, there is a need to employ latest technology to settle the claims of the farmers. Further, CAG reports has highlighted delays in processing claims. Use of drones, satellite imagery and water-loging stations could fast-track claim settlement process..
It does suggest a number of very broad principles which should be followed by rural development programmes. The content of these programmes is a matter for the specialists in the particular field.. It is important, however, for all such programmes to establish beforehand a set of principles to guide their activities. Now rural development is no longer a exercise which can be carried out merely by the government of the day in terms of infrastructure and tangible notion but at the same time it is a conceptualizations of human freedom that enable him/her to attain the highest possible goals through democratic means.. Rural extension work takes place within a process of development, and cannot be considered as an isolated activity. Extension programmes and projects and extension agents are part of the development of rural societies. Mr S S Sangra, retired Chief General Manager of NABARD text also suggest, It is, therefore, important to understand the term development, and to see how its interpretation can affect the course of rural extension work.. Also, Most of the suggestions made by various committees to improve functioning of rural credit system are in the nature of cautions and regulations on the supply side of credit. There is no denying that there are supply side problems. But there is also problem on the demand side of the credit. Generating demand for credit products and services need a suitable strategy at the bank/ NGO/ Developmental department level in the form of financial literacy & awareness creation among the client group on one hand and identifying worthy client on the other hand..
Note: If any corrections are required than please E-mail me at triloksingh@iasmind.com or ktrilok92@gmail.com.
Jai Hind.

WRITER IS WITH, MA, POLITICAL SCIENCE (2015-17), KIRORI MAL COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF DELHI. AND CEO AND FOUNDER OF IASMIND AND THE YOUTH DARPAN, AN OPEN PLATFORM FOR COMMUNITY. MAY READ ON MEDIUM

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