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Death Traps and Debt Traps of Indian Farmers

November 19, 2011  by: Paulose  Points: 12   Category: World News    Views: 521

Deaths of Indian farmers, mostly suicidal deaths, are steadily on the increase during the past few years. It is an alarming fact that globalization and liberalization of importing policies have caused debt traps which are ending in suicidal deaths.


Unbearable burdens of debts are strangling the Indian farmers. Every year the number of farmers who end their lives in suicide is alarmingly increasing. The temporary relief measures of the government, such as the recent loan waiver scheme, are still unable to protect the farmers and solve the agrarian crisis. They tackle only the symptoms and not the root causes making the problems still worse.

Pre-globalization scenario

Globalization policies followed by the government after 1990s have adversely affected the Indian agriculture. The most prominent manifestation is the drastic decline the growth rate of food grains. It was steadily growing at a minimum rate of four percent per annum. The country became self-sufficient in food and even exporting wheat and rice.

Globalization has come as a death blow to the farmers

During the past 10-year period after the liberalization, agriculture has begun to decrease steadily.

1) The rate of food growth after this liberalization declined to two per cent and some times even less. According to the Appraisal of Tenth Five Year Plan, the rate of growth of GDP in agriculture was just one percent per annum.

2) As a result, per capita availability of food grains decreased. India started to import food grains at a higher price than the domestic market.

3) Unemployment and starvation began to hunt the poor farmers and others who are dependent on agriculture. The fall in agricultural products through import also caused increase in this unemployment problem.

4) Agriculture became non-profitable because of these policies and due to the fall in farm products many lost employment. The number of people who were employed in primary sectors of agriculture decreased.

5) This unemployment forced the agricultural laborers to seek urban areas in search of odd jobs. This has hit the national economy in so many ways.

6) In order to survive these poor farmers have to go for loans and other means which enslave them in further entanglements. Without any source of income how can they repay the loan amounts? They lose their hope completely. They become very desperate and have to run to the end of their life.

7) The government tried to solve the debts of the farmers through the loan waiver schemes. But in reality they became dangerous debt traps for them as they tackled only the symptoms and not the root causes of the problems.

8) Suicide of farmers is the result stagnation in agriculture. Suicide has become the only resort of the farmers. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 17060 farmers committed suicide in the country in the financial year alone. Recent loan waiver schemes of the government have made the situation still worse.

India with a population of 1.2 billion people has been a country dependent on agriculture. The recent policies of globalization and liberalization have affected their lives very much. The government as well as the social organizations has to work collectively and protect agriculture and the farmers of this country.



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