Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
FILE - Farmer sifts wheat crop at a farm on the outskirts of western Indian city of Ahmedabad. VOA

Vimla Yadav, a farmer from India’s Haryana state, says agriculture costs, such as fertilizers and seeds, have soared, yet produce prices have plunged, leaving her family of 10 with virtually no profit from their four-acre farm. “We don’t even get the fruits of the labor that the entire family puts in on the farm, although we slog day and night,” she laments.

Yadav is one of the tens of thousands of angry farmers from around the country who poured into the Indian capital recently, demanding a special session of parliament to discuss their demands: better prices for farm produce and a waiver by the government from repaying loans taken from banks.


The protest highlighted the deepening distress among the population in the countryside, where there is growing concern about diminishing agricultural profits because many are being driven into debt.

In a country where half the population of 1.3 billion depends on agriculture, low farm profits have long been a challenge and prompted promises by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to double rural incomes by 2022. But the growing disenchantment among the farming community could pose a challenge to Modi as he seeks re-election next year.


Police try to stop farmers during a protest demanding a better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

According to the government, the average income of a farmer is about $100 a month. But many make less, said Yogendra Yadav, one of the main leaders of the protest and founder of the farmers group Jai Kisan Andolan. The Yadavs are not related.

“For a majority of them, the income is probably less than $50 a month. That is the level at which they survive. And one of the principal reasons for that is that they don’t get enough price for their crops,” Yogendra Yadav said.

Low prices for crops are not the only problem: increasingly erratic weather patterns pose a new challenge in a country where nearly half the farmers lack access to irrigation.

In eastern Orissa state, for example, back-to-back droughts over the past two years have brought widespread distress.

“There has been very little rain this year,” said Lakhyapati Sahu, a farmer who traveled from Orissa, one of India’s poorer states. “We face a massive problem due to successive droughts.”

According to various studies, nearly half of Indian farmers have said they want to quit working on the land but cannot do so because of a lack of alternate livelihoods.


Police use water cannons to disperse farmers during a protest demanding better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

Despite the challenge of finding work, Parul Haldar, a farmer from West Bengal, said she wants to migrate with her entire family to the city. “I will give up farming and go to Kolkata and look for work to make a living. There is no money to be earned from the farm,” she added.

Although the rural crisis has been festering for many years, economists partly blame the deepening crisis on a sweeping currency ban that led to widespread cash shortages two years ago and affected their incomes.

“Many farmers lost working capital, they had to borrow money from the banks or from the local moneylenders at high interest rates, so their costs went up,” economist Arun Kumar said. “So if costs go up and revenue comes down, then income gets squeezed.”

Protests by farmers have intensified in the past two years as they try to draw attention to the usually forgotten countryside — their recent march was their fourth and largest to Delhi so far this year. They have also held marches in other cities like Kolkata and Mumbai. In June, farmers in several parts of the country threw their produce on the streets to highlight low prices. And last year, farmers from southern India protested in New Delhi with skulls to draw attention to suicides by farmers.


The Farmer Portal provides all the relevant information and services to the farming community and private sector. Wikimedia Commons

“Farmers are saying enough is enough, now something needs to be done,” Yogendra Yadav said. “Both the economic and ecological crisis is leading to an existential crisis, farmers are committing suicide, they are quitting farming.”

Also Read: Millions Of Urban Children in Worse Condition Than Rural People: UNICEF

Political analysts also said the growing rural anger could erode support for Prime Minister Modi in the countryside ahead of next year’s scheduled elections. Farmers make up an important voting bloc.

“Opposition to Modi is growing. Unless you have rural support, no party can win on [the] basis of urban support only,” said Satish Misra, of the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. “The distress is real. The agriculture issue needs to be addressed in a very focused manner.” (VOA)


Popular

IANS

The co-living sector is set to rise rapidly and witness a whole new set of innovations.

By IANSlife

As house prices and social isolation continue to rise, co-living is the latest buzzword among millennials as it provides them with a desirable house at affordable costs, while providing a much needed communal living experience during such unprecedented times.

With the world embracing a hybrid work and study style, a lot of millennials will look to relocate to their base city but will require better living spaces to ensure that WFH runs smoothly as well. As the world adjusts to a new normal, and with a millennial population of over 440 million in the country, the co-living sector is set to rise rapidly and witness a whole new set of innovations.

Isthara Co-Living shares 5 trends that are set to redefine the co-living space in the coming year:


Enahnced safety and hygiene protocols:

Safety standards have become the biggest selling point for co-living spaces and they are expected to move beyond the standard safety protocols and enhance their hygiene quotient in a big way to build on the momentum. Apart from the standard hygiene protocols, new possible safety measures include safe cleaning and hygiene standards, thermal sensors, which will notify people in case someone is running a temperature, regular fumigations, CCTV cameras in public spaces to ensure social distancing is followed, or facilities like self-cleaning buttons in elevators.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash

"Subscriptions are for creators," Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in a video posted on Twitter.

Meta-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram has started testing subscriptions, a new feature allowing creators to offer paid followers access to exclusive content. Currently, only 10 US creators have gained access to the new feature, including basketball player Sedona Prince, model Kelsey Cook, actor-influencer Alan Chikin Chow, Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles and digital creator Lonnie IIV.

"Subscriptions are for creators," Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in a video posted on Twitter. "Creators do what they do to make a living and it's important that it is predictable." Followers will pay a monthly fee to access subscriber-only content from creators they follow. Subscription pricing ranges from $0.99 per month to $99.99 per month.

person holding black android smartphone Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. | Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
IANS

The Perroayuda Welfare Foundation (PWF), recently held a Mega Stray Feeding Drive in Lajpat Nagar with the goal of feeding all of the area's stray animals.

By IANSlife

Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. Many strays lose this battle trying to find food and warmth under a scrap of clothing or caged up in the corner of streets. The Perroayuda Welfare Foundation (PWF), a Delhi-based animal welfare organisation, recently held a Mega Stray Feeding Drive in Lajpat Nagar with the goal of feeding all of the area's stray animals. These wonderful Samaritans come from all around Delhi-NCR with one goal in mind: to rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need.

woman holding a dog Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. | Af.Mil

Keep reading... Show less