Farming in India had been the major occupation until the 1970’s what made it take a back seat in the later days? What is the reason behind the suicides of the farmers? Why is the Government quiet on such an important issue, we know that the entire nation depends on them for the food grains and other agro- products why are we not having stronger policies in place to improve their condition?
After the Independence the villages were overlooked and the poor became poorer. While all the attention was paid to the growth and development of cities, villages were neglected not on papers though! In spite of multiple development programmes which were proposed by the government for the development of the villages the public servants including doctors and teachers hardly wanted to go for the village-postings because of the tough life, lack of infrastructure medical facilities, electricity, roads and lack of entertainment. This later resulted in high rate of migrations to cities. This heavy migration to urban India had an adverse affect on the growth of the villages further.
On one hand there is a modern India with High tech farming facilities and rich farmers, on the other the farmers are left with no options but to kill themselves. They are under heavy pressures and debts and families to take care of with very limited land and resources. The weather and climatic conditions are also to a great extent responsible. Sometimes heavy rainfall and sometimes no rains are responsible for crop failures and droughts further make the farmer’s life miserable.
Present concerns are :-
Lack of Facilities and Funds : most of the remote villages in India face a problem of connectivity due to poor infrastructure. No electricity leads to lack of modern means of agriculture to be used. Poverty is another cause, the farmers are under heavy debts under government schemes as well as they mostly exhaust all other options of acquiring funds and the crop failures and low yields leave them with no disposable funds.
Huge emigrations : Time and again crop failures and lack of support leads them to move out and look for jobs in the city even if it is just doing physical labour. Secondly in a hope to get their children a better future in terms of education and jobs the farmers send their children to the bigger cities and once away from their roots they settle in the cities with small jobs comparatively. Evacuation of villages is leading to drop in rural population and this is further leading to selling out of agricultural lands eventually reduction in agro-based production. This is reaching new highs with passing time and the agricultural land is also being converted to commercial and residential land in the outskirts of the towns. There is a sudden rise in demand of farm houses and the evacuated villages are the pastures that the builders are looking for. They buy huge pieces of land for a meager amount and it is also an indirect form of a forced migration for the villagers.
Another concern is the idea that “city life is better” : When asked in a random survey, 76 % people from villages wanted to lead a life like the city dwellers, the malls, the means to commute and the dream-like city life attracts them. They too want a life full of fun and frolics. The movies play an important role to shape up their idea about a city life.
Measures that can be taken by the policy makers :
Infrastructure : The village infrastructure should be improvised. Community living should be encouraged. More schools and colleges with better education facilities should be set up so that the migration rates are reduced in fact better education setup in the villages with modern facilities should be able to attract the urban students to the rural residential set ups too.
Facilities : Basic necessities like electricity and internet is still a distant dream leave aside the concrete and cement roads to reach, the villages need more concentration with regards to development and better amenities.
Commercial connectivity and improved business relations with government intervention: the farmers are often good craftsmen too the village crafts need a better promotion so that the financial status of the rural family is improved.
Farming as an occupation after retirement should be encouraged : it is observed that the elderly people even after their retirement from the government jobs and private sector are fit and active. They should be encouraged to take up farming and should be helped by the government and non-government organization for the displacement of their produce and raw materials. But, this will require a lot of changes in the basic village infrastructure in terms of medical facilities and lenient land acquisition norms for those who intent to switch to farming as an occupation. This will also require irrigation and farm equipment support.
Role of youth in empowering Villages :
- Self employed youth has the power to empower the rural india by turning to villages for their niche markets and creating Job opportunities. Vocational and Professional trainings can be imparted to the rural youth for their skill development and employment opportunities can be created within the villages itself.
- Setting up of Natural resource based power projects (Solar, Wind and Hydro) shall help generate electricity and meet the indigenous requirements.
- The rural youth can promote community living and focus more on group cultivation techniques and send thereby reducing the middlemen and overhead expenditure. This will not only help them find a market but also the end users will be benefited.
- Though it is easier said than done but somewhere it needs to start. The present government is youth and innovation supportive and also it is focused on the development of villages so, certainly the fresh ideas backed by a systematic and defined methodology with the help of a dedicated group would definitely be a change agent.
- The villages and the rural youth when mingle with the urban technology and ideas will certainly reap gold if they work hand in hand. All that is required is a will to grow with the support of all and taking pride in being called a farmer.
Image source : http://hrjtricks.blogspot.in/2012/10/india-enjoy-your-fup-unlimited-internet.html