India is at a very crucial phase of developmental process, treading a tightrope with a balancing act between growth and prosperity on one hand and social welfare on the other.
While we are at the threshold of a NEW India, marked with fast growing economy, global imprint and re evolution, the government must concurrently ensure that the citizens are insulated against the onslaught of social and economic upheavals. The government with time has come up with several social security schemes for extending and providing social protection to distressed sections of society, based on their specific needs and conditions.
India, even today is a agrarian economy with 58 percent of our population depending on agriculture for its livelihood and survival. What is the condition of our peasants after 60 years of independence?, Is another, matter of concern. With hundreds of farmer suicides happening, Our armer suicides happening, Our government needs to address this with better measures. The country has declined in its proportion of national income coming from the primary sector. The income from the farmer households has declined which implies there is a serious income insecurity issues among farmers in our country. This is imposing livelihood challenges for this section of society which is forcing inter and intra state migration from rural areas to urban areas in search of wage employment, diversion of agricultural land to non-agriculture purposes and farmer suicides.
To alleviate farmers from this distress, the government has initiated few schemes for social protection measures to improve the agriculture productivity besides securing rural livelihoods and infrastructure development in general.
The MAHATMA GANDHI EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE ACT (MGNREGA) has been a veritable platform providing social protection to rural populace in terms of livelihoods. This scheme aims at navigating the push factors behind migration and other land works in the rural areas. It is providing a catalyst for economic and social development. Reforms taken up with time in this scheme presently endeavor to resolve the issues and benefit the rural population including the farmers.
Small sizes of land creates diseconomies. Population growth together with poor industrial employment generation, creates pressure on land keeping per capita farm incomes low. Crop cultivation is therefore more remunerative in some parts of state owing to different climatic and demographic conditions.
So workforce mobility across sectors is a way to more household incomes and brings more skills and ideas to the sector. The income from non-agricultural sectors adds to the household incomes.
Indian agriculture is majorly dependent on monsoons, which is the most discussed peril of farming in India. Monsoon not only affects the current year crop but lack of rains or more of it affects subsequent yield too via water levels in reservoirs, rivers, canal, wells and soil.
Excess and untimely rains are a threat. Floods can be devastating. In 2016, the year when monsoon was normal, as many as 9 states faced floods. In Bihar rise of river levels displaced 5 lac people and affected crops over 3 hectares of cropland.
Price movements too cause vulnerability. Even in normal conditions, prices keep changing because markets and farmers have less means to hold back the stocks. In the year, 2016-17, due to the rise in supply of pulses or bumper harvest, the prices for the harvest went down despite a higher MSP. Global competition and market fluctuations are a nother reasons for the plight of the farmers.
Government can facilitate a market to operate efficiently but has limited control on prices and incomes in an open market. The state is the natural custodian of the farmer’s social security as much as people’s food security. In the coming years, agriculture is expected to grow as an enterprise, more integrated along with other sectors, so that the pressure on land for livelihood will be decreased. The state along with the private partners and third sector must endeavour to support the farmers to have a decent life like any other citizen of this nation.
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