Farmer Suicides and Agrarian Distress

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FC PROJECT- SEM II FARMERS’ SUICIDES AND AGRARIAN DISTRESS 1988: “The peasants have started to flex the political muscles that their economic betterment has given them ... They have acquired the capacity to launch the kind of sustained struggle they have. It is going to be difficult to [...] contain them...because they command the vote banks in the countryside to which every party seeks access...A new specter of peasant power is likely to haunt India in coming years.” Editorial in Times of India, Feb 3 1988, following farmer agitations for higher prices and subsidies in Western Uttar Pradesh 2005: “Agriculture [in India today] is an economic residue that generously accommodates non-achievers resigned to a life of sad…show more content…
Although the reforms in the 90s with policies such as devaluation of currency were expected to benefit agriculture and improve its relative terms of trade (ToT), this has not really been sustained. The barter and income ToT became favourable to agriculture from 1984-85 until 1996-97, but thereafter they more or less stagnated Likewise, the Input-Output Price Parity (computed by comparing the index of prices paid for agricultural inputs with the index of prices received for the outputs, has since 1994-95 remained lower than one hundred, indicating declining profitability of agriculture (Government Of India, 2008). Erosion of real incomes of farmers: When the prices received by the farmers for their crops are compared with the prices they pay for consumer goods (i.e., Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour – CPIAL), it is observed that farmers are facing an erosion of real incomes because the growth in aggregate price index for consumer goods has been higher than the growth in price index for agricultural commodities (Govt. of AP 2007). This has resulted in declining relative living standards of farmers, particularly for small and marginal farmers whose incomes are clearly inadequate to meet consumption expenditure. Slowdown of exports: Exports flattened out after 1997 following the East Asian Crisis and the consequent large deceleration in growth of international trade in agriculture. Simultaneously, international

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