Farmers in India – Part 1

The agricultural sector in India has experienced several uprisings and constant turmoil because of the lack of support for farmers and agricultural labourers. While the Champaran Satyagraha of 1917 led by Mahatma Gandhi which aimed at creating awareness among the peasants and help them stand up against European planters was seen as a national movement, many farmer protests today are gently brushed aside as unimportant.

Farmers have already marched in protest towards the capital four times this year, and even now their expectations are far from being met. In the latest farmer protest held on November 30 (Friday), the opposition supported the farmers.

So why do the farmers who till the ground, provide for the country and contribute towards the biggest chunk of our economy , have to constantly protest and march to the capital in order to make themselves heard? Why is it that in all our technological advancements, we are yet to provide a solution to our farmers? Why is it that thousands of crores of rupees are being spent on building statues while many remote areas are still waiting for infrastructural development?

These are questions that require serious thought. In this week, we will cover the problems of farmers and the ways in which a difference can be made.

The first thing that we would like to discuss is whether the accessibility and availability of government schemes and plans is as effective as it is made to look. State and central governments always talk about the several plans that they have launched for the farmers and for rural India. But our interactions with farmer families have shown that these schemes are not as reachable as they may sound.

For more than six months we have been supporting a group of families living on the streets of Kharghar who are originally from a farming village on the border of Maharashtra and Telangana. They mention that they are unable to sustain themselves in the village because of the failing rains, the lack of schools for their children and the unavailability of other forms of employment in the village. They have now settled in small shacks on the roadside and beg for a living. While schooling is not considered important, the people are aware that they will be able to provide for the families by doing odd jobs or by working as maids or construction workers in and around the place they live.

If the government succeeded in providing them with stability and a proper source of income in their own village then they would not have to live as displaced, homeless migrants on the streets on Mumbai.

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