1. Agriculture has become less and less profitable over the last two decades. It was a ‘no loss-no gain’ kind of activity for the most part of independent India’s history. Tragically, now it has become a loss making and some times life threatening “LIVELIHOOD”!
2. The rural co-operative banks, which started in a big way during the chemically enriched first green revolution, have plunged into chaos. They did not have a system in place. Unfortunately, the nationalized banks, which did an appreciable job of giving farm loans at a low interest rate, failed to recover them not only because the crops failed but also because the credit lending policy was not structured.
3. It is sadly true that a majority of Indian farmers do not understand the limitations of their soil. They always choose to have single, water intensive crops consecutively for two times in a year. They do not allow their soils to regain fertility. They have stopped using organic manure. They have dug bore-wells where they cannot find water even at abysmal depths.
Yes, they were desperate. However, desperation should not have led them to measures that could potentially take their lives.
4. All the states had issued farm loans at low interests and almost all the states had a farm loan waiver scheme as well. A bad example was set for those farmers, who had sincerely paid back the interests and loans. The governments did not want to address the factors causing failure in repayment of farm loans. It is true that thousands of crores of rupees have been spent on farmer welfare. Sadly, a negligible part of it has materialized.
What is so new in what I am trying to say here? [See the graphs]
All over India, ground water levels are falling at an alarming rate (Bangalore’s case may not be a real representative of the situation. However, it is more than emphatic and serves the purpose).
Central and State Governments, Scientists, and Civil Societies have to come together to address these “Ground” realities.
I am working on possible solutions and strategies. Wish me luck!!