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Agricultural labourers and farmers in India
The Indian village life
Agricultural depends entirely on rainwater. Therefore, many times insufficient rainfall, no rainfall or even untimely rainfall destroys the crops. As a result, farmers are unable to pay off the loan. In fact, they have to take additional loans for their survival. Soon, the loan with added rate of interest becomes so huge that there is never enough money to settle the debt.
In Jejur, there are big landowners like Dev Kumar, small farmers like Shankar and labourers like Kusum. In India, every second rural family is either an agricultural labourer or a tenant. Nearly 80 per cent of farmers fall in this bracket. Barely 20 per cent are successful and well -off like Dev Kumar.
Big landowners are two types – absentee (those who reside in cities) and those who reside in villages. They either employ labourers on daily wages or give the land to a tenant. Since, they are rich and own large lands they can afford to use modern means of cultivation, such as hybrid seeds, tractors and thresher. Since they have plenty of resources, they often indulge in activities like running mills or shops to increase their income. At times, they even fulfil the role of the village moneylender and give loans at very high rates of interests to poor farmers.
Another category of farmers is the small landowners. They own such small pieces of land that it is barely sufficient to meet their day – to – day needs. Generally, the family members themselves work on land and during harvest season, several such families help each other. At times, they take loans to buy seeds, fertilisers or for personal purpose, which adds to their woes. They rear cows, goats, sheep and hen, and sell their milk, wool and eggs; besides working as labourers. In this way, they earn extra money.
Then, there are agricultural labourers who are poor as well as underpaid. During peak season, they provide services like tilling planting, weeding and harvesting; while in the lean season they work as load bearers, helpers or migrate to neighbouring towns. Their income is so little that that have to depend on loans at high rates of interest to fulfil even their basic needs. Maximum rural families, in India, fall in this category. This is also an important reason for the high rate of migration from rural urban areas.