Skip to main content

Gujarat govt farm projects show bias against small, marginal, landless farmers

By Rajiv Shah 
A recent study on ascertaining the impact of watershed development project (WDP) and Krishi Mahotsav, the two important programmes by the Gujarat government to improve agricultural practices, suggest that they have benefited the rich farmers more than the marginal and poor farmers. The WDP is a flagship policy initiative for development of groundwater resources, especially in drought- and desert-prone districts in the state – has suggested that benefits of WDPs were confined mainly to landed households, despite a clear emphasis to include the landless as project beneficiaries. “Among the landed households, those with medium and large landholdings had a larger proportion of beneficiaries as compared to marginal and small farmers within a village”, the study, based on a sample of 6,458 beneficiaries, said.
Part of the chapter “High Growth Agriculture in Gujarat: An Enquiry into Inclusiveness and Sustainability”, by Amita Shah and Itishree Pattnaik, in the just-released book, “Growth or Development: Which Way is Gujarat Going”, the study says that the sample itself suggests Gujarat government bias towards the landed, as there were only two categories of beneficiaries – marginal and small farmers, and medium and large. The two categories accounted for 55 and 45 per cent of the total sample respectively. “This suggests some kind of bias towards relatively larger farmers to obtain benefits from the project—a phenomenon already observed in a number of studies pertaining to WDPs in Gujarat”, the study says. The survey was carried out in seven districts – Mehsana, Rajkot, Kutch, Patan, Panchmals, Valsad and Amreli.
The survey finds that “about 57 and 18 per cent of the beneficiary households reported having access to irrigation through wells and bore wells respectively. Access to these sources was found to be clearly tilted in favour of medium–large farmers; about 75 and 28 per cent of the medium-large farmers reported access to wells and bore wells respectively as compared to 42 and 11 per cent among the marginal-small farmers. While beneficiary farmers reported a substantial increase in crop yield, average net returns per hectare varied significantly across the seven districts covered by the survey, suggesting inter-regional variations.
The scholars say, “Irrigated area among the sample farmers increased by 461 ha during the study period. This works out to be about 0.32 ha per household having reported access to irrigation.” There was also “a massive expansion of wells (about 5,000) and bore/tube wells (about 2,620) since the beginning of 2000”. But this expansion of the irrigated area was “without corresponding improvement in water use efficiency”, which is likely to lead to unsustainable use of groundwater, often through competing extraction of water by farmers in the study villages.” The scholars suggest, only water intensive crops gained. “Cotton was found to be the most important crop accounting for about 42–43 per cent of the total cropped area during the kharif season for all the seven districts taken together. Similarly, wheat occupied between 89 and 96 per cent of the rabi area. The proportion has changed only marginally over the project period. Both the leading crops are water intensive, and grown in areas that are otherwise drought and desert prone as confirmed by the very selection of the village/micro watersheds to be covered under the project intervention.”
An effort was made by the authors to ascertain if the beneficiary farmers had adequate intake of some basic food items. “To our surprise about 32 and 23 per cent of the marginal-small and medium-large farmers respectively had reported in-sufficient intake of cereals. The insufficiency in milk was found to be in the range of 20-34 per cent and that in the case of pulses fruits and vegetables was found to be quite substantial, i.e. in the range of 60-80 per cent. Overall, the select evidence presented here suggest that whereas the project has brought significant benefits in terms of land productivity and income from crop cultivation, the benefits seem to have spread rather unevenly among farmers and districts with in the state”, the scholars say.

Krishi Mahotsav

The scholars found a similar picture emerging in their survey of the Krishi Mahotsav (KM), one of the most important initiatives by the Government of Gujarat to bridge the huge gap in extension services that has existed over a long period of time. Apart from good rainfall and groundwater development, accompanied by power sector reforms in the state, the KM programme, with almost universal outreach (covering all the villages) has been upheld as a critical factor driving Gujarat’s high growth rate in agriculture.
The survey covered 876 households spread over 15 districts in Gujarat – Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Panchmahals, Bharuch, Dangs, Valsad, Surat, Narmada, Navsari, Tapi, Amreli, Rajkot and Surendranagar. The survey covered districts having access to irrigation through canal and/or groundwater. Nearly two-thirds of the sample households covered by the survey had access to irrigation from one or more sources. An attempt was made to capture awareness, participation, and perceptions about a range of important aspects of the programme.
The scholars say, “It was heartening to find that close to 70 per cent of the sample households reported that they knew about KM. The proportion was as large as 80 per cent among the large farmers, which declined along with the decline in the landholding size. The level of awareness was fairly low among landless households, which of course, is not unexpected.”
A similar pattern was observed with respect to awareness about the Krishi Rath (or mobile van) having actually come to their village. “While 60 per cent of the respondents replied positively, the proportion declined along with landholding size. In terms of participation, about 52 per cent of the respondents reported having visited the Krishi Rath when it came to their village, the proportion varied from about 70 per cent among large farmers to nearly 60 and 50 per cent among medium and small-marginal farmers respectively. This suggests that almost half of the small–marginal farmers had not visited the van”, say the scholars.
They underline, “The small-marginal farmers may face constraints due to social hierarchies and thereby exclusion within the village community. The exclusion was further reflected in terms of the relatively low level of attendance in gram sabha organized during the KM and active participation thereof. The proportion of small–marginal farmers attending and participating in the gram sabha would be even smaller if we specifically look at the sample within this category of households. The evidence suggests that interaction of the respondents with the state officials as well as scientists was far less than those having reported awareness about the programme and visit to the Krishi Rath when it visited the respective villages.”
Pointing out that access to irrigation, besides landholding size, is yet another important divide with respective to the outreach of the programme, the scholars say, “The awareness and participation among sample households is significantly higher among those having access to irrigation as compared to those without irrigation. Obviously, landless households are excluded. The survey results also highlighted the fact that the programme is yet to make an inroad into actual dissemination of information and adoption following that.” On information on the extent to which farmers know about technologies, inputs, and subsidies available in the region, the scholars say, “The proportion of farmers having reported positive response to a range of questions is fairly low even among large farmers.”
“It was observed that out of the 578 farmers having irrigation at the time of the survey, 206 farmers, that is, 35 per cent reported increase in irrigation (this also includes those who did not have irrigation in the initial period). Of the 206 farmers, 97 farmers reported investment in tube wells as the main source of increase in irrigation, whereas 62 farmers reported canals as the main source for the increase. Only 39 farmers reported that the area under irrigation had increased due to increased groundwater table; the rest eight farmers mentioned other sources”, say the scholars, adding, “Given the fact that a large proportion of farmers have access to irrigation, cultivation of Bt cotton appeared to be widespread. About one-third of the sample farmers reported that they had cultivated the crop at least once in the last seven years.”

Comments

TRENDING

Sorry state of Indian academics: why was I thrown out of Delhi varsity interview room?

By Dr. Abhay Kumar*  The interview for the post of political science (Guest) was scheduled on Saturday afternoon, September 10, 2022. Given my previous experience, I was not willing to appear for it. But friends persuaded me to go and fight for our rights. I reached the college well before the time. When my turn came and I entered the room. The first question was asked about my experience. I said that I had taught for four semesters at NCWEB. I mentioned that I had taught ”Comparative politics”, “International Relations”, “Comparative Political Thoughts” and “Indian Government and Politics”. I said that as a teacher I had taught all the articles listed in the syllabus of the same Delhi University and the expert could ask anything about any reading or ideas. Friends, the first question asked by a female member, perhaps she is the principal of the college if I am not wrong, to give the full form of NCWEB! The second question asked by a male expert, perhaps he is the political science dep

Musician and follower of Dr Ambedkar? A top voilinist has this rare combination!

Some time back, a human rights defender, Vidya Bhushan Rawat, who frequently writes for Counterview, forwarded to me a video interview with Guru Prabhakar Dhakade, calling him one of India's well known violinists.  Dhakade is based in Nagpur and has devoted his life for the Hindustani classical music. A number of his disciples have now been part of Hindi cinema world in Mumbai, says Rawat. He has performed live in various parts of the country as well as abroad. What however attracted me was Dhakade's assertions in video about Dr BR Ambedkar, India's undisputed Dalit icon. Recorded several years back at his residence and music school in Nagpur, Dhakade not only speaks candidly about issues he faced, but that he is a believer in Dr Ambedkar's philosophy. It is in this context that Dhakade narrates his problems, even as stating that he is determined to achieve his goal. A violinist and a follower of Ambedkar? This was new to me. Rarely do musicians are found to take a

Tokens, symbols or incipient feminists? : First generation women sociologists in India

By IMPRI Team  The online event on the theme ‘Tokens, Symbols or Incipient Feminists? : The first Generation of Women Sociologists in India’ was held as an initiative of Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi under the #WebPolicyTalk series of The State of Gender Equality – #GenderGaps. Inaugurating the session, Zubiya Moin welcomed the speaker and participants to the program, followed by an introduction to the eminent panelists. Commencing the program, Prof Vibhuti Patel made her opening remarks welcoming Prof Kamla Ganesh, Feminist Sociologists and then greeted Prof Ratna Naidu and the editors of book ‘Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspective’, Dr Gita Chadha and Dr. Joseph M.T. along with Prof Arvinder Ansari and also welcomed all participants. She set up the stage by making us familiar with women sociologists and their works. Dr Gita Chadha, Editor of the book ‘Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspective’ After th

Omission of duty by BSF and police: Hindu forcefully kidnapped, taken to Bangladesh

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), & National Convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI) writes to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission: *** I am writing this to focus on the life and situation of the poor and marginalized villagers living alongside the Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal. Through the several complaints we made throughout the years to your good office, it is now evident that the people of this border are living in an acute crisis, not only from a financial perspective but also in terrible distress. The people of the border are devoid of their basic rights and are subjected to immense torture, harassment and restrictions mostly enacted by the Border Security Force personnel, who are supposed to be posted at the international borders with intentions to protect the Indian citizenry. However, on the contrary, incidents of victimizing Indian citizens are being witnessed at large by the BSF. 130 Bhot

Emerging dimensions of India’s foreign policy in the context of global politics

By IMPRI Team  The three-day course took place recently, providing participants with an understanding of the development of Indian foreign policy, the complexity of geopolitics, and its flexibility to adjust to and even shape global outcomes. Many distinguished academics, senior scholars, former Indian diplomats, and journalists who are skilled observers and commentators of India’s foreign policy will serve as instructors for this course. Day 1 The three-day immersive online certificate training on “Emerging Dimensions of India’s Foreign Policy and Global Politics”, an initiative by the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) at IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), began on July 14th, 2022 at 5:00 PM (IST) on Zoom platform. Dr Souravie Ghimiray served as the emcee throughout the 3 days of the event and welcomed the distinguished speakers of Day 1. The esteemed panel on Day 1 consisted of, Dr Soumita Basu, Associate Professor, Department of Intern

Demographic parameters of India@75: resource allocation, political representation

By IMPRI Team  As per UN Population Prospects 2022, India is going to be the most populous country in the world. In this regard, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi with #IMPRI Center for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD) , organized a panel discussion, #WebPolicyTalk, as part of the series The State of Population Development- #PopulationAnd Development on India@75: Most Populous Country? The moderator of the event was Mr Devender Singh, Global Studies Programme, University of Freiburg and a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists for the event were Prof P.M Kulkarni, Demographer, Retired Professor of Population Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) , New Delhi; Dr U.V Somayajulu, Co-Founder, CEO and Executive Director, Sigma Research and Consulting ; Dr Sonia George, General Secretary, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Kerala; Prof K.S James, Director and Senior Professor, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai. Th

Tamil Nadu govt claiming to reform Hindu religion, temples. People deserve better

By NS Venkataraman  For the last several decades, there have been hate campaign against Hinduism in Tamil Nadu in a subtle or not so subtle manner. Initially, it was a hate campaign against brahmins and the brahmins were abused, insulted and physically attacked. Fearing such conditions, many brahmin families left Tamil Nadu to settle down in other states in India or have gone abroad. Now, the brahmin population in Tamil Nadu is at microscopic level, for which these hate campaigners against brahmins were responsible. Later on, emboldened by the scenario of scared brahmin families not resisting and running away, the hate campaigners started focusing on Hindus. For some years, when M.G.Ramachandran and Jayalalitha were the chief ministers of the state, the hate Hindu campaigners were not much heard, as both these chief ministers were staunch believers in Hindu philosophy and have been offering prayers in temples in full public view. However, in the last eighteen months in

Bhagawat Gita shows the way for the attitude to life and desirable goal of life

By NS Venkataraman*  When a mother delivers a human body, this body has no identity. Then, parents, relatives, friends consult each other and discuss the alternate appropriate names and arrive at a suitable name for this human body and this body is known and identified by this name. This human body, which steadily grow just like animals, plants and others and after experiencing the pleasures and pains of worldly life alternately for several years, perish one day, for the body to be burnt or buried. This body, bearing a name as it’s identity, comes in to the world and goes away from the world and the name that is the identity for the body also goes away along with the body. This is the scenario for several thousands of years that have gone by. The question: One question that does not seem to be still “convincingly explained” in a way that will appeal to the brain in the human body, is as to whether this human body only consists of flesh, bone and blood with well

Implementing misleading govt order to pollute Hyderabad's 100 year old reservoirs

Senior activists* represent to the Telangana Governor on GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), Government of Telangana: ‘...restrictions imposed under para 3 of said GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996 are removed...’: *** Ref: GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996: ‘To prohibit polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of the lakes upto 10kms from full tank level as per list in Annexure-I...’ We come to your office with grievance that GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by Government of Telangana not only contains false information issued ‘By Order and in the name of the Governor of Telangana’ , without any scientific or expert reports, but also that implementation of the said GO is detrimental and can be catastrophic to the Hyderabad city as two 100 year old reservoirs Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar were constructed as dams on river Moosa and river Esa, with the first and

Tattoos and intimidating gestures can't always win cricket matches for India

By Sudhansu R Das  Team India waited with baited breath for the outcome of the Pakistan vs Afghanistan match. Speculation was on about India’s return to the game if Pakistan loses to Afghanistan until Pakistan’s tailender, Naseem hit two massive sixes to win the match for Pakistan. Unfortunately, Afghanistan lost the match after being in a strong position till the last over of the game; two full touch balls in the final over turned the match into Pakistan side. The Afghanistan team would never forget this blunder and shock for a long time. India’s team management should introspect and take tough decision keeping in view of the tough match situation in the world cup matches. India lost two crucial matches in the Asia Cup. It could not defend a big total of 176 against Pakistan due to mediocre bowling attack, sloppy fielding and unimaginative captainship. It failed against Sri Lanka in similar fashion; it could not defend another respectable T 20 total of 171 runs. It was a pat