57 days a year. that's the number of days of work available in the farm sector in india. from more than 220 days a year, 40 years ago. it'll go down further. how much can you earn from 57 days of mostly manual labour?
despite whatever was promised by the upa five years ago, or whatever the upa or the nda will promise now, in the next ten years agriculture's share in the gdp will go down further- from around 20% now to around 10%. despite increased credit and frequent loan waivers. despite increased subsidies and investments in irrigation. despite whatever curbs on imports or exports. all that means the real incomes of those who depend on agriculture, farmers and workers and others, will go down further every year.
all that silly figures of how we've achieved 4% growth trumpeted by whatever government in any one year actually hides the fact that there had been a 10% fall the previous year. we've been served the same sorry meal for the last twenty years or more and we have been waiting for that inevitable turnaround just around the corner all this while.
the andhra pradesh government has sunk in more than 50,000 crores in the last five years in large irrigation projects and the average and overall yields are almost where they were ten years ago. and twice as many farmers have committed suicide in the last five years than in the ten years before that.
logically speaking, there shouldn't be any farmers' suicides in andhra pradesh. because the state has always been a food surplus state, from even before the green revolution. and there are enough rice deficit regions in the neighbourhood, and across india, to fetch the andhra farmers' produce good prices. take kerala, for instance. a major portion of rice consumed in kerala comes from andhra pradesh. in the last forty years, while the total area devoted to paddy cultivation in kerala has come down by more than half, it has increased in andhra pradesh.
kerala, which imports rice, has a higher per capita income than andhra pradesh which exports nearly 30-40% of the rice it produces every year.
kerala also has a higher rate of literacy. infant and maternal mortality rates are lower in kerala than in andhra pradesh.
today, rice sells for rs.20-30 a kg in andhra pradesh, at almost the same price as in kerala.
logically speaking, the andhra pradesh (indian) electors should have kicked out anyone who spoke of agriculture and food security in 2004. or during any elections in the last twenty years.