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1 out of 3 farmers are tenants in Telangana; are excluded from any government support

  • Published
    15th Dec, 2022
Context

A recent survey conducted on conditions of Farmers in Telangana, highlighted that while on one hand, there is mounting debt on tenant farmers; they do not get any substantial government support which is mostly given to land-owning farmers.

Details of the survey:

  • Conducted by: Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV), an independent farmers’ organization based in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Key findings:
    • One out of every three farmers in Telangana is tenant farmers, shows high tenancy rate in the state.
    • The figure is double the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) estimates of 17.5 per cent tenant holdings in the state.
    • The tenant farmers were found to be excluded from all government support.
    • Statics of land distribution:
      • 36 per cent of farmers were cultivating leased land. Also, 19 per cent of these were

Telangana becomes the second state after Andhra Pradesh with such high tenant holdings in the country.

    • High Debt: Average debt due to agriculture per tenant farmer family was Rs.2.7 lakh. Of this, 75 per cent were private loans.
    • Dependence on Money lenders: Tenant farmers being dependent on moneylenders, fertiliser and pesticides dealers, gold pawnbrokers, commission agents, relatives, seed companies, and landowners for their investment.

Who are tenant farmers?

  • A tenant farmergrows crops or raises livestock on land that's owned by someone else. Most tenant farmers pay rent to a landlord for a house and farmland.
  • Originally, tenant farmers were known as 
  • Tenant farming, is an agricultural system in which landowners contribute their land and a measure of operating capital and management while tenants contribute their labor with various amounts of capital and management, the returns being shared in a variety of ways.
  • Payment to the owner may be in the form of a share in the product, or in cash, or in a combination of both.

Tenants and their families probably constitute two-fifths of the world’s population engaged in agriculture.

Agriculture policy issues in India:

  • Agriculture in India has been facing several issues such as fragmented land holding, depleting water table, deteriorating soil quality, increasing input costs, low productivity etc.
  • Output prices may not be remunerative as farmers are often forced to borrow to manage expenses.
  • According to a study jointly conducted by Nabard and Bharat KrishakSamaj (BKS), a farmers producers’ organization, in Punjab, more than 60 per cent of the ‘very high’ and ‘high’ distress small and marginal farmers (SMFs) did not receive farm loan waiver (FLW) benefits.
  • In Maharashtra also, close to 42 per cent of the SMF whose distress category was ‘very high’ did not receive FLW benefits.
  • Thus indebtedness is the key reason for several farmer suicides in India.
  • Loan waivers can provide some relief to farmers in such situations.

What is the difference between tenant farmers and sharecroppers?

  • Tenant farmers could only contribute their labor but had no legal claim to the land or crops they farmed, and owns plow animals, equipment, and supplies. However, sharecroppers can claim over the share of crops being produced.

Why they face exploitation?

  • Due to unpaid debt taken by them in undefined interest rates from money lenders and landowners.
  • Lack of education about crops and leads to crop failures.
  • Non-inclusion in several government schemes for farmers
  • Lack of Capital support
  • Unable to get loan from banks, due unavailability of land or assets for mortgage.

Other Government Initiatives:

  • Rythu Bandhu Scheme of Telengana:
    • It is a scheme of the Telangana government under which the state government extends financial support to land-owning farmers at the beginning of the crop season through direct benefit transfer.
    • The scheme is open to all resident farmers of the state who owned land.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi:
    • All land holding eligible farmer families (subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria) are to avail of the benefits under this scheme.
  • Mukhyamantri Harit Krishi Sanyantra Yojana in Bihar:
    • To make available the various farm of agricultural equipment, farm machinery
    • and other implements under the priority sector of Agriculture and allied activities to support the small and marginal farmers of the state
    • To balance the adverse economies of scale due to the high cost of individual ownership
    • To improve the mechanization in areas with low farm availability
    • To provide hiring assistance for various agricultural machinery or implements that are applied for the different operations
    • To expand more mechanized activities during cropping seasons in the large areas especially in small and marginal holdings
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