Indian Agrarian Crisis now moved to

Farmer-the most endangered species

Burden of credit for Punjab farmers

Posted by Ramoo on February 20, 2007

Arijit Barman…


Posted Tuesday , February 20, 2007 at 20:03

Updated Tuesday , February 20, 2007 at 20:41

Stats show an average farming family in Punjab has more to repay than families anywhere else in India.

LOAN MOAN: Stats show an average farming family in Punjab has more to repay than families anywhere else in India.

Punjab: Naseeb Kaur is a widow. Her husband committed suicide almost a decade ago, to escape the Rs 7 lakh debt burden.

Kaur managed to marry off three of her daughters, but in the bargain, she had to part with the one hectare acre land she owned for she had to give that as dowry.

Today, her daily existence is a continuous struggle and the debt the last thing on her mind.

“There is no help from the government and the elections do not hold any meaning for me,” says she.

The fruits of India’s growing economy are yet to reach her family and also many other families in Punjab. But why is this happening?

Says CRRID’s Dr S Singh, “This is happening because these people first take loans and then when they cannot repay them, they take more loans. It becomes a vicious cycle and then they cannot get out of it. The money that they receive is not enough.”

Apart from this, the loan money is often used for purposes other than farming and the Punjab Farmer’s Commission is worried to say the least.

Says member Punjab Farmer’s Commission, Dr Kalkat, “The farmers spend the money on weddings etc. which needs to be stopped at once.”

Punjab for many, may be the poster boy of the Green revolution, but government data shows that an average farming family in that state has more to repay than any other family anywhere else in India.

  • For farmers with land holdings less than 0.1 hectare, the average outstanding amount is around Rs 6,000. In Punjab, the average is around Rs 9,000.
  • For those who own between one and two hectares of land, this figure is Rs 14,000 for rest of India and Rs 28,000 for Punjab.
  • For farmers with more than 10 hectares of land, rest of India’s debt stands at Rs 77,000 while in Punjab, it’s more than Rs 2.5 lakh.

The aam admi’s Government is keen on providing economic relief to the farmers by giving them credit through rural banks, but for the farmer stuck in a vicious cycle, the path to a virtuous cycle is almost an impossibility and suicides are often the only way out.

So there might be a package to serve credit needs, especially of small and marginal farmers, but the burden of debt continues to be oppressive and in the hinterland of Punjab it’s just another day for Naseeb Kaur.

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