Issues like climate change, monsoon changes and natural disasters seas rising. Complex issues for the educated society to give some thought from where their food is coming from!
India is a youthful country, with majority young age groups!
But is Indian agriculture a youthful area of development?
No, Not at all. We still read about farmers’ suicides, one story of suicide is more grim than the next! Why is the scenario so bad for agriculture and more so for the villages. What is happening to the younger generation in the rural India?
We read every day that how youth migrate from villages, from agriculture to the nearby smaller cities.>it is a natural process as we see. Just now we also read how Indian IT sector is booming. Something like 1 million youth are in one segment, called the Global Capability Sector in the Informational Technology sector and in one city, Bangalore alone this number is concentrated. Migration to smaller cities, interstate migration is now accelerating almost every day when you see stagnation in agriculture, agriculture prices are depressed, most segments of farming, in most of the states are drought-hit and the current positive story seems to be this accelerating g internal migration of the youth.
The youth with some basic education, even a school -pass or school-dropout is good enough and incomes are attractive, ample employment opportunities and what is new feature with comparatively low living costs are driving interstate migrant population is a pervasive sight in most of the Southern states. Go to Chennai for instance by road transport and enter into a roadside restaurant you see you are politely welcome and served and if you strike a conversation you find soon the Youngman is from Assam or Bengal! What brought them there?
Word of mouth information from someone in the distant home environment or on a vacation back home he or she, yes there are many girls from North East who run many homes or work at more attractive prices jobs in various types of establishments, beauty salons or why even at the reception counters in high class hotels. Some hotels and restaurants in Oory are now run by these North Eastern youngsters!
Some towns, some enclaves are now looking like new colonies, these peoples make for a nice change in a dull environment. The point here is that Indian agriculture is no more what it was yesterday!
Today’s agriculture is a changing occupation for the vast majority of traditional farming families and in these families there are educated youth, both boys and girls and there is a steady migration of youth towards cities. Yes, cities draw well-educated youth and for instance today in a city like Bangalore it is virtual dreams come true, totally 1,250 MNCs are alone in India, in a city like Bangalore and also in others like Chennai, Pune, New Delhi-NCR they are concentrated. The new phenomenon is that this urban migration has now spread to smaller cities too. In Surat, Faridabad and Ludhiana, says a report, that over 55 per cent of in-migrants fill the city spaces and other state capitals like Jaipur is turning into an urban agglomeration with migrants spreading across the suburbs. Why, take remote villages in Tamil Nadu. Every small village is now crowded with ‘outsiders’, out own villagers say to us whenever we return in the week-ends(from Bangalore) @we in the villages don’t know who are the new comers!@.Such is the rapid changes taking place in the rural interiors.
Now, in this fastest change environment what chance is there for traditional type of farming? Tenancy farming is no more the standard farming type. In Kerala the tenants have vanished! Instead, have come new types of contract farming. Just for one crop, say, banana cultivation for one crop, one season! No risk and no complications.
We are talking of the South. May be in the North too the farming patterns must be changing. There are issues like tenancy contracts not being enforceable, paying land rents are defaulted and no way to recover rents. There is vast corruption in the revenue departments the original sinners! Revenut department proceedings happen in sheer anarchy! If only you own a piece of agricultural property only you would realise that paying bribes is the routine.
Just now we read a High Court direction in Karnataka where the Joint Director of Land Records had refused to correct the mistakes in land records and there are plenty such cases in every land record noting, you can take it!, and the Joint Director has been ordered to be enquired into! Do you know how long this process would take> May be the litigants’ all the life time!
So, we have an agricultural social system where there is feudalism, inequity, inequality and also social ostracises when it comes to borrowing loans from private lenders and also from banks that to survive today as a land owners is almost an invited hell on your future!
So consider the dilemma of the farming families, the younger generation in particular as to what to do today?
To stick to traditional farming or give away the effort and simply board the next bus to nearby town?
Besides, agriculture is today in great distress. There is drought, water shortage for drinking purposes and for irrigation. The nearby lakes are dry. Drought creates a clutch of problems like retaining the cattle or selling them off. And lo! Today agriculture is becoming more integrated with the outside world. Farm prices are dictated not by the local traders but by the international commodity markets.
The future of farming is going to be much more challenging. There are international agricultural trade wars between big countries like America and China. Also there is this natural phenomenon of natural disasters, psunami to climate change. So, it is time the society at large must give much thought for the future of Indian farming.