Agrarian Crisis in India: The Myth of Agrarian Prosperity in the Hirakud Command Area, Western Orissa
International Journal of Geology, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 4, August 2017
6 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2018
Date Written: August 2017
A series of food crises in the fifties and sixties compelled India to follow the green revolution module enunciated by US. Several institutes of rural development and agricultural universities worked on the diffusion of agricultural innovation and the Indian peasants were made to believe that inputs such as irrigation, farm mechanization, HYV paddy, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, etc. would increase productivity and make them prosperous in agriculture notwithstanding the disparities in land and access to other resources.
Hirakud dam, the longest earthen dam in the world, was constructed during the period 1948-56 basically to save the costal delta from flood, but also to store water for irrigation and generation of hydro-power for industrialization. Data collected from six villages of western Orissa in the early eighties and continuous visits to those villages until recently compel us to believe that general agrarian prosperity is a myth in this area. In the initial phase of assured canal irrigation, inexpensive inputs and incentives of the state, the industrious farmers did well. Later on, however, despite increase in the gross production (overall in most of the years) and the price of paddy, the overall increase in the price of inputs and climatic uncertainties have dissuaded people from sticking to agriculture; most of the farmers are highly indebted and many leaving agriculture and some even committing suicide. The changing map of these villages/the entire locality is not because of overall agricultural prosperity but for other developmental initiatives.
Keywords: Semi-Feudal Mode of Production, Agricultural Modernization, Irrigation, Chemical Farming, Mono-Cropping, Farmers' Indebtedness, Agrarian Crisis
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