A survey said 76 per cent of farmers would prefer to do other work, while 60 per cent wanted their children to migrate to and settle in a city. These are a grim reminder of the condition of the 120-million farmer households in India.
The survey, by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Lokniti for Bharat Krishak Samaj, of 5,000 farmer households across 137 districts in 18 states in December, showed 47 per cent said the overall condition of farmers was bad.
The sample of the Report on the State of Indian Farmers had 20 per cent Scheduled Castes, 12 per cent Scheduled Tribes, 40 per cent Other Backward Classes and 14 per cent minorities.
It showed 40 per cent felt their economic condition had improved in five years, while 37 per cent said there was no change. Around 42 per cent were optimistic on economic prospects.
Prominent issues were education, health and employment, while repayment of loans was the least important.
On political issues, an overwhelming number said price rise was the main one in the 2014 general elections. Corruption was not high on their priority list.
The survey showed though the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had been publicising the regular rise in the minimum support price (MSP) since 2004 as one of its biggest achievements, 62 per cent were not aware of the MSP. Among those who had heard, 64 per cent were not satisfied with the rates.
Just 10 per cent said schemes benefited small and marginal farmers, while 90 per cent said these helped only the rich.
Among central schemes, the survey showed 53 per cent had heard of the loan-waiver one implemented by the UPA government in 2008, while 10 per cent had benefited from it.
On the UPA's land acquisition law, the survey showed 27 per cent had heard about it, while 57 per cent said a farmer stood to lose because of it.
A whopping 83 per cent have not heard about foreign direct investment in agriculture. Of those who have, 51 per cent said it should not be allowed.