Farmhand take loans for petty expenses: Study - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Farmhand take loans for petty expenses: Study

Farmhand take loans for petty expenses: Study

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 7

A study “Levels, Patterns and Distribution of Consumption Expenditure of Farmers and Agricultural Labourers in Rural Punjab” has established that farm labourers have to take loans to meet small exigencies and therefore are caught in a vicious debt trap. The findings of the study make a strong case for land reforms in favour of the marginal and small farmers and labourers in view of the unabated suicides.

Sponsored by the ICSSR, the study was recently published in Social Change, a research journal of the Council of Social Development. It was conducted by Dr Gian Singh, former professor in the economics department of Punjabi University, and economics faculty in various Punjabi University-affiliated colleges, including Dr Anupama, Dr Gurinder Kaur, Dr Rupinder Kaur and Dr Sukhveer Kaur.

Based on a sample of 1,007 farm households and 301 labour households, the study concludes that there are variations in the consumption expenditure of different farm size categories.

“Average annual consumption expenditure of a labour household belonging to the general category is hardly Rs 82,515, as compared to Rs 90,435 for Schedule Castes and Rs 98,366 for Other Backward Classes. It seems that it is only the poorest of general category households who opt to earn their living as agricultural labourers,” the study stated.

The expenditure of the general category is less as their income is also less as compared to SC and OBC category,” elaborates Gian Singh.

An average sampled farm household spends 40.29 per cent on non-durable items. The marginal farm size category spends the maximum, that is 50.38 per cent of total consumption expenditure, on non-durables. Among non-durables, milk and milk products is the important item of consumption, with 13.08 per cent spent on it. This proportion is the highest for the small farm size category, followed by the marginal, semi-medium, medium and large farm size categories.

The field survey has revealed that different agricultural production activities require hard labour. As a result, the farmers rear some milch animals and the proportion of this item of consumption is the highest among non- durable items. This is followed by food grain consumption at 6.86 per cent. An average sampled farm household spends 4.45 per cent on fuel and electricity. This proportional share decreases as the farm size increases.

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