More than half farm-households in India are in debt: NSSO report

Households in southern states are most indebted; 40 per cent agricultural-households take loan from informal sources like money lenders

By Jitendra
Published: Monday 22 December 2014


The latest survey report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) further confirms India’s worsening agrarian crisis. More than half of the agriculture households are in debt, and the worst affected states are southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu, says the 70th round of NSSO survey.

 The survey report says about 52 per cent of the agricultural households in the country are estimated to be in debt. Among the major states, Andhra Pradesh had the highest share of indebted agricultural households in the country (92.9 per cent), followed by Telengana (89.1 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (82.5 percent).

The report states nearly 40 per cent of households take loan from non- institutional sources like money lenders. Nearly 60 per cent of total outstanding loan is taken from institutional sources. The banks’ share is (43 per cent), followed by cooperative societies (15 per cent).

The survey also showed that a very small segment of agricultural households utilised crop insurance because of lack of awareness.

Income sources of farm-households
Agricultural activities, comprising cultivation and livestock rearing, are reported to be the principal source of income for majority of agricultural households in all the major states.

Kerala is the only state where about 61per cent of the agricultural households reported to have received maximum income from sources other than agricultural activities. 

More than half of marginal farmers (56 per cent), who possess less than 0.01 hectare plots, are not relying on agriculture as principal source of income. They rely on other sources like wages or employment salary as principal source of income.

Adding to their woes is the fact that 13 per cent of these marginal farmers do not have ration cards.

Out of total agri-households, 23 per cent of agricultural households depend on livestock as prime source of income.

The households which possess 0.4 ha of land claimed that agriculture is the principal source of income for them.

Forty-four per cent of total agricultural-households possess MGNREGA job cards.

60 per cent of India lives in farm households
According to survey, the country has 90.2 million agricultural households which consists 58 percent of total population. Uttar Pradesh accounted for about 20 per cent of all agricultural households in the country.

Rajasthan had highest percentage of agricultural households (78.4 per cent) among its rural households and Kerala had the least percentage share ofagricultural households (27.3 per cent) in its rural households.

The survey, conducted between January to December 2013, aimed at capturing the condition of agricultural households in the rural areas of the country in the context of policies and programmes of Government of India.

Last time such a survey was conducted was in the 59th round in 2003. This time there has been change in definition. Last time, agricultural households were defined as those possessing some land and the members were engaged in agricultural activities over a year. This time, the definition was changed—the value of the produce should be more than Rs 3,000 and at least one member of a family should be engaged in agricultural activities for it to be considered an agricultural family.

A total number of 35,200 households were surveyed in the first visit and 34,907 of them were re-surveyed in second visit.

Key indicators of situation of agricultural households in India (January – December 2013)

Performance audit on Implementation of Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008

Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008

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