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Agricultural Institutional Credit, Indebtedness and Suicides in Punjab

Since the nationalisation of banks and the green revolution, institutional credit for agriculture has grown in Punjab. But the growth had not been uniform and in line with the demand for such credit. Indebtedness has also increased in the state, but a large part of the debt has been for non-productive purposes. The incidence of suicides in Punjab has not been higher than the all India average and studies reveal that while indebtedness is indeed one of the major causes of suicides, it is neither the only cause nor the main one. There is thus no direct causal relationship between institutional credit, indebtedness and suicides in rural Punjab. The problems of indebtedness as well as suicides do not merit narrow interpretation or solution, as these are only symptoms of a larger malaise. They have to be contextualised in the light of stagnation of agriculture, rising levels of rural unemployment and dissipation of economic and social infrastructure.

Institutional Credit, Indebtedness and Suicides in Punjab

Since the nationalisation of banks and the green revolution, institutional credit for agriculture has grown in Punjab. But the growth had not been uniform and in line with the demand for such credit. Indebtedness has also increased in the state, but a large part of the debt has been for non-productive purposes. The incidence of suicides in Punjab has not been higher than the all India average and studies reveal that while indebtedness is indeed one of the major causes of suicides, it is neither the only cause nor the main one. There is thus no direct causal relationship between institutional credit, indebtedness and suicides in rural Punjab. The problems of indebtedness as well as suicides do not merit narrow interpretation or solution, as these are only symptoms of a larger malaise. They have to be contextualised in the light of stagnation of agriculture, rising levels of rural unemployment and dissipation of economic and social infrastructure.

P SATISH

IIIII
IntroductionIntroductionIntroductionIntroductionIntroduction

P
unjab agriculture has undergone a significant structural change since the advent of the green revolution in the mid1960s. Traditional agriculture has progressively given way to modern and commercial agriculture. Technology and inputs were the main underpinnings of this transformation. The agricultural policy that ensured easy access to inputs through credit and subsidies and an assured market through minimum support and procurement prices helped successfully translate the new technology into increasing agricultural production. Punjab has also witnessed an increase in per capita income and a decrease in levels of rural poverty over the years since the green revolution [Shergill and Singh 1995].

The spate of reports on farmers’ suicides in rural Punjab during 1995-98, as also to a lesser extent during 2001-04, has received attention as these occurred in a state with high levels of per capita income and low levels of rural poverty. However, the entire discourse on suicides tended to focus on the levels of rural indebtedness and the availability or otherwise of institutional credit. Simplistic analysis tended to link these three aspects in a causal relationship and assign the direct blame for farmers’ suicides to the lack of institutional credit.

This paper examines aspects relating to these three phenomena in Punjab today to try to analyse the nature of relationships between them. The most comprehensive and authoritative work on the rural indebtedness in Punjab is that of Shergill [Shergill 1998] and on suicides in rural Punjab it is that of Kumar and Sharma [Kumar and Sharma 1998]. This paper draws heavily upon both these studies as also the field study conducted by the author in 2002. Inputs from a field study conducted in Sangrur district in 2002 are also used. Section II discusses the growth and extent of institutional credit in Punjab, its availability and sufficiency and the trends. Section III analyses the problem and extent of rural indebtedness in Punjab. Section IV discusses the phenomenon of suicides in rural Punjab. Section V sums up these analyses and concludes the discussions on the extent and nature of interrelationship between these three phenomena and also draws out the lessons for long-term mitigation of the problem.

IIIIIIIIII
Institutional Credit in PunjabInstitutional Credit in PunjabInstitutional Credit in PunjabInstitutional Credit in PunjabInstitutional Credit in Punjab

The institutional credit agencies in Punjab not only encouraged adoption of green revolution technology but also weaned away the farmers from moneylenders by making credit available to the farmers adequately and at lower rates of interest. On the threshold of the green revolution, the total outstanding liabilities of the cultivating households in the state (as on June 30, 1972) were estimated at Rs 121 crore [RBI 1978]. The proportions of borrowings by the households from each of the agencies to their total liabilities are indicated in Table 1. It will be seen that the share of cooperatives constituted only 32 per cent of total rural debt and the share of non-institutional agencies was large, forming 53.2 per cent. The share of commercial banks in rural debt which was only 4.9 per cent as on June 30, 1971, however, went up considerably in the subsequent period.

The institutional finance for agricultural development in Punjab had shown a substantial increase after the 1971-72 survey period. The commercial banks in particular deployed larger funds for financing the priority sectors, viz, agriculture, following nationalisation of banks. The growth of agricultural credit in nominal prices was tremendous. On per hectare of net sown area (NSA) basis, the availability of credit improved from Rs 211.14 to Rs 8,537.50 over the period 1970-71 to 1997-98. The supply of short-term credit for purchasing inputs also increased in the same pattern and on per hectare of NSA, the availability improved from Rs 148.4 to Rs 6,100 during the same period. However, the increase in real terms, measured by using the prices paid for intermediate inputs with base triennium ending 1971-72 as the deflator, was estimated to be from Rs 148.40 to Rs 658.10 per hectare of NSA during the period showing only a modest growth.

The growth in long-term institutional agricultural credit was found to be commendable. Its availability in nominal prices improved from Rs 63 per hectare of NSA in 1970-71 to Rs 2,437.50 in 1997-98 and in real prices arrived at by using the price index for capital formation with the triennium ending 1971-72 as base, from Rs 62.36 to Rs 200.43 per hectare for the same period [Sidhu et al 1999].

In Punjab, not only has the amount of institutional credit increased, but the number of borrowers has also increased at 1.31 per cent per annum during the period 1979-80 to 1994-95. Since the growth in the amount of loans advanced was more than the growth in the number of borrowers, the amount of loan per borrower increased from Rs 2,042.40 in 1979-80 to Rs 9,123.84 in 1994-95. Much of the institutional credit (65.18 per cent) in case of an average farmer was provided by primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS), followed by commercial banks and primary agricultural development banks (PADBs) (nearly 17 per cent each) in the year 1979-80. In 1994-95, while PACS accounted for 58.28 per cent and commercial banks for

22.17 per cent of total institutional credit, the share of PADBs declined to 12.75 per cent. Regional rural banks (RRBs) emerged as an important source of institutional credit with a share of 6.81 per cent [Singh 2000].

Credit to Agriculture in Punjab:Credit to Agriculture in Punjab:Credit to Agriculture in Punjab:Credit to Agriculture in Punjab:Credit to Agriculture in Punjab:
A Time Series AnalysisA Time Series AnalysisA Time Series AnalysisA Time Series AnalysisA Time Series Analysis

The growth in agricultural credit in Punjab since 1970-71 can be described as exponential. As may be observed from Table 2, the total agricultural credit flow which stood at Rs 10,209.84 lakh in 1970-71 grew to a level of Rs 38,516.59 lakh in 1980-81. This increased to Rs 78,903.52 lakh in 1990-91 and further to Rs 4,53,778.52 lakh in 2000-01. During 2002-03 it stood at a level of Rs 6,70,684.57 lakh. As far as the shares of the institutions are concerned, in 1970-71 the cooperatives had a share of 82.38 per cent in total agricultural credit flow and commercial banks a share of 17.62 per cent.1 The share of cooperatives declined gradually to reach 52.67 per cent in 1977-78 when the commercial banks’ share (including that of RRBs)2 reached a level of 47.11 per cent. But cooperatives picked up momentum again to reach a share of 74.64 per cent in 1984-85 when commercial banks slipped down to 25.36 per cent. Thereafter it had been a phenomenon of a gradual decline in the share of cooperatives except during 1989-90 and 1998-99. For cooperatives, 2002-03 signifies a serious setback to their role as a major provider of agricultural credit, when the commercial banks overtook them to reach a share of 52.08 per cent and the cooperatives for the first time slipped below the halfway mark to a level of 47.92 per cent.

The picture gets a little more clarity when the annual and decennial growth rates are analysed. This analysis as indicated in Table 3 shows that in the period 1970-71 to 1979-80 the cooperatives had an average annual growth rate of 14.22 per cent and commercial banks 25.46 per cent.

The decennial growth rates in this period were 172.79 per cent for cooperatives and 618.88 per cent for commercial banks. For both these institutions taken together, the average annual growth rate in the period was 16.02 per cent and decennial growth rate was 251.41 per cent. The next period of 1980-81 to 1989-90 represents the period of decline as far as agricultural credit growth in Punjab is concerned. The average annual growth rate of cooperatives in this period declined to 10.52 per cent, but the decline is steeper in case of commercial banks to 7.59 per cent. The period 1990-91 to 1999-2000 shows a revival in the agricultural credit growth in the state. The cooperatives show an improvement in the annual growth rate to 15.09 per cent and commercial banks to 22.11 per cent. Similarly the decennial growth rates also increased to 332.25 per cent in case of cooperatives and 565.25 per cent in respect of commercial banks. The extended 13-year period of 1990-91 to 2002-03 shows nominal fall in the average annual growth rate of cooperatives to 14.66 per cent and a marginal increase in that of commercial banks to 22.57 per cent.

Table 1: Borrowings from Different Agencies in Punjab as perTable 1: Borrowings from Different Agencies in Punjab as perTable 1: Borrowings from Different Agencies in Punjab as perTable 1: Borrowings from Different Agencies in Punjab as perTable 1: Borrowings from Different Agencies in Punjab as per
All India Debt and Investment Survey (1971-72)All India Debt and Investment Survey (1971-72)All India Debt and Investment Survey (1971-72)All India Debt and Investment Survey (1971-72)All India Debt and Investment Survey (1971-72)

(Percentage)

Agency As Per AIDIS (as on June 30, 1971)

Government 6.9 Cooperatives 32.0 Commercial banks 4.9 Relatives 14.8 Landlords 11.0 Agricultural moneylenders 9.3 Professional moneylenders 5.8 Traders and commission agents 12.3 Others 3.0

100.0

Source: Statistical Tables of AIDIS, 1971-72 published by RBI.

Table 2: Punjab – Flow of Agricultural CreditTable 2: Punjab – Flow of Agricultural CreditTable 2: Punjab – Flow of Agricultural CreditTable 2: Punjab – Flow of Agricultural CreditTable 2: Punjab – Flow of Agricultural Credit

(Rs Lakh)

Year Cooperatives Commercial Total Cooperatives’ Commercial Banks Share Banks’ (Per Cent) Share (Per Cent)

1970-71 8410.45 1799.39 10209.84 82.38 17.62 1971-72 9223.18 2750.96 11974.14 77.03 22.97 1972-73 12573.92 3756.96 16330.88 76.99 23.01 1973-74 8665.28 5327.86 13993.14 61.93 38.07 1974-75 9633.62 6808.43 16442.05 58.59 41.41 1975-76 8648.46 7497.11 16145.57 53.57 46.43 1976-77 10979.58 9866.24 20845.82 52.67 47.33 1977-78 12284.25 10943.76 23228.01 52.89 47.11 1978-79 16895.78 11923.31 28819.09 58.63 41.37 1979-80 22942.87 12935.47 35878.34 63.95 36.05 1980-81 24058.45 14458.14 38516.59 62.46 37.54 1981-82 29819.65 14228.31 44047.96 67.70 32.30 1982-83 38280.76 13220.84 51501.60 74.33 25.67 1983-84 42978.88 16120.20 59099.08 72.72 27.28 1984-85 48652.19 16528.87 65181.06 74.64 25.36 1985-86 44109.68 15406.13 59515.81 74.11 25.89 1986-87 49140.08 17515.00 66655.08 73.72 26.28 1987-88 45233.02 19784.09 65017.11 69.57 30.43 1988-89 42918.79 23725.09 66643.88 64.40 35.60 1989-90 57307.62 25767.76 83075.38 68.98 31.02 1990-91 51358.30 27545.22 78903.52 65.09 34.91 1991-92 66015.25 34311.88 100327.13 65.80 34.20 1992-93 74724.07 39011.19 113735.26 65.70 34.30 1993-94 84592.74 44359.61 128952.35 65.60 34.40 1994-95 102496.73 53996.85 156493.58 65.50 34.50 1995-96 106257.63 67240.12 173497.75 61.24 38.76 1996-97 129843.44 79904.86 209748.30 61.90 38.10 1997-98 154319.70 116179.80 270499.50 57.05 42.95 1998-99 198170.74 136682.04 334852.78 59.18 40.82 1999-00 221994.48 183243.25 405237.73 54.78 45.22 2000-01 240705.17 213073.35 453778.52 53.04 46.96 2001-02 289903.40 269272.01 559175.41 51.84 48.16 2002-03 321402.71 349281.86 670684.57 47.92 52.08

Source: See Note 1.

However, the share of commercial banks in agricultural credit flow is at a variance with field level empirical studies on rural credit and indebtedness in Punjab. The Shergill study estimates the short-term credit disbursed by cooperatives to be Rs 1,059.86 crore and that by commercial banks to be Rs 146.89 crore for the year 1996-97 [Shergill 1998]. As per State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) data the disbursements by cooperatives in 1996-97 was Rs 1,086.44 crore, more or less similar to the amount estimated by Shergill but the commercial bank figure is Rs 422.51 crore, which is 2.88 times the figure estimated in the study. This indicates that there seem to be serious flaws in the reporting of the crop loan data by commercial banks. This discrepancy is reinforced in a field study conducted by the author in 2002. Apparently a variety of loans disbursed by commercial banks are being booked as crop loans. Though this credit may be used by farmers themselves, they are not exactly being used for crop production purposes. There were also reports that totality of all drawals in Kisan Credit Card (KCC) accounts are being counted as flow of credit rather than the limit. The increasing share of the commercial banks in crop loans especially since 1998-99 has thus been more of a statistical/reporting phenomenon rather than actual growth of their share in the crop production credit that is actually being used by farmers at the ground level.

The analysis in this section indicates that over the years the commercial banks have been gradually increasing their share of agricultural credit, but they have not been able to displace cooperatives as the dominant credit dispensing agency especially for short-term or production credit in Punjab. However aggregations from field studies indicate that there is an over-reporting of agricultural credit flow data by commercial banks. The time series analysis also reveals that both the formal sector institutions have been displaying an inconsistent performance in growth of credit to agriculture. This is an indication of a lack of policy thrust in increasing credit to agriculture in a consistent manner. This is a feedback to the policy-makers that despite the apparently impressive performance displayed by an aggregation of statistics, a closer analysis reveals that financial institutions have not pursued a systematic and comprehensive long-term policy for agricultural credit growth in Punjab.

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Rural Indebtedness in PunjabRural Indebtedness in PunjabRural Indebtedness in PunjabRural Indebtedness in PunjabRural Indebtedness in Punjab

Indebtedness is a function of availability of credit in relation to its demand, as also the ability of the recipient to service it. Farm indebtedness per se is not an issue. If properly serviced through income generated from farm operations, debt would not turn into a burden. The servicing ability of the recipient is related to his ability to generate sufficient returns from the activity in which the credit is deployed. This aspect would take us to the issue of productivity of agriculture in Punjab. In comparison to other states, Punjab scores in terms of its agricultural productivity, but since the late 1980s the growth rates in agricultural productivity have slowed down.

Indebtedness is also a function of credit availability in relation to cost of cultivation. The availability of short-term credit in relation to the cost of cultivation has been analysed. The availability of short-term credit from institutional sources per hectare of NSA is indicated in Table 4.

The scale of finance for major crops in Punjab for the year 2002-03 is indicated in Table 5.

From Tables 4 and 5 it can be discerned that in 2002-03 the average availability of short-term credit ranged from 122.51 per cent of the per ha requirement of crops like maize and unirrigated wheat to 42.45 per cent of the requirement of high investment crops like sugar cane and potato. For crops that together constitute

83.8 per cent of the gross cropped area in the state, the average availability of short-term credit per ha is 86.29 per cent of requirement in case of irrigated wheat, 80.81 per cent in case of paddy and 66.12 per cent in respect of cotton. With these ratios of short-term credit availability to scale of finance per ha of NSA, the availability and adequacy of short-term credit from institutional sources can be deemed to be at a reasonable level in 2002-03.

Rural indebtedness in Punjab has been an enduring issue over the decades. In 1920s it was vividly described by Malcolm Darling in his seminal work “Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt” [Darling 1925]. He says, “Punjab which is one of the most prosperous provinces is also probably the most indebted”. With a certain difference in the degree, possibly the situation remains the same even today.

The study on indebtedness among the farmers of Punjab and Haryana reveals the perceptions of farmers about different credit

Table 3: Annual and Decennial Growth Rates ofTable 3: Annual and Decennial Growth Rates ofTable 3: Annual and Decennial Growth Rates ofTable 3: Annual and Decennial Growth Rates ofTable 3: Annual and Decennial Growth Rates of
Total Agricultural Credit Flow in PunjabTotal Agricultural Credit Flow in PunjabTotal Agricultural Credit Flow in PunjabTotal Agricultural Credit Flow in PunjabTotal Agricultural Credit Flow in Punjab

(Per cent)

Period Cooperatives Commercial Banks All Institutions Average Decennial Average Decennial Average Decennial Annual Increase Annual Increase Annual Increase Growth Growth Growth Rate Rate Rate

1970-71 to

1979-80 14.22 172.79 25.46 618.88 16.02 251.41 1980-81 to

1989-90 10.52 138.2 7.59 78.22 9.17 115.69 1990-91 to

1999-2000 15.09 332.25 22.11 565.25 17.58 413.59 1990-91 to

2002-03* 14.66 525.8 22.57 1168.03 17.76 750.01

* For the 13-year period 1990-91 to 2002-03. Source: See Note 1.

Table 4: Short-term Credit Flow (in Rs per ha of NSA)Table 4: Short-term Credit Flow (in Rs per ha of NSA)Table 4: Short-term Credit Flow (in Rs per ha of NSA)Table 4: Short-term Credit Flow (in Rs per ha of NSA)Table 4: Short-term Credit Flow (in Rs per ha of NSA)

Year Short-term Credit Flow per/ha of NSA

1970-71 148.40 1980-81 566.98 1990-91 1347.04 1994-95 2701.09 2000-01 8354.78 2002-03 12728.59

Source: See Note 1.

Table 5: Scale of Finance for Major Crops in Punjab for 2002-03Table 5: Scale of Finance for Major Crops in Punjab for 2002-03Table 5: Scale of Finance for Major Crops in Punjab for 2002-03Table 5: Scale of Finance for Major Crops in Punjab for 2002-03Table 5: Scale of Finance for Major Crops in Punjab for 2002-03

(in Rs per ha)

Crop Cash Kind Total

Wheat-Irrigated 9250 5000 14250 Wheat-Unirrigated 6125 3500 9625 Paddy 10250 5500 15750 Cotton 12250 7000 19250 Sugarcane 20000 10000 30000 Maize 6125 3500 9625 Oilseeds 7000 4000 11000 Potato 20000 10000 30000 Vegetables 16000 8000 24000

Source: Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Punjab.

agencies. In Punjab, for long-term productive credit 79.21 per cent farmers preferred institutional agencies, i e, commercial banks and cooperative sector institutions. Only about 20.79 per cent preferred commission agents and professional moneylenders. Out of the two institutional agencies, commercial banks were clearly the choice of the highest proportion – 59.32 per cent of surveyed farmers revealed their preference for commercial banks for getting long-term productive loans. For long-term nonproductive purposes, the reverse was the case – as high as 85.89 per cent preferred traditional credit agencies (commission agents, moneylenders, etc) and only 14.11 per cent showed their preference for institutional agencies. Out of the two institutional agencies, commercial banks were again ahead of the cooperative sector institutions so far as farmers’ preference for non-productive longterm loans was concerned. In the short-term credit market, the commission agents were the preference of a higher proportion

(56.67 per cent) of farmers, cooperative sector was the second preference (35.10 per cent) and commercial banks the preference of only about 5.87 per cent of surveyed farmers [GoI 1998].

In a study of rural credit in Patiala and Kapurthala districts of Punjab it was observed that 64 per cent of the households depended on both formal as well as informal sources, while 24 per cent got loans only from the informal sources and 6 per cent from formal sources only. Among the formal sources, cooperative banks dominated with 62 per cent of total households, followed by commercial banks with 24 per cent. The study also shows that in the case of formal credit, the sample households utilised 96 per cent of their credit for productive purposes and only 4 per cent for consumption or social needs. In case of informal credit, 64 per cent was spent for productive purposes and the rest for consumption purposes etc. The overdependence of farmers on informal sources, especially for consumption purposes, is because cooperative and commercial banks supply credit for specific purposes and ask for timely repayment of loans [Kaur 2000]

The most comprehensive study till date on rural indebtedness in Punjab [Shergill 1998] reveals that 89.29 per cent of farmers in Punjab were found to be taking short-term loans from different credit agencies to carry out their crop productions operations. The percentage of borrowers did not differ much among different sized holdings; 63.85 per cent of farmers were taking crop loans from commission agents, 51.35 per cent from cooperative credit societies and 8.85 per cent from commercial and RRBs and 54.22 per cent of farmers were found to be borrowing from more than one of these credit agencies. Amount borrowed (of short-term loans) per operated acre was the highest among small farmers (Rs 4,536) and the lowest among large farmers (Rs 2,488). For all farmers taken together the average amount borrowed per operated acre was Rs 3,590.

The total short-term loans taken by Punjab farmers in the survey reference year (1997) amounted to Rs 3,119.33 crore. Out of these 3,119.33 crore, 61.31 per cent (Rs 1,912.58 crore) were advanced by commission agents, 33.98 per cent (Rs 1,059.86 crore) were advanced by Primary Cooperative Agricultural Credit Societies (PCACS) and only 4.71 per cent (Rs 146.89 crore) were advanced by commercial and RRBs and 27.53 per cent of surveyed farmers had taken long-term loans for productive purposes like purchase of tractors, etc. Amount outstanding of loans for long-term productive purposes came to Rs 6,321 per operated acre for all the farmers taken together. Amount per operated acre was highest among semi-medium farmers (Rs 13,964) and small farmers (Rs 13,335) and lower among large farmers (Rs 11,291) and lowest among medium farmers (Rs 1,541). Estimated amount of long-term productive loans outstanding in respect of farmers in Punjab comes to Rs 1,853.64 crore. Out of this total amount 51.79 per cent (Rs 960.06 crore) has been advanced by commercial banks and 26.30 per cent (Rs 487.56 crore) has been advanced by primary land development banks. Using the per acre outstanding debt arrived at during the course of the study and multiplying it with the gross operated area, the total rural indebtedness in Punjab is estimated in Table 6.

The study also assessed the farmers’ perceptions about the causes of indebtedness which is enumerated in Table 7.

It may be seen that the biggest proportion of surveyed farmers

(36.10 per cent) attributed indebtedness to excess expenditure on domestic consumption and social ceremonies. High farm input prices (mentioned by 30.80 per cent) and frequent crop failures

(18.50 per cent) were other two major causes of farmers’ indebtedness in the perception of surveyed farmers. To have an idea of the level indebtedness since 1997, using the same methodology of the Shergill study, a study was carried out in 2002 by the author. The level of indebtedness of Punjab farmers is estimated on the basis of this study at Rs 12,506.37 crore as enumerated in Table 8.

The significant feature to be observed in this study is that for the first time institutional sources have crossed the half way mark in the outstanding debt of farmers in Punjab by reaching a level of 54.55 per cent. This is mainly attributable to the revolving cash credit (RCC) scheme introduced by the Punjab State Cooperative Bank and the KCC, both of which enhanced the involvement of cooperative banks and commercial banks in agricultural credit, especially short-term.

Surprisingly the analysis pertaining to Punjab presented in NSSO’s situation assessment survey of farmers’ indebtedness

Table 6: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab FarmersTable 6: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab FarmersTable 6: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab FarmersTable 6: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab FarmersTable 6: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab Farmers
(for Survey Year 1997)(for Survey Year 1997)(for Survey Year 1997)(for Survey Year 1997)(for Survey Year 1997)

(Rs in crore)

Commercial Cooperative Informal Total Banks Sources

Short term 146.89 1059.86 1912.58 3119.33 (annual Productive (4.71) (33.98) (61.31) (54.72) flow)

Long term Productive 960.06 487.56 406.56 1853.64 (amount (51.79) (26.30) (21.91) (38.16) outstanding)

Long term Non-– – 727.94 727.94 (amount Productive (100.00) (7.12) outstanding)

Total 1106.95 1547.42 3046.54 5700.91

(19.42) (27.14) (53.44) (100.00)

Notes: Informal sources include commission agents for short-term credit and long-term non-productive credit and agriculturalist mortgage lenders for long-term productive credit. Figures in parentheses are percentages.

Source: Shergill (1998).

Table 7: Farmers’ Perceptions about Causes of IndebtednessTable 7: Farmers’ Perceptions about Causes of IndebtednessTable 7: Farmers’ Perceptions about Causes of IndebtednessTable 7: Farmers’ Perceptions about Causes of IndebtednessTable 7: Farmers’ Perceptions about Causes of Indebtedness

Sl No Perception Description Percentage

1 Abnormally high prices of farm inputs 30.80 2 Excessive expenditure on domestic consumption 21.50 3 Crop failures and fluctuations in crop yields 18.50 4 Excessive expenditure on social ceremonies like marriages 14.60 5 Low prices received for farm produce 7.30 6 Low and stagnant crop yields 4.60 7 Unjustified/irrational purchase of tractors 1.50 8 Laziness 1.20

Source: Shergill (1998).

[NSSO, 2005] is at variance not only from the above two studies but also other studies referred to in this paper, viz, GoI (1998), Sidhu et al (1999), Kaur (2000) and Singh (2000). As per NSSO, the outstanding debt of Punjab farmers, worked out on the basis of average outstanding debt per farmer household and the total number of indebted farmer households, is Rs 5,452.29 crore which is less than even the 1997 estimate of Shergill. The share of various agencies in outstanding debt is indicated in Table 9

The above data is in sharp variance with all the existing empirical studies on rural credit in Punjab. Two pieces of data are clear giveaways. The higher share of cooperatives as compared to banks is corroborated in all studies as well as official statistics (RBI, NABARD, government of Punjab and SLBC). Another fact which is clearly discernable not only from documented studies but also from an understanding of the ground level situation in Punjab is that the outstanding debt with the ‘arthiya’ or commission agent is far higher than that with the agriculturalist/ professional moneylender.

The vexatious question that arises in the matter of indebtedness of the Punjab farmer is the role of the commission agent or the arthiya. Shergill’s study indicated that 63.85 per cent of the surveyed farmers were getting short-term credit from commission agents. Of these, 56.2 per cent were purchasing their fertilisers on credit from commission agents or dealers tied with them and

70.12 per cent of these borrowing farmers felt that they cannot carry on their farming operations successfully without the credit and marketing facilities made available by commission agents. However, there was also considerable dissatisfaction among the farmers with the arthiyas. Whereas 79.02 per cent felt that commission agents were charging very high interest rates, 31.77 per cent felt that there was even some tampering of their accounts by commission agents and 56.19 per cent were of the view that commission agents charged higher than market price for fertilisers sold to them on credit. 36.21 per cent complained of getting a lower than market price for their farm produce because they have to sell through the commission agents under compulsion [Shergill 1998].

The farmer regards the arthiya as a necessary evil. Though his dealings are not above board and the cost of his credit is high, his services are required for smoothening the consumption and emergency credit requirements. The arthiya also eases the market channels for the farmer through his services. The Punjab farmer has got accustomed to the comfort levels being provided by the arthiya. The arthiya has thus become entrenched in the agrarian and socio-economic scenario of Punjab. The author’s field study also corroborates the ubiquitousness of the arthiya. The study reveals that 78 per cent of cooperative bank borrowers and 75 per cent of commercial bank borrowers are also the borrowers of the arthiya. This is an indication that even borrowers availing credit facilities from the formal sector desire to keep their credit and marketing channels through the commission agents open.

The indication is that while there exists indebtedness among the peasantry in Punjab, it is difficult to qualify it as high or low on a scientific basis. The analysis also reveals the fact that on a per hectare basis, institutional credit flow in Punjab has not been found wanting. While the previous section does bring out the fact that the growth of institutional credit flow had been erratic, it also negates the unsubstantiated statements made from time to time about the total lack of institutional credit in Punjab. As such indebtedness does not flow as a corollary of lack of institutional credit flow, but is an outcome of various factors including excessive consumption expenditure and plateauing of returns from agriculture.

IVIVIVIVIV
Suicides in Rural PunjabSuicides in Rural PunjabSuicides in Rural PunjabSuicides in Rural PunjabSuicides in Rural Punjab

Suicides in rural Punjab had been engaging media attention from time to time. These reports surfaced first in 1990, then in 1998, 2001 and again 2004. These reports tried to establish a direct causal relationship between indebtedness and suicides and usually came up with suggestions and solutions like waiver of loans and moratorium on debts. But most of the reports were journalistic accounts and varied in their estimates and explanations. The issue had acquired political overtones with allegations of exaggerations as well as under-estimation and the intervention of kisan unions.

The most comprehensive study on suicides in Punjab is that of Kumar and Sharma [Kumar and Sharma 1998]. The study discusses the comparative analysis of data of the National Crime Reporting Bureau (NCRB) which shows that suicide rate in India per lakh of population was 7.0 in the year 1985, it increased to

8.9 in 1990 and 9.7 in 1995. Punjab was not one of the states with a high suicide rate. In 1985, the suicide rate registered was

0.53 per lakh population and increased to 0.72 in 1990 and thereafter to 1.70 in 1995, ranking 18th. However it has to be acknowledged that keeping up with all India trends, the suicide rates in Punjab have also been increasing, and also at a higher rate. Between 1985 and 1990 the all India average grew by 27.14 per cent, whereas Punjab showed an increase of 35.85 per cent. Similarly between 1990 and 1995 the all India increase was 8.99 per cent, whereas in Punjab it increased by 136.11 per cent.

Table 8: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab Farmers (for 2002)Table 8: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab Farmers (for 2002)Table 8: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab Farmers (for 2002)Table 8: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab Farmers (for 2002)Table 8: Estimates of Indebtedness of Punjab Farmers (for 2002)

(Rs in crore)

Commercial Cooperatives Informal Total Banks Sources

Short-term (annual flow) Productive 976.26 2340.45 2752.67 6069.38

(16.08) (38.57) (45.35) (48.53)

Long-term (amount outstanding) Productive 2078.87 1426.38 1242.15 4747.40

(43.79) (30.05) (26.16) (37.96)

Long-term Non-productive – – 1689.59 1689.59 (amount (100.00) (13.51) outstanding)

Total 3055.13 3766.83 5684.41 12506.37

(24.43) (30.12) (45.45) (100.00)

Notes: Informal sources include commission agents for short-term credit and long-term non productive credit and agriculturalist mortgage lenders for long-term productive credit. Figures in parentheses are percentages.

Source: Author’s field study (2002).

Table 9: Distribution of Outstanding Debt of Farmers amongstTable 9: Distribution of Outstanding Debt of Farmers amongstTable 9: Distribution of Outstanding Debt of Farmers amongstTable 9: Distribution of Outstanding Debt of Farmers amongstTable 9: Distribution of Outstanding Debt of Farmers amongst
Different Agencies in PunjabDifferent Agencies in PunjabDifferent Agencies in PunjabDifferent Agencies in PunjabDifferent Agencies in Punjab

(Percentage)

Agency As per NSSO (January-December 2003)

Government 1.9 Cooperatives 17.6 Banks 28.4 Relatives and friends 6.3 Doctors, lawyers and other professionals 0.6 Agriculturalist/Professional moneylenders 36.3 Traders and commission agents 8.2 Others 0.7

100.0

Source: NSSO (2005).

There had been widespread reports on the spate of farmers’ suicides in Punjab. The analysis of Punjab Police Statistics between 1991 and 1997 does not corroborate this view. The share of farmers’ suicides to total suicides in Punjab was only 23.18 per cent in the period. Sangrur district which ranked first in the suicide rate also had the highest share – 50 per cent of farmers’ suicides to total suicides. [Kumar and Sharma 1998] Interestingly two blocks of this district – Andana and Lehra Gagga – have been the focus of many a reportage and study on farmers’ suicides.

The study also examined the causes of suicides. The causes of suicides as reported by close relatives of suicide victims in terms of interface of socio-economic and psychological factors are enumerated in Table 10.

The above table is a clear indication that while indebtedness was one of the causes for suicides, it was not the overwhelming cause. The study also compared indebtedness among suicide households and the general sample and found that only 41.5 per cent of suicide victims were indebted, whereas 71.4 per cent of the general sample was indebted as Table 11 indicates.

Even on the question of indebtedness the study found that the usage of credit by the suicide victims’ households had been more for unproductive purposes in comparison to a general household (Table 12). It was found that there was widespread use by these households of credit for meeting daily household needs, marriages and family celebrations and events, buying of consumer goods, alcohol and drugs etc. In a caste ridden milieu, the penetration of consumerism and its demonstration, in terms of

Table 10:Table 10:Table 10:Table 10:Table 10:
Reported Causes of SuicideReported Causes of SuicideReported Causes of SuicideReported Causes of SuicideReported Causes of Suicide

Sl No Causes Percentage

1 Family discord 35.79 2 Alcohol and illicit drug abuse 17.89 3 Indebtedness 17.89 4 Loss of status 16.84 5 Lack of resources 6.32 6 Death of a family member 3.16 7 Quarrel with in-laws 1.05 8 Impotency 1.05 9 Crop failure 1.05

Note: Total does not add up as many respondents reported more than one cause. Source: Kumar and Sharma (1998).

Table 11:Table 11:Table 11:Table 11:Table 11:
Indebtedness Among Suicide Cases and General SampleIndebtedness Among Suicide Cases and General SampleIndebtedness Among Suicide Cases and General SampleIndebtedness Among Suicide Cases and General SampleIndebtedness Among Suicide Cases and General Sample

(Percentage)

Sl No Category Suicide Victims General Sample

1 Indebted 41.5 71.4 2 Not under debt 58.5 28.6

Source: Kumar and Sharma (1998).

Table 12:Table 12:Table 12:Table 12:Table 12:
Usage of Credit by FarmersUsage of Credit by FarmersUsage of Credit by FarmersUsage of Credit by FarmersUsage of Credit by Farmers

(Percentage)

Sl No Purpose Suicide Victims General Sample

1 Productive 31.8 80.0 2 Unproductive 68.2 20.0

Source: Kumar and Sharma (1998).

Table 13:Table 13:Table 13:Table 13:Table 13:
Suicide Victims Selling Their LandSuicide Victims Selling Their LandSuicide Victims Selling Their LandSuicide Victims Selling Their LandSuicide Victims Selling Their Land

(Percentage)

Sl No Status Percentage

1 Not applicable (landless) 49.0 2 Not sold 45.3 3 Sold 5.7

Source: Kumar and Sharma (1998).

conspicuous consumption and widespread effect of dowry have constrained the coping capacity of the lower and middle strata of the peasantry. A number of suicides were noticed among those for whom the use of credit for conspicuous consumption had aggravated the stress situation.

It stands to reason that resort to suicide, especially by an indebted farmer, would be after he had exhausted all courses, including the disposal of his assets, especially land. However the field data does not corroborate this assumption as Table 13 indicates.

Only 5.7 per cent of the suicide victims had sold off their land. This is hardly surprising as the decision to sell land is always a hard one in village life, as it is resented by family and leads to a loss in status for the seller. This fact reinforces the data in Table 10 which indicated that indebtedness is the cause for only 17.89 per cent of suicides. As referred to above Andana and Lehra Gagga blocks in Sangrur district have been the focus of several reports and studies [Iyer 1999; MASR 2001]. A joint field study was taken up by the lead bank in January 2002 [SBoP 2002] in these blocks on a sample basis to cross verify the suicide cases reported in a representation to the union agriculture ministery [MASR 2001]. A sample of suicide victims’ families visited and the results of those visits are enumerated as under: Village Alampur: Bhim Singh s/o Magher Singh: The team met Magher Singh, father of the victim at their residence. He said that the cause of suicide was dispute with his wife. The family owns 40 acres of land and their outstanding debt was Rs 2.50 lakh and not Rs 8 lakh as mentioned in the representation.

Avtar Singh s/o Jagmel Singh: The father of the deceased was not available but the team met Bikker Singh, brother as also the sister-in-law of the victim. Jagmel Singh, the father, was a pensioner and the family owned 8 acres of land. Avatar Singh had no debt burden. Villagers informed the team that the death was due to overdose of drugs. Village Lehal Kalan: Niranjan Singh s/o Tarlok Singh: He owned 18 acres of land. He was a borrower from the local State Bank of Patalia for a crop loan as well as a tractor loan, both of which were regularly repaid. Family perceives no link of his death with indebtedness.

Kala Singh s/o Nachhattar Singh: He was a small farmer and had no loan from banks or arthiyas. Villagers’ view is that suicide was due to poverty.

Ajaib Singh s/o Labh Singh: Ajaib Singh was also a small farmer and unmarried. He was not indebted to any source. Reasons for death could not be ascertained. Village Andana: Chandi Ram s/o Dharam Pal: Chandi Ram was reprimanded by the panchayat in an incident of misbehaviour with a girl of the same village. Suicide was an outcome of this shame. Village Bakhora Khurd: Jagsir Singh s/o Gurcharan Singh: He was the only son of his parents and was working as an assistant to a milkman. He had no known record of outstanding debt. The family shifted to another village and the reasons for death could not be ascertained. Village Ladal: Sehmi: It was ascertained that it was an accidental death due to electrocution. Village Rampura Jawaharwala: Bhola Singh s/o Ghumand Singh: He was involved in drug peddling and had strained relationship with his wife. Suicide was a resultant of family dispute.

Shamsher Singh s/o Sadhu Singh: He was an alcoholic and the villagers aver that the suicide took place after a bitter fight with his wife.

Village Dhindsa: Surjit Singh s/o Shera Singh: Surjit Singh’s wife died in an accident and due to that shock he consumed pesticides and gave it to his 11 year old son also. The son could be saved by villagers but Surjit Singh died.

Sansar Singh s/o Jang Singh: Sansar Singh was a small farmer and had sold off his land. He committed suicide immediately afterwards.

While the above is only a sample, it amply demonstrates that all the deaths reported are not suicides and a good number of them are deaths due to natural causes. Even amongst the cases established as suicides the causes are manifold: family disputes, drug addiction, alcoholism, poverty, and of course, indebtedness.

Suicide is not an impulsive act by an individual. The various circumstances leading to it can be categorised as “events”, “stressors”, “actors/catalysts” and “triggers”. “Trigger” is the one which forces the final act [Durkheim 1952]. It is also necessary to distinguish between predisposing and precipitating factors of a suicide. But it is not possible to advance a foolproof list of predisposing and precipitating factors. Such a specification will always be contextual. A factor which serves as a predisposing factor in one case may turn into a precipitating factor in another and vice-versa. Yet a tentative identification may be of some analytical value. In light of the findings, it appears that chronic domestic discord, regular and heavy use of alcohol and illicit drugs, cumulative debt and social isolation served as predisposing factors in most of the cases. Sudden family discord, sense of humiliation, injured self esteem and loss of near and dear ones served as precipitating factors [Kumar and Sharma 1998].

The study also analysed people’s perceptions about suicides. When asked about their views regarding the causes of the current spurt in suicides, 28 per cent of the respondents accorded first priority to alcohol and drug abuse, closely followed by indebtedness (26 per cent) and domestic discord (20 per cent). Thus about two-thirds of the respondents accorded first priority to these three causes. It is interesting that crop failure, burden of social ceremonies and dowry, loss of prestige and mental illness did not figure at all among the first ranking causes. Domestic discord emerged at the top among the second ranking causes, reported by 32 per cent, followed by indebtedness (14 per cent) and crop damage. Thus, the prominent causes of suicides as perceived by the people are: alcohol and drug abuse, indebtedness and domestic discord. Though the order of priority is different, the causes of suicides as indicated by the victims’ families and as perceived by people in general are similar. And in both the instances multiple causation rather than single causation holds the key. It would therefore be difficult to attribute macro-causal explanations to suicides like crop failure etc [Kumar and Sharma 1998].

VVVVV
ConclusionsConclusionsConclusionsConclusionsConclusions

The above analysis reveals that over the years since the nationalisation of banks and the green revolution, institutional credit for agriculture has grown in Punjab. However, the growth rates have not been uniform keeping in tune with the demand for such credit. Indebtedness has also increased in the state, but a large part of the debt has been used for non-productive purposes. The incidence of suicides in Punjab has not been higher than the all India averages and the sample of field level investigations reveal that while indebtedness is indeed is one of the major causes for suicides, it is not the only cause nor the main cause. As such it can be concluded that there is no direct causal relationship between institutional credit, indebtedness and suicides in rural Punjab.

The increase in the rate of suicides among farmers in Punjab should be understood in the background of the crisis of agrarian transformation which has permeated into all facets of rural life. It cannot be termed as merely an agricultural crisis. It is the crisis of overall stagnation in the economy, decline in peasant movements, retrogressive social practices and conspicuous consumption, rising unemployment and inequalities [Kumar and Sharma 1998].

The stagnation of Punjab began in 1990s. With the onset of the green revolution Punjab moved ahead to become the richest state in the country. In the 1960s its economy grew at 7 per cent and 5.4 per cent in 1970s and 1980s, almost one and a half to two times faster than the rate of growth of rest of India. But in 1990s the growth rate slipped to 4.3 per cent, significantly lower than all India average of 6.1 per cent. It was just ahead of Orissa and Bihar at the bottom. Agricultural growth slowed down substantially during 1990s to a mere 2.6 per cent well below the national average of 3.2 per cent, relative to a rate of 7.4 per cent in 1960s and 5.4 per cent in 1980s. Though there is a nominal productivity growth in wheat, the productivity of rice appears to be plateauing. The total factor productivity (TFP) growth of the crop sector fell from 1.55 per cent per annum in 1980s to 0.05 per cent in 1990s. Annual growth in per capita state development expenditure has also declined from 7.6 per cent in 1970s and 1980s to 3.2 per cent during 1990s. Real agricultural wages have grown very little in this period, and are at the lowest rate among all states. Labour absorption capacity of agriculture is also on the decline. The total labour absorption in agriculture in Punjab declined by 7.24 per cent during the triennium ending 1992-93 as compared to the triennium ending 1983-84 and further by 3.12 per cent during the triennium ending 1996-97.The overall decline in employment is estimated at 10.14 per cent in 1996-97 over 1983-84. In contrast the employment growth in the organised sector was only 0.86 per cent per annum between 1990 and 1999.3

It is turning out to be increasingly difficult to maintain the levels of human development also. In the health sector, levels of infant mortality rate and under-five mortality rate have increased in the 1990s, whereas in the rest of India they have fallen. Key education sector indicators like the literacy rate and primary enrolment ratio have also slowed down. It is the 10th highest literate state in the country, 30 percentage points below Kerala. Punjab ranks 16th in the Gender Empowerment Index. According to the 2001 census, the sex ratio in Punjab at 874 females per 1000 males is lower than it was in 1991 (882), and is well below the ratio

(933) for the country as a whole. The sex ratio of the 0-6 population has declined more drastically from 875 in 1991 to 793 in 2001 and the child mortality rate for girls is four times higher than that for boys. Gender discrimination has economic costs also. The gap in work participation rate among men and women at 35 per cent in Punjab is one of the highest in the country.

Rural Punjab faces the twin problem of rising unemployment and deteriorating work culture among the youth. This has given rise to the craze to emmigrate, legally as well as illegally and the increasing problem of alcoholism and drug addiction. The degeneration of traditional value systems under the onslaught of commercialisation and rising consumerism has left the rural society bereft of coping strategies. Remarkably, Punjab is a state with few civil society institutions.

Thus, the problems of indebtedness as well as suicides do not merit narrow interpretation or solution as these are only symptoms of a larger malaise. These have to be contextualised in the light of stagnation of agricultural growth, rising levels of rural unemployment, dissipation of economic and social infrastructure and structural retrogression in the social fabric in the state. The way forward has to look holistically at these issues rather than suggesting simplistic and ephemeral solutions like across the board loan waivers or relief packages to suicide victims’ families.

Way ForwardWay ForwardWay ForwardWay ForwardWay Forward

The following could be the broad policy framework for dealing with problems of rural Punjab in a comprehensive manner:

  • (1) Viable and modern technologies have to be propagated in agriculture and allied sectors. This would entail substantial scaling up of funding for agricultural research at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) as well as other Indian Council of Agricultural Research affiliated institutions. Transferring the technologies with their package of practices to the farmers’ fields presupposes an active extension machinery. The state government has to strengthen its extension departments like agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, etc, which have almost gone to the seed in the last decade without adequate financial support. Concurrently PAU has also to gear up its extension wing and its Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Information flow to farmers on technology, package of practices, inputs, markets and prices should be ensured through entities similar to e-centres or e-kendras.
  • (2) One area in which the state had abdicated its responsibility is the quality control of input supplies like fertiliser, pesticides and seeds. A reason for lower productivity was the supply of substandard and spurious inputs. The government has to ensure that its machinery for quality control of agricultural inputs is firmly in place and is also given sufficient teeth to ensure compliance.
  • (3) Diversification of Punjab agriculture has been touted as an alternative to the wheat-paddy rotation. But the comparative advantage of Punjab in wheat production and the food security of the nation have to be factored in into this alternative. Diversification will also see success only if an equivalent mechanism for MSP and procurement is in place. For ensuring this, the state government has to facilitate support services like marketing, storage and processing. Along with this, the infrastructure for price discovery and hedging the risk through commodity exchanges should be brought nearer to the farmers through simpler mechanisms.
  • (4) Punjab has to go in for investments in modernising and refurbishing the canal irrigation systems which have not seen a major upgradation in the last two decades. Investments should also be made in infrastructure like power, roads and drainage.
  • (5) The state should ensure the establishment of adequate risk mitigation and coping mechanisms for farmers like crop insurance and credit guarantee. The products available at present in these areas are neither adequate nor suitable for the Punjab farmer.
  • (6) The state should ensure the creation of an environment which supports effective financial intermediation and increases the access of farmers to financial services. It also has to facilitate the enforcement of collateral mechanism and ensure easy access to land records and other titles through computerisation. The state has also to unshackle the cooperative credit system by debureaucratisation and depoliticisation, in tune with the recommendations of the Vaidyanathan Committee.
  • (7) Despite the increasing share of the formal credit institutions, the informal sector, viz, the commission agent (arthiya) continues to have an important role as provider of credit and marketing
  • support. There have been frequent calls for doing away with the system of the commission agent. But this institution is so entrenched in the Punjab economy that its abolition is possible only through a broad political and societal consensus.

  • (8) Social infrastructure like education and health in Punjab requires immediate attention. Primary schools and primary health centres in rural areas are in a state of utter neglect.
  • (9) Civil society institutions including NGOs, religious organisations, peasant unions, panchayats and political parties have to come forward to sensitise and educate rural Punjab on social evils like conspicuous consumption, ostentatious expenditure on social functions, dowry problem, alcoholism, drug addiction and declining work ethic among youth.
  • These interventions will help Punjab agriculture regaining its pre-eminent position and enable the Punjab farmer to banish the spectre of indebtedness and suicides.

    mr:

    Email: satishp99@usa.net

    NotesNotesNotesNotesNotes

    [The views expressed are the personal views of the author and not those of the institution he works for.]

    1 The sources for the data on agricultural credit in Punjab are RBI Reports on Currency and Finance, State Focus Papers of NABARD, Statistical Abstracts of Punjab and State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) Reviews for various years. The data is for July-June till the year 1988-89 and April-March from 1989-90 onwards.

    2 In Punjab the share of RRBs in agricultural credit is small, ranging between 2 and 3 per cent of the total, as such data pertaining to RRBs has been included in the commercial bank data.

    3 Statistics are from Statistical Abstract of Punjab (Economic Advisor, Government of Punjab), Cost of Cultivation of Principal Crops in India(Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India) for various years and Census of India, 2001.

    ReferencesReferencesReferencesReferencesReferences

    Darling, Malcolm L (1925): ‘Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt’, Oxford University Press, London.

    Durkheim, E (1952): ‘Suicide: A Study in Sociology’, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.

    Government of India (1998): ‘Report of the High Level Committee on Indebtedness among Farmers of Punjab and Haryana’ (Chairman J N L Srivastava), Ministry of Agriculture, New Delhi.

    Iyer, K Gopal (1999): ‘Impoverisation, Indebtedness and Suicides in RuralPunjab’, Action Aid, Bangalore.

    Kaur, Gian (2000): ‘Rural Credit in Punjab-Existing gaps’ in R S Bawa and P S Raikhy (eds), Punjab Economy, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

    Kumar, Pramod and S L Sharma (Coordinators) (1998): ‘Suicides in Rural in Punjab’, Institute for Development and Communication, Chandigarh.

    Movement against State Repression (MASR) (2001): ‘Representation to theUnion Minister for Agriculture on Suicide Deaths of Farmers in Punjab’, Chandigarh.

    NSSO (2005): ‘Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers-Indebtedness of Farmer Households: NSS 59th Round (January-December 2003)’, National Sample Survey Organisation, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi.

    Reserve Bank of India (1978): ‘Review of Agricultural Development and Cooperative Credit in Punjab (1966-76)’, Bombay.

    Shergill, H S and Gurmail Singh (1995): ‘Rural Poverty in Punjab: Trend over the Green Revolution period’, Economic and Political Weekly, 30(26).

    Shergill, H S (1998): ‘Rural Credit and Indebtedness in Punjab’, Institute for Development and Communication, Chandigarh.

    Sidhu, R S Arjinder Kaur and Mini Goyal (1999): ‘Agricultural Growth in Punjab: District-wise Analysis’ Research Report’, Department of Agricultural Economics and Sociology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

    Singh, Balwinder (2000): ‘Nature and Extent of Institutional Credit in Rural Punjab’ in R S Bawa and P S Raikhy (eds), Punjab Economy,Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

    State Bank of Patiala (SBoP) (2002): ‘Joint Study on Reported Suicides in Andana and Lehra Gagga Blocks’, Sangrur (unpublished).

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