ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The agricultural sector employs a larger share of India’s workforce but its share in the national income has been relatively low. This in turn implies low returns to those who are dependent on it for their livelihood. The crisis in Indian agriculture is compounded by the fact that 85% of the operational landholdings belong to small and marginal farmers. Studies reveal that there has been a decline in farm incomes over time and that the majority of farmer households obtain incomes that are not sufficient to meet their consumption ­requirements, which then leads to the reliance on various ­formal and informal sources of credit. Data also reveal that indebtedness among farmer households has increased over time along with an increase in the average amount of debt. Owing to their low repayment capacity, this predicament ­subsequently pushes the smallholders into a vicious cycle of poverty and debt.

Smallholder agriculture in India today is in the throes of a deep crisis. Persistent problems related to the sustenance of farmer households, availability of credit and increasing indeb­tedness of small and marginal farmers have doggedly evaded easy and quick solutions and continue to perturb policymakers. In order to comprehend the magnitude of the crisis facing the small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers, amidst continuity and change in the institutional and policy frameworks of the past and present, this edition of the Review of Rural Affairs brings ­together a set of five articles that use diverse approaches and methodologies to draw inferences from both secondary and primary sources.

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Updated On : 5th Jul, 2021
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