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50 pc of farm households indebted: Survey

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, May 3

CLOSE to 50 per cent of the farmer households in the country are indebted, a survey on indebtedness of farmer households carried out by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) has revealed.

The organisation's `Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers' during January-December 2003 has found that 43.42 million (48.6 per cent) of the estimated 89.35 million farmer households are indebted. A farmer household was considered to be indebted if it had any loan in cash or kind of Rs 300 or more at the time of transaction.

In all, 51,770 sample farmer households spread across 6,638 villages were surveyed throughout India , except for Leh (Ladakh) and Kargil districts of Jammu and Kashmir, interior villages of Nagaland situated beyond five km of any bus route, and villages in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which remain inaccessible.

At an all-India level, the survey has held that there are 147.90 million rural households, out of which 89.35 million are farmer households.

The survey also showed that more than half of the indebted farmer households belonged to Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.

Out of an estimated 43.4 million indebted farmer households, 6.9 million belonged to Uttar Pradesh, 4.9 million to Andhra Pradesh, 3.6 million to Maharashtra, 3.5 million to West Bengal and 3.2 million to Madhya Pradesh.

The incidence of indebtedness was highest in Andhra Pradesh (82 per cent), followed by Tamil Nadu (74.5 per cent), Punjab (65.4 per cent), Kerala (64.4 per cent), Karnataka (61.6 per cent) and Maharashtra (54.8 per cent). Further, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal each had about 50-53 per cent farmer households in debt. States with very low proportion of indebted farmer households were Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Average outstanding loan per farmer household was highest in Punjab, followed by Kerala, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 4, 2005)
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