Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned briefly during the day for the swearing in of the new President, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind.

However, after reconvening, the lower house could not take up take up scheduled business of the day due to disruptions.

The Upper House began discussion on the farmers’ distress leading to rise in their suicides in the country. Members participating in the debate emphasised on a number of key issues of the farming sector such as unavailability of rural credit, high dependence on rain by farmers, inadequate access to irrigation and unviable size of landholdings among other things. Members urged the government to waive off farm loans in states with high farmer distress. Solutions such as drip irrigation, strengthening of National Agriculture Markets through eNAM,  establishing credit institutions, creating a debt-relief commission, among other things were discussed.

  1. Agricultural growth has been fairly volatile over the past decade, ranging from 5.8% in 2005-06 to 0.4% in 2009-10 and -0.2% in 2014-15.Such a variance in agricultural growth has an impact on farm incomes as well as farmers’ ability to take credit for investing in their land holdings.
  2. India is among the top producers of several crops such as wheat, rice, pulses, sugarcane and cotton. However, the agricultural yield (quantity of a crop produced per unit of land) is found to be lower in the case of most crops, as compared to other top producing countries such as China, Brazil and the United States.
  3. The number of marginal land holdings (less than one hectare) increased from 36 million in 1971 to 93 million in 2011. Marginal and small land holdings face a number of issues, such as problems with using mechanisation and irrigation techniques.
  4.  Informal credit sources constitute 40% of loans. Key issues relating to agricultural credit are lack of access to formal credit owing to unclear land records, skewed ratio between short term and long term agricultural credit, and inadequate access to crop insurance.

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