Over 50% Agricultural Households Are Indebted, Farm Debt Rose by 58% In 5 Years: NSO Survey

The average outstanding loan per household was at Rs 74,121 in 2018-19 compared with Rs 47,000 in 2012-2013, the survey noted.

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New Delhi: The farm debt per household has increased 57.7% in 2018 compared with data from 2013, according to a survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO). Over 50% of agricultural households in the country were in debt with an average outstanding loan per household at Rs 74,121 in 2018 compared with Rs 47,000 in 2013, the Indian Express reported, adding that it was the highest in Andhra Pradesh at Rs 2.45 lakh and lowest in Nagaland at Rs 1,750.

The survey further points out that only 69.6% of the outstanding loans were taken from institutional sources like banks, cooperative societies and government agencies, while 20.5% of loans were from professional money lenders.

Of the total loan, only 57.5% was taken for agricultural purposes, it added.

The Ministry of Programme Implementation and Statistics on Friday released the Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land Holdings of Households in Rural India, 2019.

An agricultural household is defined as a household receiving more than Rs 4000 as value of produce from agricultural activities and having at least one member self-employed in agriculture either in the principal status or in subsidiary status during the last 365 days. In the 77th round of the NSO survey, entirely agricultural labour households and households receiving income entirely from coastal fishing, the activity of rural artisans and agricultural services were not considered as agricultural households. They were kept outside the scope of the survey.

The information was collected in two visits made during January-August 2019 and September-December 2019. The agricultural year in India begins in July and ends the following June.

Also read: Hit by Indebtedness and Suicides, Punjab Farmers Worry New Laws Will Make Things Worse

The survey said the average monthly income per agricultural household during the agricultural year 2018-19 was at Rs 10,218 – a 59% increase compared with Rs 6,426 in 2012-13. The calculations were based on the ‘paid out expenses’ approach in which all out of pocket expenditure incurred for each type of input is taken into account.

Farm income doubled to 4,063 in 2018-19 compared with Rs 2,071 in 2012-2013, mostly on account of higher monthly wages.

According to the survey, the number of agricultural households in the country was estimated at 9.3 crore with Other Backward Class accounting for 45.8%, Scheduled Castes 15.9%, Scheduled Tribes 14.2% and others 24.1%.

The survey estimates non-agricultural households living in rural areas at 7.93 crores. It also revealed that as much as 83.5% of rural households had less than 1 hectare of land, while only 0.2% possessed land in excess of 10 hectares.

According to the Indian Express, of the 28 states for which data is available, 11 states — Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh — had a higher average outstanding loan per household than the national average in 2018-19.

The newspaper reported the average outstanding loan per agricultural household was over Rs 2 lakh in three states — Andhra Pradesh (Rs 2.45 lakh), Kerala (Rs 2.42 lakh) and Punjab (Rs 2.02 lakh); over Rs 1 lakh in five states — Haryana (Rs 1.82 lakh), Telangana (Rs 1.52 lakh), Karnataka (Rs 1.26 lakh), Rajasthan (Rs 1.13 lakh) and Tamil Nadu (Rs 1.06 lakh).

(With inputs from PTI)