India bearing the cost of ignoring rural distress
In the last three years, wages of agricultural labourers have increased only by 0.5% per year while those of non-agricultural workers have declined by 0.25% per year, the worst so far in 30 years
The agrarian economy continues to be plagued by falling output prices, declining incomes and increased variation in agricultural production pointing to a situation of uncertainty and vulnerability among most rural residents. This has created an unprecedented demand deflation in rural areas with a decline in prices for most of food items, including the ones that have seen stagnant production or decline in production. The demand deflation is primarily a result of slow growth or stagnation in farmer’s incomes but is also a result of decline in the incomes of wage workers who are net consumers of food. Together, these two groups account for two-third of all rural households.