10 May, 2016
At least a third of the residents in India’s countryside are battling drought — many for the third consecutive year. Near-zero yields, sinking groundwater levels, drying streams and reservoirs have resulted in a massive slowdown in agricultural growth — it grew by minus 0.2 per cent in 2014-15, with no imminent signs of recovery. For millions of farmers, especially the small and marginal ones who are most dependent on rains, there is little food and almost no work alternative. The rural reality is stark: Around 55 per cent of households have no land at all, and are entirely dependent on manual labour to provide food to their families. But outside farming, there is little work available in the countryside. The human consequences of this massive distress movement of people are inestimable. This should be intolerable in a country that boasts of being the fastest growing major economy in the world, with stocks of foodgrains in government warehouses ranging from 50 to 80 million tonnes. But the avoidable suffering of millions of children, women and men in today’s India, because they lack food, work and water, still does not create public outrage, much less elementary accountability from governments.
Read the rest: Unseeing the drought | The Indian Express