Read the following passage carefully and answer the question given below it. Certain words have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.

Agriculture has always been celebrated as the primary sector in India. Thanks to the Green Revolution, India is now self-sufficient in food production. Indian agriculture has been making technological advancement as well. Does that mean everything is looking bright for Indian agriculture ? A superficial analysis of the above points would tempt one to say yes, but the truth is far from it. The reality is that Indian farmers have to face extreme poverty and financial crisis, which is driving them to suicides. What are the grave adversities that drive the farmers to commit suicide, at a time when Indian economy is supposed to be gearing up to take on the world ?

Indian agriculture is predominantly dependent on nature. Irrigation facilities that are currently available, do not cover the entire cultivable land. If the farmers are at the mercy of monsoons for timely water for their crops, they are at the mercy of the government for alternative irrigation facilities. Any failure of nature, directly affects the fortunes of the farmers. Secondly, Indian agriculture is largely an unorganized sector, there is no systematic planning in cultivation, farmers work on lands of uneconomical sizes, institutional finances are not available and minimum purchase prices of the government do not in reality reach the poorest farmer. Added to this, the cost of agricultural inputs have been steadily rising over the years, farmers’ margins of profits have been narrowing because the price rise in inputs is not complemented by an increase in the purchase price of the agricultural produce. Even today, in several parts of the country, agriculture is a seasonal occupation. In many districts, farmers get only one crop per year and for the remaining part of the year, they find it difficult to make both ends meet.

The farmers normally resort to borrowing from money lenders, in the absence of institutionalized finance. Where institutional finance is available, the ordinary farmer does not have a chance of availing it because of the “procedures” involved in disbursing the finance. This calls for removing the elaborate formalities for obtaining the loans. The institutional finance, where available is mostly availed by the medium or large land owners, the small farmers do not even have the awareness of the existence of such facilities. The money lender is the only source of finance to the farmers. Should the crops fail, the farmers fall into a debt trap and crop failures piled up over the years give them no other option than ending their lives.

Another disturbing trend has been observed where farmers commit suicide or deliberately kill a family member in order to avail relief and benefits announced by the government to support the families of those who have committed suicide so that their families could at least benefit from the Government’s relief programmes. What then needs to be done to prevent this sad state of affairs ? There cannot be one single solution to end the woes of farmers.

Temporary measures through monetary relief would not be the solution. The governmental efforts should be targeted at improving the entire structure of the small wherein the relief is not given on a drought to drought basis, rather they are taught to overcome their difficulties through their own skills and capabilities. Social responsibility also goes a long way to help the farmers. General public, NGOs, Corporate and other organizations too can play a part in helping farmers by adopting drought affected villages and families and helping them to rehabilitate.

The nation has to realize that farmers’ suicides are not minor issues happening in remote parts of a few states, it is a reflection of the true state of the basis of our economy.

Question 90

What is the author’s main objective in writing the passage?

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