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The Land Question in IndiaState, Dispossession, and Capitalist Transition$
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Anthony P. D'Costa and Achin Chakraborty

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198792444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198792444.001.0001

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Land and/or Labor? Predicament of Petty Commodity Producers among South Indian Villages

Land and/or Labor? Predicament of Petty Commodity Producers among South Indian Villages

(p.216) 9 Land and/or Labor? Predicament of Petty Commodity Producers among South Indian Villages
The Land Question in India

R. V. Ramana Murthy

Oxford University Press

Capitalist transformation in postcolonial societies follows an altogether different path. The resolution to agrarian question no longer seems necessary for capitalism. This leaves a large number of petty commodity producers precariously surviving in agriculture in India. This chapter shows that this class and the area operated by them is increasing, in spite of the fact that their agriculture is essentially unviable. Farmer suicides reflect the distress faced by this class. However, this chapter also shows that this class survives through various strategies, including considerable diversification away from their dependence on farming. As a result, land becomes no longer central to their survival, while the post-colonial state manages their desperate condition through welfare transfers. This chapter provides evidence for the changing profile of rural farm households, land holding structure, farm and non-farm incomes of rural farm households, and welfare transfers. The changing portfolio of rural incomes brings out the shifts in dependence on agriculture for the rural households and their implications for the land question.

Keywords:   petty commodity producers, agrarian question, rural incomes, capitalism, farmer suicides, welfare transfers, non-farm incomes

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