Farmer indebtedness is one of the major problems in rural India. Caused by multiple factors, it has spiraling impacts: indebtedness aggravates poverty; depresses living status; diminishes chances of making investments for improving returns from agricultural land and other assets; and encourages distress sale of assets and resort to migration. In extreme cases, it leads to farmers’ suicide and loss of emotional and financial supports for families that are already under severe stress.

The Expert Group on Rural Agricultural Indebtedness constituted by the Government of India noted in its 2007 report (also known as Radhakrishna Report)1 that farmer indebtedness is “a central issue” in the agrarian crisis facing the country. The report also noted that farmer indebtedness in India is “as diverse and heterogeneous as are the agrarian conditions”, and there are “wide regional, institutional, class and community differences in the nature and magnitude of farmers’ indebtedness”. Against this background, the present study was conducted to analyze farmer indebtedness in Tikamgarh block of Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh (MP), in the Bundelkhand region of central India.

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