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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • In the Gini’s Coefficient of State-level asset distribution and rank of State by average asset value, Odisha has been ranked at the bottom - both rural and urban. State ranked 36.
  • The debt to asset ratio (DAR) of farmer households in Odisha is at a high-risk level. The DAR in Odisha is estimated at 5.5. The DAR value of farmer suicide-prone states is also high.

Even as the Odisha Government has been claiming of bringing in rapid economic growth and a consequent rise in per capita income of the people in the State, the All India Debt and Investment Survey by National Sample Survey Organisation seems to have pricked the much-touted rapid growth bubble.

The big bombshell dropped is, Odisha finished as the poorest state in the country. In the indicator of the average value of assets (AVA) per household, both the urban and rural.Odisha holds the lowest asset value at hand in the country.

The Cookie Crumbles?

As per the NSSO report, the average asset value (AVA) at hand per household in rural Odisha has been mere Rs 5.32 lakh. The figure in urban Odisha has been estimated at 13.41 lakh. The rural household in Odisha is the poorest in the country. Rural Assam has an AVA of nearly 7 lakh.

In the neighbourhood, Odisha ranked the poorest. Jharkhand rural household's AVA is Rs 8.6 lakh, whereas rural Chhattisgarh has an AVA of Rs 8.9 lakh. In West Bengal, the rural AVA is Rs 7.89 lakh

What seems interesting here is when Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have a continuous face-off over Kotia and similar such villages, and reports say rural dweller in the villages has developed a fascination for the neighbouring state, the rural household in Andhra Pradesh emerges as the 11th richest among major 18 states.

Odisha In India Map  

The NSS report reveals that rural Odisha AVA per household is less than half of the national average. The AVA per household in urban Odisha is also over 40 per cent less than the national average, and Odisha finishes at the bottom.

In the Gini’s Coefficient of State-level asset distribution and rank of State by average asset value, Odisha has been ranked at the bottom - both rural and urban.

Farmers In Debt Whirlpool

Notwithstanding the much-touted KALIA Yojana, Odisha has been ranked among the 10 states, where maximum farmer households have a high incidence of debt (IOD).

Moreover, the State Government's claim that farmers per capita income is Odisha high seems to have fallen flat, as the NSSO report ranked Odisha farmer households AVA as the poorest in the country.

As per the report, the average value of asset per cultivator household in Odisha has been estimated at only Rs 6.21 lakh. And a massive 46.4 per cent of households live with debt over their heads. In the ranking of Incidence of Debt among cultivator households, Odisha has been ranked 9th in the country. Only 24 per farmer households have taken debt from institutional sources like banks and other financial institutions.

Suicide By Farmers - A Reality Check!

For over the years, the Naveen Patnaik led BJD government has debunked the reports of farmer suicides in the State. Even, the 2019 NCRB report had manufactured nil suicides by farmers in the State.

Reality Check: The NSS report released yesterday puts the debt to asset ratio (DAR) of farmer households in Odisha at a high-risk level. The DAR in Odisha is estimated at 5.5.

The red herring: A whopping 45 percent of farmer households have cash debt that carries an interest rate of as high as 30-50 percent.

A glance at the farmer suicide-prone states reveals big. The DAR is high there. In Andhra Pradesh, the DAR is 8.7. It is 5.7 in Telangana and 7.4 in Kerala.

" High DAR shows that the asset is heavily funded by debt. If the DAR is such high then it clearly hints that the household will certainly default on the loans taken, in case they meet some eventualities like floods crop loss, drought, pest attack and high-interest burden. It is this fear of default that forces the farmers to take the extreme step of suicide," explained a former OUAT VC.   

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