Story of Palampur
Question 7: In your region, talk to two labourers. Choose either farm labourers or labourers working at construction sites. What wages do they get? Are they paid in cash or kind? Do they get work regularly? Are they in debt?
Answer: People who work at construction site usually get the minimum wages. An unskilled worker gets around Rs. 250 per day. A skilled worker; such as a mason; gets around Rs. 500 per day.
Question 8: What are the different ways of increasing production on the same piece of land? Use examples to explain.
Answer: Production can be increased by using HYV seeds, fertilisers and proper irrigation. Mixed farming can also be used to improve farm production.
Question 9: Describe the work of a farmer with 1 hectare of land.
Answer: A farmer with 1 hectare of land shall be put under the category of small farmer. Most of the work would be done by the farmer and his family members. The farmer will normally use a pair of bullocks to plough the field. His family members would assist him in sowing the seeds. During harvest time, he may require to hire some labourers.
Question 10: How do the medium and large farmers obtain capital for farming? How is it different from the small farmers?
Answer: Medium and large farmers usually have surplus cash by selling their farm produce. Since they have land and house, they easily get loan from banks. Small farmers, on the other hand, may not be able to get bank loans. They have to depend on the local merchant and moneylender for loan.
Question 11: On what terms did Savita get a loan from Tajpal Singh? Would Savita's condition be different if she could get a loan from the bank at a low rate of interest?
Answer: Savita got loan from Tajpal Singh on difficult terms. The rate of interest is 24% which is much higher than what the banks are charging. Additionally, Savita has to work on Tajpal's farm at hundred rupee daily wages. It can be very difficult for Savita. Had she been given a loan from the bank she could have found peace of mind.
Question 12: Talk to some old residents in your region and write a short report on the changes in irrigation and changes in production methods during the last 30 years.
Answer: During the early period, irrigation was done by Persian wheel. Diesel operated or electricity operated pumps have replaced the Persian wheels. Tractors have replaced bullocks for ploughing the large farms. Now more and more farmers are in a position to grow up to three crops in a year.
Question 13: What are the non-farm production activities taking place in your region? Make a short list.
Answer: Cycle repair shop, carpenter, ironsmith, general store, tea stall, stationary shop, computer training institute, etc.
Question 14: What can be done so that more non-farm production activities can be started in villages?
Answer: The government should improve electricity supply in the villages. It should open more schools so that children can grow to become educated adults. Moreover, government can also provide vocational training to the rural youths. These activities would help in increasing non-farm production activities in a village.