In several districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, AID has played a key role in coordinating with farmers’ organizations to address a range of problems that make up the agrarian crisis, which continues to take the lives of hundreds of Indian farmers every month and places thousands more in distress. Timely support may prevent a farmer deep in debt from resorting to the desperate step of ending his or her life. Families who have lost a member to suicide struggle to get back on their feet, and many a bereaved mother must find ways to provide for her children, keep the farm going or find some other means of livelihood. How will these families access the support they need?
In collaboration with PILUPU in Telangana and Rural Development Service Society (RDSS) in Andhra Pradesh, AID supports field coordinators who travel throughout the districts to meet with families who have been affected by suicide and distress. They help survivors apply for and obtain assistance from government and other agencies, and guide them through the processes of rebuilding their lives. Many a survivor has noted that their moral support through consistent follow up played as important a role as the practical assistance in helping them get back on their feet.
The human resource supported by AID makes a tremendous difference in helping families caught in the agrarian crisis to find their way out. AID Jeevansaathi Kiran Vissa talks about the “multiplier effect” of having trained full-time coordinators in the field. “Key fieldworkers supported through these two projects are anchoring much of the work on farm suicides, tenant farmers and agrarian distress in both Telangana & coastal Andhra Pradesh. Their activities and presence as full-timers help in engaging a set of at least 30 active volunteers in many districts and in Hyderabad in this work.” Together, the volunteers and full-time activists connect with people where they are, and move the machinery of state and society to work for the farm families in time of need.
Thanks to the interventions of PILUPU and RDSS, hundreds of families affected by suicide have received the ex-gratia granted by the government. Thus a modest investment towards stipends for field coordinators is able to leverage crores of rupees of support going directly to farmer families in need. To understand the work and impact in detail, please read the 2017-18 report of the Fieldwork Project on Farmer Suicides, Tenant Farmers & Agrarian Distress.