Anantapur is a water-starved and the second most backward district in the country. The geographical position of the district in the central region of the DECCAN PLATEAU in the South Indian Peninsula renders it the driest part of the state. As it is situated in the rain-shadow region, monsoons also evade the parched lands and agricultural conditions are more often precarious. 

The topography presents a vast expanse of arid and poor red soils, broken up by ridges and clusters of rocky hills devoid of any vegetation. The satellite photographs also project a near desert conditions. Most of the soils are infertile and cannot bear constant cultivation and are left fallow for long periods. All the rendered sources of irrigation are very undependable due to scanty rain. Thus, this area is rendered prone to constant droughts for the last 5 decades. 


75 % of the population of the district lives in villages. Most of the people are small and marginal farmers. The landless peasants account for nearly 50 % of the population. Almost all the poor are illiterates and this adds to their woes. As most of the crops are rain-fed, and the rains are scanty and erratic, drought continues to haunt and even one square meal a day is luxury and starvation is often common in many families. 

The rural community is divided in to high and low a caste person, which also divides them socially and economically. Though the upper caste people are very few in number, they hold the majority of the lands and the economy of the village. The lower castes known as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Back-ward Classes, are totally dependent on the higher castes who are the rich land-lords. Most of the lower caste people are treated as Untouchables. They work as labourers on daily wages, which are very meagre and not sufficient to meet even their minimum family expenses. The rich community always dislike the upliftment of the poor. 

Small and marginal farmers borrow money from the rich landlords for buying seeds, pesticides, for marriage expenses of their daughters and also to celebrate festivals. When the rain fails, they cannot repay their loans & the interest, and are forced to become bonded labourers. They simply blame it on their “KARMA” (ill-fate) and never bother to improve their lot. Also, they lack awareness and their senses have been dulled by the decades of poverty & dependence of rich landlords. 

Most of the villages lack is lacking in communications & transport facilities, and only by foot could reach some of the villages. They do not have access to clean drinking water. In some areas they have to walk a distance of 2 to 3 KMs to get a pot of drinking water. Sanitation in the villages is very poor and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Medical & Health facilities are rare often beyond the reach of the poor. The Government schemes for rural development exist only on papers. They fail in proper implementation and there is no follow-up, because of apathy & negligence on the part of the official machinery. 


Of late the international community had been awakened by the number of suicides committed by the farmers in Andhra Pradesh State. And our target area (Anantapur District) records the highest number of suicides and the spate of debt-suicide cycle continues at an alarming rate. Unless this problem is tackled on a war footing, the situation in bound to reach uncontrollable proportions and beyond the control of the Government, which is trying to implement the cloud-seeding experiment, which may not solve even the root of the farming crisis. 

The Government also believes that the problem is so enormous that it alone can’t do much and wishes that the voluntary organisations should come forward to help. But without proper & sufficient funds there is very little that a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) could do in this regard. 

Sinking of bore wells is no solution as the ground water table is going down every year. The Agriculture sector in our Anantapur District is in shambles. The Credit & Finance systems have collapsed. Prices of seeds, fertilisers & pesticides have pushed up beyond the reach of the small farmer. The suicides have been occurring for over 7 years now and in some periods with even greater intensity, so too has hunger been growing. 

Over 300 farmers have taken their lives these past six weeks. For every farmer who has committed suicide countless others face morale-sapping despair. Large numbers of people are also in a zone marked by growing hunger. There have been hunger deaths too this year. 

All the households surveyed had incredible levels of debt. Almost every one of them had made distress sales of land or cattle or both of them. Many of them had health expenditure running into a few lakhs of rupees. All of them had spent unbelievable sums in their search of water. Mainly sinking borrowed money in bore wells that have failed. All were selling their produce to creditors at well below market price. The farmers of our state are crushed, defeated and ruined. 

The State Government, on its part, has announced a compensation of Rupees One Lakh to each of the bereaved families. It is a crazy thought that people are taking their lives because a Government has announced compensation, That a farmer would take his or her life & get Rupees One Lakh for children rather than go on living? It ignores the fact of that there were a large number of suicides even before compensation was announced. The idea a mother & father both end their lives leaving behind aged parents & tiny infants to “gain” is a heartless one. Or, a father & son commit suicide with in a year of each other, to make money out of it? 

The Government has also proposed a six-month moratorium on debt. But the problem won’t end there. “Justice delayed is justice denied”. The long-term plans of Government will not help to mitigate the sufferings of the debt-ridden farmers. 

When a farmer dies his wife and children are the hard hit as the breadwinner is gone. The family is thrown on to the streets. School-going children become dropouts. Women are psychologically affected, lose self-confidence and are left in the lurch. 

Immediate assistance is the need of the hour. Our Association is willing to take on the cause & create debt relief measures. There is an urgent need for starting “Food for Work programmes” and Training centres for street short term skilled trades to create rural employment. We are prepared to work out more lasting moves provided proper supportive funds are arranged.