NCERT Chapter Summary: Story of Village Palampur
Farming is the main production activity in the village. Over the years there have been many important changes in the way farming is practiced. These have allowed the farmers to produce more crops from the same amount of land.
This is an important achievement, since land is fixed and scarce. But in raising production a great deal of pressure has been put on land and other natural resources. The new ways of farming need less land, but much more of capital. The medium and large farmers are able to use their own savings from production to arrange for capital during the next season. On the other hand, the small farmers who constitute about 80 per cent of total farmers in India, find it difficult to obtain capital.
Because of the small size of their plots, their production is not enough. The lack of surplus means that they are unable to obtain capital from their own savings, and have to borrow. Besides the debt, many of the small farmers have to do additional work as farm labourers to feed themselves and their families.
Labour being the most abundant factor of production, it would be ideal if new ways of farming used much more labour. Unfortunately, such a thing has not happened. The use of labour on farms is limited. The labour, looking for opportunities is thus migrating to neighbouring villages, towns and cities. Some labour has entered the non-farm sector in the village.
At present, the non-farm sector in the village is not very large. Out of every 100 workers in the rural areas in India, only 24 are engaged in non-farm activities. Though there is a variety of non-farm activities in the villages, the number of people employed in each is quite small. In the future, one would like to see more non-farm production activities in the village. Unlike farming, non-farm activities require little land.
People with some amount of capital can set up non-farm activities. How does one obtain this capital? One can either use his own savings, but more often has to take a loan. It is important that loan be available at low rate of interest so that even people without savings can start some non-farm activity.
Another thing which is essential for expansion of non-farm activities is to have markets where the goods and services produced can be sold. In Palampur, the neighbouring villages, towns and cities provide the markets for milk, jaggery, wheat, etc. As more villages get connected to towns and cities through good roads, transport and telephone, it is possible that the opportunities for non-farm activities in the village would increase in the coming years.