In the 1990s, the Indian economy started to grow rapidly, which has brought about gradual but radical transformation in rural societies in India. Since the engines of growth lay basically in the urban sectors, a rural-urban disparity has been growing against the background of decelerated growth in the agricultural sector.1 The widening gap between rural and urban areas induced many people, especially in younger generations, to seek non-farm jobs in towns and cities. Some commuted to workplaces in towns and cities, but others left their villages and migrated to urban centres. Such a large-scale rural-urban labour shift in turn has caused a hike in agricultural wages, accelerated by the recent nationwide programme based on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). As a result, the agricultural sector in India has started to experience increasing labour shortages, especially in peak seasons. In Tamil Nadu, one of the most advanced states in India in terms of non-agricultural sector development, for instance, many farmers are facing greater difficulties in hiring workers and trying to utilize family labour in their farming activities as much as possible. It is expected that this recent movement in the agricultural sector will have fundamental and far-reaching consequences on the traditional caste-based agricultural production system, which has been maintained more or less until today in India.
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- Industrial Growth and Indian Agriculture: Insights from Two Villages Near Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu
D. Suresh Kumar
- Palgrave Macmillan UK