Global climate change has wreaked havoc on agriculture. It has altered weather patterns and, thereby, changed the intensity of the monsoon in India. In recent years, India has received insufficient rainfall, resulting in droughts in many parts of the country. As a result, farmers are forced to look for alternative sources of income outside of agriculture. Those remaining on their farms try to supplement their income with the various government schemes. Together, these serve as coping mechanisms. In order to study the phenomenon in depth we visit some of the poorest districts of India ravaged by continuous droughts in an area called Bundelkhand. We investigated the financial coping strategies of the mainly small- and medium-holding farmers to the crisis. The strategies were divided into private and public. The former consisted of banks and moneylenders on the one hand and migration on the other. The latter, government policy interventions, comprised mainly of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and a newly-launched crop insurance scheme of the government. We employ the Livelihoods approach to organise our study. Complex connections between private and public strategies were traced. Despite the homogeneity of the harsh terrain we found a variety of responses across identical members of the agrarian classes. There is use of both formal and informal lending. The extent of migration varies between groups. The evidence on the employment guarantee scheme is mixed. The crop insurance scheme results are equally varied and some farmers are inquisitive about it. Our broad observation is that decent livelihood options for farmers both on and off the farm are many. They can finally break the chains of traditional dependence on exploitative financial institutions.

livelihoods, drought, coping, Bundelkhand
Berner, Erhard
Governance, Policy and Political Economy (GPPE)
International Institute of Social Studies

Correa, Aneesh. (2016, December 16). Financial strategies for coping with drought in India: a livelihoods perspective. Governance, Policy and Political Economy (GPPE). Retrieved from