India Today - - COVER STORY -

It’s back-break­ing labour for two square meals and a roof over their head. Rs 30,000 is the cost of pro­duc­tion of cotton per acre. Banks give a loan of just Rs 10,000 per acre. The farmer spends Rs 20,000 from his own pocket, or through pri­vate loans. Dur­ing a good mon­soon, a farmer pro­duces 15 quin­tals on an acre which fetches a price of Rs 30,000. Noth­ing to take home. WORK ROUND THE CLOCK 5 a.m. Women are the first to wake up 6 a.m. Morn­ing tea with bis­cuits 7 a.m. House­hold chores 8 a.m. Farm work starts

11 a.m. First meal of the day

6-6.30 p.m. Wraps up farm work

7-8 p.m. House­hold chores

8-9 p.m. Last meal of the day

9-10 p.m. Last to go to bed BARE BONES BUD­GET Farm­ing on 3 acres of land gen­er­ates Rs 2,500-3,000 a month. To sup­ple­ment in­come, women work on other peo­ple’s farms at Rs 100/day. Food ex­penses amount to Rs 1,500 for a fam­ily of three a month.

BIG COSTS Pair of bul­locks and just one labourer costs Rs 500 a day. New hy­brid seeds cost Rs 250 for ev­ery 450 gram. Ex­pen­sive chem­i­cal fer­tilis­ers cost Rs 960 per bag of 50 kg.

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