Social Scientist. v 12, no. 130 (March 1984) p. 37.

Graphics file for this page

benefits in such forms as cheap and assured labour and better terms for leasing out Und. This has resulted in the semi-proletariat of the agricultural sector being gradually deprived of their lands. From these observations, Prasad concluded that "usurer's capital plays a historically reactionary role which is not only responsible for low use of means of production and inimical to net investment in the agricultural sector but is also responsible for widespread poverty, debt slavery and semi-feudal bondage."

Yet another study carried out on this problem is that of T V N Kurup (1976). His study was based on a survey of Trivandrum taluk of rural Kerala. He observed that the non-institutional agencies like professional moneylenders, friends and relatives etc in the villages dominated the rural credit market. The wage-earning class depended Jicavily on non-institutional sources of credit. Friends and relatives often provided credit to them on terms and conditions similar to those of professional moneylenders. The cost'of credit was, however, inversely related to the economic status of the borrowers resulting thereby in the greater attachment of wage-earning class to their respective employers in comparison to the other classes in the agrarian hierarchy.

A fairly large-scale survey in Eastern India3 conducted in 1975-76 provided data about different aspects of various types of labour and tenancy contracts (Bardhan and Rudra). The data showed that the practice of taking consumption loans from the employer was quite common amongst both labourers (daily contracts and annual contracts) and sharecroppers. Loans taken by the labourers were, however, occasionally interest free; sometimes interest was charged by way of paying wages lower than market rates. Tenants taking consumption loans from the landlords was also common, but loans provided to the tenants did not usually imply unpaid and obligatory service by the tenant for the landlord. Moreover, a significant proportion of landlords in the three regions provided interest-free production loan to the tenants and a strong association between cost-sharing and giving of production loans by the landlords could be observed. They thus concluded that the landlord-tenant as well as employer-labour relationships, do not necessarily indicate that usury dominates as the mode of exploitation and that the landlord's concern for usurious income from the indebted tenant does not hamper his incentive to encourage productive investment.

Khasnabis and Chakravarty (1982) who undertook a survey on tenurial arrangements in Nadia district of West Bengal did not find any strong interlinkage between tenancy contracts and credit contracts. They observed that the typical landlords did not enter into usury practices wrth their tenants who nevertheless needed both production and consumption loans. The credit market was found to be dominated by the non-landlord loan-givers (e g, traders, professional moneylenders etc) and not by the landlords. Thus, the findings of Khasnabis and Chakravarty seem to be consistent with the findings of a large-scale

Back to Social Scientist | Back to the DSAL Page

This page was last generated on Wednesday 12 July 2017 at 18:02 by
The URL of this page is: