Agrarian distress and rural livelihoods : a study in Upputhara Panchayat, Idukki District, Kerala
Nair, K. N.
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This study examines the impact of agrarian distress on the different socio-economic groups, the strategies of livelihood adopted by households and the local institution in shaping these strategies. The study is based on the data collected from in-depth socio-economic enquiries conducted in Upputhara Panchayat in Idukki District. An important conclusion of the study is that the strategies of livelihood framed in response to a shock could vary across households depending on the extent of their asset ownership. Households in Upputhara achieved diversification of livelihoods in three major ways: through diversifying their cropping pattern, through diversifying their local occupations and through migration. The study showed that (a) in formulating coping strategies, households benefited from increased access to a number of public institution created through public action in earlier years; (b) access of households to the different welfare institutions was declining in recent years; and (c) the livelihood systems of people remained extremely vulnerable. Obviously, strengthening the livelihood systems of households would require sustaining their livelihood assets and income by reversing these state policies and making effective of the functioning of the local institutions like the Panchayat. Key words: Agrarian Distress, Livelihood Risks, Coping Strategies , Kerala JEL Classification: Q, Q 00