Most common ways to make a living
In 1975 most households in Dokur village had only one source of income. Nowadays the Scheduled Caste have mostly two different sources of income and the Forward and Backward Caste have two to four different sources of income. In 1975 most jobs were in agriculture, as is seen in table 6, while nowadays farm and non-farm wage labour, caste occupations, migration, running rice and flour mills, plying autos, business and self-employment are sources of income too. Especially non-farm labour, business, salaried jobs, caste occupations and out-migration increased significantly over the last few years. The sources of income are much more diversified because for example the knowledge, education level and skills of the households in Dokur village increased. In farming a shift towards more profitable crops and new technologies led to a better income.
When Comparing 1975-1978 with 2001-2006 and 2007-2008 drastic changes can be seen. In 1975 agriculture was the main source of income with 94.4% gained through agricultural activities. While 77% of the households depended on agriculture or on agriculture related activities. In 2007 only 30.0% of the income was from agriculture while the number of households depending on agriculture or agricultural activities declined to 43%. There are several causes for this decline. The main reason is drought, leading to a lack of water. The large tank in the village, which used to be filled with water for the cultivation of two paddy crops a year, is empty and the area under the tank is not used. Also the groundwater level declined and open dug wells dried up. As a reaction to this, farmers invest in water exploration by digging bore wells, but the success rate is only 25%. If the farmer succeeds, the profit is high, but if the farmer fails, the debts will be too high to pay back. Due to the lack of water, the farmers were unable to grow several crops and the productivity of irrigated and rain fed crops declined. Since the drought years, the net income of the farmers decreased with 50% due to increasing costs of cultivation and the decline of cropped area under paddy and groundnut. Another reason why the fertility decreased is soil erosion, too much use of chemical fertilisers, low or no use of farmyard manure, no crop rotation and crop patterns which were not useful considering the soil.
Water shortage and poor fertility led to a low demand of labour in the village. Households had to look for other livelihood strategies. The richer households were able to invest in education and business, while the poor households had to search for non-farm labour activities. The households with adequate land could invest in modern agricultural production technologies, while the households with (almost) no land had no option, but seasonal migration. The government tried to support the farmers by supplying free electricity for agricultural...