Satyabir Singh, a Jat farmer in Dabali, a village in a wheat and vegetable-growing region near Uttar Pradesh’s Agra city, tends his 1.5 bigha farm by day; at night he is a watchman in a leather factory. The factory job is essential for small farmers like him, for it brings in cash to run the household.
These days, however, Satyabir is only working the farm along with his two sons. The factory has run out of cash since the government invalidated Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. The loss of income has several consequences—without Satyabir’s Rs 400 daily wage, the family worries about long-term goals like children’s higher education, and immediate concerns such as how to hire farm labour. There’s still time to sow the next rabi season crop, but it’s running out fast: wheat must be planted within the next week, as the rabi sowing season ends on November 30.