On the one hand, farmers have become increasingly dependent on the
arhtiya for a steady flow of cash not only for agricultural inputs
but also for other daily needs crucial to their survival; on the
other, capitalist development in the agrarian sector has
transformed the rigid caste based arhtiya system into a lucrative
economic profession where today even big farmers, after reaping
surplus from agriculture, are joining this business. It is time for
policy makers, experts, and other stake holders to look at these
changes closely. This book explores the various dimensions of the
arhtiya system and attempts to suggest an alternate marketing
system. It also questions the prevalent informal credit market and
recommends measures in favour of the hard working debt-ridden
peasantry of Punjab.
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