Agrata Patel, Ananya Gupta, Prabudutta Mishra
The earlier problem statement was to design shoes for salt farmers and the lack of using gum-boots during the process of salt harvesting. But during the field visit to Kutch, the team discovered that Agariyas used gum-boots. However, the living conditions and the meagre income of Agariyas in Rann itself calls for additional support in their lives.
Since most of the salt is harvested in Little Rann of Kutch, which is also a Wild Ass Sanctuary, Agariyas have been facing much criticism and almost no support from the Government for living in the region and hampering lives of the endangered species. The government provides them with a safety kit, including gum-boots; A government water tanker delivers drinking water every 15 days in the desert of Rann.
Agariyas are recognized as monthly waged labourers by the rules and regualtions of Government.
This instantly refrains them from enjoying any schemes provided by the Government for the farmers (Government of India has developed a range of schemes for upliftment of farmers). With most of their salt farming being done in free land, most of Agariyas do not own land more than one acres. Governement regulations recognizes a person owning and farming land more than two acres of land as a farmer.
During the field visit, the team observed the living conditions of Agariyas, spending eight - nine months in the semi-arid region, in a temporary shelter made of Jute bags. Many facts such as dependency on government for clean water, scorching heat, less availabitlity of green vegetables, no access to proper education non-transparent payments methods through cash and more to be observed.