Monday, May 14, 2007

Scope of Agriculture in India.

Agriculture in India is the means of livelihood of almost two thirds of the work force in the country. It has always been INDIA'S most important economic sector. The 1970s saw a huge increase in India's wheat production that heralded the Green Revolution in the country. The increase in post -independence agricultural production has been brought about by bringing additional area under cultivation, extension of irrigation facilities, use of better seeds, better techniques, water management, and plant protection. Dependence on India agricultural imports in the early 1960s convinced planners that India's growing population, as well as concerns about national independence, security, and political stability, required self-sufficiency in food production. This perception led to a program of agricultural improvement called the Green Revolution, to a public distribution system, and to price supports for farmers. The growth in food-grain production is a result of concentrated efforts to increase all the Green Revolution inputs needed for higher yields: better seed, more fertilizer, improved irrigation, and education of farmers. Although increased irrigation has helped to lessen year-to-year fluctuations in farm production resulting from the vagaries of the monsoons, it has not eliminated those fluctuations.

Non traditional crops of India, such as summer mung (a variety of lentil, part of the pulse family), soyabeans, peanuts, and sunflowers, were gradually gaining importance. Steps have been taken to ensure an increase in the supply of non-chemical fertilizers at reasonable prices. There are 53 fertilizer quality control laboratories in the country. Realizing the importance of Indian agricultural production for economic development, the central Government of India has played an active role in all aspects of agricultural development. Planning is centralized, and plan priorities, policies, and resource allocations are decided at the central level. Food and price policy also are decided by the central government. Thus, although agriculture in India is constitutionally the responsibility of the states rather than the central government, the latter plays a key role in formulating policy and providing financial resources for agriculture. Expansion in crop production, therefore, has to come almost entirely from increasing yields on lands already in some kind of agricultural use.

The monsoons, however, play a critical role in Indian agriculture in determining whether the harvest will be bountiful, average, or poor in any given year. One of the objectives of government policy in the early 1990s was to find methods of reducing this dependence on the monsoons.


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