AGRICULTURE IN INDIA
The purpose of this project is to present the agriculture situation in India, its current problems and issues, solutions being provided, the outlook for future with potential implementation of potential alternative solutions.
2 DATA SOURCES
For the purpose of this project, data has been collected from several websites on the Internet (Wikipedia, IndiaStat, World Bank etc.)
Agriculture is considered is to be the most advanced form of production. This is the only industry where the investment is nearly zero. Given a land which is freely available in the world, using the seeds from previous crop, it is possible to produce large quantities of produce with the help of rain that pours freely in nature. There is no other large industry that provides such unique feature of zero investment. It is also the most ancient form of industry invented thousands of years ago. Probably recognizing this, Government of India has done most distinguishing feature of zero income tax on agricultural income in India.
India happens to have the world’s oldest civilization and the most advanced country from times immemorial. So it is possible that agriculture was actually invented in India. It is estimated that agriculture in India dates back to ten thousand years.
However due to prolonged use and application of methods which are not necessarily the best for our country, India also faces several problems in agriculture, which this document will address.
4 SOME STATISITCS
India is the second largest farm producer in the world. We are the second largest producer in several key food produce such as Wheat and Rice, and the largest in several other produce including milk, tea, and coconut. We have 45,708,000 hectares of irrigated land as against 165,508,000 hectares of area operated in India.
5 CURRENT PROBLEMS
Despite being a large country, we have not used the land effectively. As noted above we are using only 27% of land operated for irrigation purposes. Agriculture constitutes only 21% of GDP in India. Some of the issues and challenges are:
1. Slow down in agricultural growth even by the green revolution states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh due to:
- Government is spending more money on subsidies instead of investing in research and development which will give prolonged benefits.
- Government is over regulating agriculture trade in India resulting in increased costs, price risks, uncertainty etc.
- Government interventions in labor, land and credit markets is restricting increased land usage
2. Weak framework for sustainable water management and irrigation – many states lack equitable allocation of available water, and government not completing irrigation projects started and not focusing on repair and maintenance of existing ones.
3. Inadequate access to land and finance – stringent government’s land restrictions are discouraging rural investments (ban on holding large lands, conversion of land for agricultural use etc.). Also rural poor have little access for credit in agriculture when compared to the urban rich for commercial industries.
4. Weak natural resources management – forests, rivers and lakes, and available land are not effectively managed by government
5. Inefficient use of public funds
6 SOLUTIONS CURRENTLY
Currently government provides solutions such as
- Computerization of land records to provide detailed analysis and expose weaknesses in infrastructure
- New projects such as Jalayagna by Andhra Pradesh state government
- External bodies such as World Bank providing help
7 ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS NEEDED
Many small countries like Israel are very advanced when compared to practices followed in India. There is a need for multi-pronged approached for problems in Indian agriculture. Some are illustrated below.
- Government – fund research and development, reduce subsidies, increase computerization and enhance analysis, reduce bureaucracy, ensure funds allocated reach the last farmer for whom they are meant etc.
- Enhance productivity by adopting advanced agricultural methods adopted by countries such as Israel, and USA
- Bring large areas of land into cultivation
- Introduce a network of rivers to distribute their waters to all areas of India and improve water resources utilization
- Banks to encourage agriculture and provide credits to small farmers
- Strengthen accountability of government agencies when spending public funds
Outlook for India is not very bright at this time, as the focus of government seems to be on more industrialization, exports, and liberalization. Government is not providing enough focus to agriculture sector except in some states like Andhra Pradesh. But with right changes in government, India is capable of bringing green revolution again. With its vast land, and a high population (agriculture is a labor intensive industry), India is definitely capable of being at the top and performing way above compared to what it is doing now.