Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest livelihood provider in India. Most of the industries also depend upon the sector for their raw materials. Investments in technology development, irrigation infrastructure, modern agricultural practices and provision of agricultural credit are the major factors related to agriculture growth.
Far from being a net importing country earlier, India is today consistently producing 250 million tonnes (MT) of food grains, 100 MT of rice, 90 MT of wheat, 35 million bales of cotton, and more than 18 MT of pulses.
What are the major agriculture development policies of government of India?
The Government of India has set a target of 259 MT of food grains production in 2013-14. It is implementing various crop development programmes/schemes for achieving production targets of various crops. Some of the major initiatives taken by the Government of India include:
- Government of India has many agriculture projects towards Increasing investment, improving farm practices, delivery of credit, improved technology, construction of rural warehouses, market research, development of agricultural infrastructure.
- Government of India has set up Farmers Commission to completely evaluate the agriculture programme of country.
- The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural development (NABARD) has opened a lending window to private sector for creation of warehouse space and also to set up cold storages.
- The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), established in 1905, was responsible for the “Indian Green Revolution” of the 1970s. IARI develops new techniques for the design of agricultural experiments, analyses data in agriculture, and specialises in statistical techniques for animal and plant breeding.
- The government has allowed 100 per cent FDI under the automatic route in storage and warehousing including cold storages. 100 percent FDI is also permitted for development of seeds.
- A mobile application named TRA Tocklai has been launched by Tea Research Association (TRA). The application includes all research and development (R&D) work of tea plantation.
- The Technology Mission on Coconut (TMOC) has sanctioned assistance for 10 coconut processing units.
- Tata Chemicals Ltd has announced the pan-India launch of FarmGro (foliar spray) and FarmGro G (granules) as organic plant growth regulators.
- The Government of India plans to set up two spice parks at Sitarganj and Sahaspur in Uttrakhand. It has also opened fifth Spice Park at Mattupetty Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu (TN) for processing turmeric and chilli.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) during the 12th Plan to enhance production of oilseeds by 6.58 MT and also bring additional area of 125,000 hectares under oil palm cultivation.
- The government has launched an initiative to spend US$ 65.1 million to promote 60,000 pulses villages in rainfed areas for increasing crop productivity and strengthening market linkages.
What are the provisions under the Union Budget 2013-14 for agriculture sector?
- The government has allocated US$ 145.8 billion for agriculture credit, an increase of US$ 26.04 billion compared to 2012-13.
- Allocation to the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)has been increased to US$ 2.1 billion, an increase of about nine per cent from the previous fiscal.
- National Food Security Mission, a scheme to bridge yields gap of major crops, has been provided US$ 468.7 million
In order to meet the food grain requirements of the country, the agricultural productivity and its growth needs to be sustained and further improved. The growth target for agriculture in the 12th Plan is estimated to be 4 per cent as compared to 3.6 per cent for the 11th Plan. India growing at the rate of seven per cent is expected to reach the workforce demand of about 232 million (in 2016-17) from 229 million (in 2011-12) in agriculture sector which constitutes 44 per cent of the total workforce of the economy.
All this data shows that importance of agriculture sector in India is very high, and we need to provide it all the help we can to make it a profitable economic sector.
References: The Economic Survey 2012-13, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the Union Budget 2013-14, wikipedia.com, Press Releases, Media Reports.