September 2007

State of agriculture in India

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Introduction

Agricultural development is vital in a developing country since a vast majority of the workforce derive their livelihood from it. During the Tenth Five Year Plan, the gross domestic product (GDP) emanating from agriculture and allied activities in India registered a growth rate of 2.3 percent, which was lower than the growth rate observed in the industrial sector (8.0 percent) and services sector (9.5 percent). Growth in agriculture and allied activities averaged 2.3 percent during the 10th Plan period, lower than 3.2 percent during the 1990s and 4.4 percent during the 1980s. Hence, it is felt that a big push to the 'agricultural sector' is urgently required via the second green revolution, by implementing the National Agricultural Innovation Project.

When one is talking about agricultural development, one cannot neglect food security, nutrition security and livelihood security, since these are related concepts. It is important to point out that per capita foodgrains production has come down to the 1970s level since per capita production of cereals has declined from 192 kg in 1991/1995 to only 174 kg in 2004/2007. Net production of foodgrain has declined from 183.6 million tonnes in the year 2000 to 173.6 million tonnes in the year 2005. However, production of milk has increased from 84.4 million tonnes  in 2001-02 to 97.1 million tonnes in 2005-06 as per the Economic Survey 2006-07.

Production of eggs has increased from 38,729 millions in 2001-02 to 46,231 millions in 2005-06. Production of fish has increased from 5,956 thousand tonnes in 2001-02 to 6,510 thousand tonnes in 2005-06. It can be recalled that the growth rate in real gross domestic product (7.6 percent) at factor cost has far exceeded the growth rate in agriculture (2.3 percent), during the Tenth Five Year Plan. The revised estimates of the CSO (Central Statistical Organisation) too show that real gross domestic product (GDP) emanating from agricultural and allied activities decelerated from 6.0 percent in 2005-06 to 2.7 percent in 2006-07. During the South-West Monsoon (1, June 2006 to 30, September 2006), India received 886.6 mm of rainfall against the normal rainfall of 892.2 mm, with a deviation of (

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