Chapter 8: IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE IN INDIA
+ fisheries + livestock + forests contribute 13.9% to India's
GDP. India's 51% population dependent on these activities.
Green Revolution in India
Green Revolution is a term coined to describe the emergence and diffusion of new seeds of cereals. Norman Burlaug is the Father of Green Revolution in the world, while Dr. M.S. Swaminathan is
known as the Father of Green Revolution in India.
Some experts of agriculture use
it for referring to a broad transformation of agricultural sector in the developing countries to reduce
food shortages. Others use it when referring to the specific plant improvements, notably the development
of HYV s.
The diffusion of HYVs, however, became fully operational in the Country in the Kharif season of 1965-66. The diffusion
of the new seeds was mainly in the Satluj-Ganga Plains and the Kaveri Delta.
Subsequently, a number of varieties of wheat and rice were developed by the Indian scientists and adopted by the Indian farmers.
Merits of the High Yielding Varieties
Shorter Life Cycle: This enabled the farmers to go for multiple cropping.
Economize on Irrigation Water:Though the HYV need more water ut the returns they fetch on the water that is utilized is far better than traditional varieties.
Generate more Employment:The High Yielding Varieties under optimal conditions require more labour per unit area and thus,
help in generating more employment.
The High Yielding Varieties are Scale Neutral:One of the main advantages of the High Yielding Varieties is that they benefit an category of farmers in the same proportion. In other words, the new seeds are not biased towards the big and the small
Easy to Adopt:The adoption of High Yielding Varieties does not require any special skill for adoption. The farmers
of different socio economic and cultural backgrounds can adopt the new seeds without any difficulty
However, the benefits come with their own disadvantages too. The farmers need to invest in chemical fertilizers, pesticides, mechanized equipment's, irrigation facilities, storage and he should also possess capital for all these factors. The availability of quality extension services like trained personnel to help the farmers during the harvest seasons etc too make a difference.
The adoption of High Yielding Varieties have created intra-regional inequalities also. All the farmers,
even in the states of Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Kaveri Delta have not been benefited
equally. It is the large, progressive and educated farmers who gained much from the High Yielding
Varieties. The early adopters reaped much dividends from the new seeds. By the time the majority
came to adopt the new seeds, income gains realised by the early adopters generally disappeared.
The average, small and marginal farmers could not gain much, while the late adopters gained almost
Thus, the High Yielding Varieties have had a discriminatory impact in which the large and early
adopters were benefited and the small and marginal farmers who adopted these seeds late could
not achieve much.
The production and productivity of wheat, rice, maize and bajra have gone up. There are however, several cereal and cash crops (pulses, small millets, barley, oilseeds) which are not performing satisfactorily. It is in the case of kharif pulses where the performance needs much improvement. Development of High Yielding Varieties of pulses for each of the agro-climatic region
is the pressing need of the day.
SECOND GREEN REVOLUTION
The overall production of the cereal and non-cereal crops has reached almost the plateau stage. The
growth rate of agricultural sector is only about two per cent. Looking at the growing demand of
agricultural produce, there is an urgent need for undertaking agriculture to a higher trajectory of
four percent annual growth rate.
This can be done with the Second Green Revolution which could focus on areas like:
(i)To raise agricultural productivity to promote
(ii) More emphasis on bio-technology
(iii) To promote sustainable agriculture
become self sufficient in staple food, pulses, oil seeds, and industrial raw material
(v) To increase the
per capita income of the farmers and to raise their standard of living.
The spread of the dry farming is in the regions where the average annual rainfall is less than 75 cm and irrigation facilities are not available. About 60% of the net-cultivated area is under dryland
and rainfed cultivation in India, which contributes 40% of the total agricultural production.
Agriculture in the dry farming regions belongs to fragile, high risking and low productive
agricultural ecosystem. The areas in which more than 75 cm of average annual rainfall is recorded
are known as the areas of rain-fed agriculture
In India dry-lands cover about 32 million hectares or about 60 per cent of the net arable land.
These areas having scanty rainfall and high variability of rainfall are adversely
affected by erratic precipitation, frequent droughts, high temperature, and high wind velocity resulting
in soil erosion.
Significant Features of Dry Farming
Moisture conservation is basic to dry farming. In order to achieve this objective, the field is ploughed repeatedly, especially during the rainy season
Sowing of crops in alternate years. or fallowing of land after each harvesting of crop. The
fallowing of agricultural land helps in the recuperation of soil fertility.
Pulverisation of the soil before sowing.
Regular hoeing and weeding of the crop to control weed growth and! to conserve moisture.
Hoeing is generally done before sun-rise so that the night dew may be mixed into the soil to
provide moisture to the crops
Covering of the land with straw to prevent evaporation of the soil moisture and to control
Livestock keeping and dairying are also important allied agricultural activities in the dry
Strategy for Development
In dry farming areas, water harvesting should be done. The government and other non-government agencies should provide the necessary guidance to the people. Seeds of food crops which are drought resistant should be provided to the farmers at a subsidized rate. Efforts should be made to check soil erosion by adopting soil conservation practices,
The farmers should space their crops at a wide gap and there should be regular weeding and hoeing. Seeds of the quick and short duration maturing crops should be developed. Cultivation of crops requiring more moisture should be done in the low lying areas, especially in the lower parts of the catchment.
In addition to these, there are many other practices like contour-ploughing, contour-bunding,
and field-bunding that help water conservation measures, Practice like mulching prevents
evaporation from the soil. Deep placement of manures and fertilisers would help the roots to penetrate
deep layers. This, along-with weed control, will help in increasing the yield. The latest advance
technology of dry farming is to lay stress on soil moisture and its conservation.
It should be noted
that in the dry areas, soils suffer from nutrient deficiency, particularly nitrogen. Band placement
of fertilisers in sub-soil layers is a good method of helping the roots to go deep for exploiting the
Cropping pattern means the proportion of area under different crops at a given point of time.
The cropping patterns of a region are closely influenced by the geo-climatic, socioeconomic, and political factors. In any
region, the prevalent cropping patterns are the cumulative results of the past and present decisions
of individuals, communities or government and their agencies. These decisions are usually based
on experience, tradition, expected profit, personal preferences and resources, social and political
In addition to physical environment, the land ownership, the land tenancy, land tenure, size of
holding and fields also influence the cropping patterns. A farmer with small holding prefer the
cultivation of labour intensive crop, while a large holding farmer goes for the capital intensive agricultural
The relative yield index and the relative spread index for the determination of suitability of crop
may be calculated with the help of the following formula:
Relative Yield Index = (Mean yield of the crop in a component areal unit) * 100 / (Mean yield of the total area)
Relative Spread Index = (Area of the crop expressed as percentage of the total cultivated area in the areal unit) x 100 / (Area of the crop expressed as percentage of the total cultivated area)
Crop concentration means the variation in the density of any crop in a region at a given point of time.
The concentration of crops in an area largely depends on its terrain, climate, and soils and agricultural practices of the farmers. Each crop has a maximum, minimun and optimal temperature. The crops have a tendency to have high concentration in the areas of ideal agro-climatic conditions and the density declines as the geographical conditions become less conducive.
Agricultural productivity is a synonym for agricultural efficiency. The yield per unit area is known
as agricultural productivity. Agricultural productivity is generally the result of the physical, socioeconomic,
and cultural factors.
High Agricultural Productivity:High agricultural productivity is found in the Satluj-Ganga Plain, the Brahmaputra Valley, the delta regions of Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri rivers. In these
areas either the irrigation facilities are well developed or there is adequacy of rainfall over greater
part of the year. Wheat, rice, maize, pulses, sugarcane, and oilseeds are the main crops grown in
the high agricultural productivity regions. The farmers, especially that of Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh are no longer subsistent as most of them are doing agriculture as agri-business.
Medium Agricultural Productivity:The agriculture in these regions is mainly subsistent. Non-availability of irrigation is a major barrier in the enhancement of agricultural productivity.
Low Agricultural Productivity:These areas are deficient in
irrigation and characterised with low rainfall conditions. In fact most of these areas are susceptible
to droughts or floods, and are the less rainfall recording areas. The intensification of agriculture in these states is
low. Agriculture is mainly rain-fed practiced to meet the family requirements. It is in these areas
where the agrarian community is generally at a low level of subsistence and many of them are
Cropping intensity has been defined as the ratio between the net sown area and the gross or total
The agricultural intensity depends on the geo-climatic, pedological, socio-cultural, and
mfrastructural factors. Thus, the agricultural intensity is generally high in the well irrigated alluvial
plains like Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh. Contrary to this, the agricuhural intensity
rs low in the less rainfall recording areas.
Agricultural intensity = Gross (cropped) area * 100 / Net cultivated area.
Crops are generally grown in combinations and it is rarely that a particular crop occupies a
position of total isolation.
The study of crop combinations constitutes an important aspect of agricultural geography. In fact,
it provides a good basis for agricultural regionalization and helps in the formulation of strategy for
Features of Indian agriculture:
forward and backward linkages. Under developed food processing.
Low agriculture mechanization.
Agriculture Performance Ratios:
Agriculture output / Agriculture input
= weight / area
Indian agriculture system, the high productivity areas are
those where cheap labor, good rainfall and fertile land is
available e.g. Lower Ganga plains, east coast.
areas are those where good investment in input, machinery
and High yielding seeds are available like Punjab, Haryana,
Agriculture Productivity issues and solutions:
use of chemical fertilizers
of organic fertilizers
should be aimed at post harvest [storage, food processing] not
at pre harvest [sowing, weeding] else would lead to job
Major crops of india:
Kharif – monsoon
season; all except rabi crops
– winter season; wheat, gram,linseed, gram, pea and mustard.
– dry summer; vegetables and fruits.
area under rice in the world. Water intensive and major staple
amongst crops in india. Not water intensive.
to high MSP on rice and wheat the production of pulses declined.
But due to high demand the imports dependence increased.
encourage pulses cultivation the Rajiv krishi vikas yojana
and national food security mission have included pulses.
crops need less rainfall but grown as fodder crops or
is a kharif and rabi crop. Suitable for dryland or rainfed
areas. Third most important crop after rice and wheat.
crop so not much water needed. Highly water retentive black
cotton soil is most suitable for growth. Maharashtra, kaveri
basin are famous cotton.
the most important industry which is self sufficient. Labor
intensive with backward linkages with agriculture.
known for cotton due to black cotton soil in Deccan plateau.
Financial requirements are met from Parsis and Gujarathis.
from surrounding areas.
an agglomeration so inertia. Also ports for exports.
areas are the northern plains. Sub tropical variety has low
sugar content. Sugar factories shut in winter. From northern
plains the factories shifted to Punjab, Haryana, South India and
India sugarcane is an important crop because:
moderate due to sea which is favorable for sugarcane.
needed and western and South
India have strong cooperative movement
tropical varieties has high sugar content.
high but production has dropped due to farmers not preferring
oilseeds over rice and wheat. Reasons are high gestation period,
low R&D in this sector, low MSP than rice and wheat,
preference of consumers to palm and soyabean oil as they are
Yellow Revolution to promote oilseeds cultivation.
high rainfall but cant tolerate water logging. It needs cool
tempertature in morning. High labor requirements as
mechanization isn’t possible. Its Preferably grown in mountain
slopes. Darjeeling is famous for tea due to cheap labor,
proximity to ports, sloping land, heavy rainfall and cool
in high rainfall and humid areas as its water intensive.
Initially was the highest foreign exchange earner for india but
demand declined abroad as synthetic variety was developed.
However jute is more ecological and safe. Hence promotion of
jute based products is needed.
been famous for spices since ancient times. The hot ,humid
climate is suitable. Spices also need heavy rainfall and
laterite soil. This conditions are found in western ghats.
started by the 12th plan by the ministry of
To enhance seed replacement rate.
Upgrade quality of farm seed saved
Increase reserves of quality seeds at regional levels to meet
requirements during calamities.
Upgrade PSU seed producing agencies.
Chaired by - Prof M S Swaminathan
The NCF is mandated to make suggestions on issues such as:
The NCF recommends that "Agriculture" be inserted in the Concurrent List of the Constitution.
The major causes of the agrarian crisis are:
Unfinished agenda in land reform, quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, access, adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit
opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing.
Adverse meteorological factors.
Distribute ceiling-surplus and waste lands; Prevent diversion of prime agricultural land and forest to corporate sector for non-agricultural purposes. Ensure grazing rights and seasonal access to forests to tribals and pastoralists, and access to common property resources.
Establish a National Land Use Advisory Service, which would have the capacity to link land use decisions with ecological meteorological and marketing factors on a location and season specific basis.
Set up a mechanism to regulate the sale of agricultural land, based on quantum of land, nature of proposed use and category of buyer.
MSP should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production.
State Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Acts [APMC Acts] relating to marketing, storage and processing of agriculture produce need to shift to one that promotes grading, branding, packaging and development of domestic and international markets for local produce, and move towards a Single Indian Market.
Conserving, enhancing and improving crops and farm animals as well as fish stocks through breeding;
Encouraging community-based breed conservation (i.e. conservation through use);
Allowing export of indigenous breeds and import of suitable breeds to increase productivity of nondescript animals.
Q.The FAO accords the status of ‘Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS)’ to traditional agricultural systems. What is the overall goal of this initiative?
1. To provide modern technology, training in modern farming methods and financial support to local communities of identified GIAHS so as to greatly enhance their agricultural productivity
2. To identify and safeguard eco-friendly traditional farm practices and their associated landscapers, agricultural biodiversity and knowledge systems of the local communities
3. To provide Geographical Indication status to all the varieties of agricultural produce in such identified GIAHS
Select the correct answer using the code given below (UPSC CSAT 2016)
1 and 3 only
2 and 3 only
1, 2 and 3
Ans . B
Q.With reference to ‘Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. This initiative aims to demonstrate the improved production and post-harvest technologies, and to demonstrate value addition techniques, in an integrated manner, with cluster approach.
2. Poor, small, marginal and tribal farmers have larger stake in this scheme.
3. An important objective of the scheme is to encourage farmers of commercial crops to shift to millet cultivation by offering them free kits of critical inputs of nutrients and micro irrigation equipment.
Select the correct answer using the code given below. (UPSC CSAT 2016)
2 and 3 only
1 and 2 only
1, 2 and 3
Ans . C
Q.Which of the following is/are the advantage /advantages of practising drip irrigation?
1. Reduction in weed
2. Reduction in soil salinity
3. Reduction in soil erosion
Select the correct answer using the code given below. (UPSC CSAT 2016)
1 and 2 only
1 and 3 only
None of the above is an advantage of practising drip irrigation
Ans . A
Drip irrigation wets less ground, hence less weed seeds germinate.
Irrigation salinity is the rise in saline groundwater and the buildup of salt in the soil surface in irrigated areas. Avoiding over-irrigation of crops by using techniques such as drip irrigation is a solution.
Q.Why does the Government of India promote the use of Neem-coated Urea’ in agriculture? (UPSC CSAT 2016)
Release of Neem oil in the soil increases nitrogen fixation by the soil microorganisms
Neem coating slows down the rate of dissolution of urea in the soil
Nitrous oxide, which is a greenhouse gas, is not at all released into atmosphere by crop field
It is a combination of a weedicide and a fertilizer for particular crops
Ans . B
Neem has properties that check nitrogen loss at each stage. It slows down the process of nitrate formation and hence excess nitrate is not available for denitrification.
Q.With reference to ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’, consider the following statements:
1. Under this scheme, farmers will have to pay a uniform premium of two percent for any crop they cultivate in any season of the year.
2. This scheme covers post-harvest losses arising out of cyclones and unseasonal rains.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (UPSC CSAT 2016)
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2
Ans . B
There will be a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops. In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%.
Q. Consider the following towns of India:
Which of the above are famous for the production of traditional sarees / fabric? (UPSC CSAT 2014)
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1, 2 and 3
1, 3 and 4
Ans . B
Chanderi is a tehsil of Ashoknagar district, main occupation of the people of Chanderi is handicraft. Chanderi sarees are famous all over the world”
Temple towns like Kancheepuram are renowned for their magnificent heavy silk sarees of bright colours with silver or gold zari works
Score more than 80% marks and move ahead else stay back and read again!