The Gist of Kurukshetra: May 2016
Agriculture & Allied Sectors: Quantum Jump through New Initiatives
The first phase of transformation of Indian agriculture
(1950-70) was mainly driven by the need to achieve self-sufficiency in food
grains as India was importing a large quantity of cereals, for meeting domestic
shortages in 1950s and 1960s. The growth in foodgrain production during the
first two decades, following the country’s independence, was small.
Post independence era, the area under irrigation was low and
there were frequent droughts and the prime objective at that time was to make
adequate food supplies available to the increasing population and ensuring
provision of raw materials for the expansion of industrial sector. This was to
be achieved by way of - imports, reorganisation of the agricultural sector and a
series of development measures encompassing expansion of irrigation and,
extensive as well as intensive farming.
The advent of new high yielding varieties brought Green
Revolution in late 1960s, which in combination with expansion in area under
cultivation and usage of chemical fertilisers increased the output of cereals,
mainly - wheat and rice, followed by other coarse cereals such as maize to a
certain extent chiefly in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. The Green
Revolution efforts were led by renowned agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan
and team of scientists from Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Thus a combination of technological development, significant investments as well
as support by the government led to a significant increase in production of
White revolution follows Green revolution
The second phase of transformation (1970-1990) witnessed a
play of a combination of expansion of the Green Revolution into new crops and
areas and introduction of the ‘White Revolution’ or also known as Operation
Flood, which laid the foundations for consolidation of gains made in first phase
and led to enormous growth of milk production in the country during 1980 and
1990s. Led by Verghese Kurien, also known as ‘Milk Man of India’, the country’s
milk output saw a huge increase through setting up cooperatives in various
states. Since then the milk output has risen to 146.31 million tone in 2014 - 15
and India continues to top the list of major milk-producing countries in the
world followed by the USA, China, Pakistan and Brazil.
The ‘Operation Flood’ programme used a combination of
food-aid in the form of milk powder and butter oil from the European Economic
Community to stabilise domestic prices of dairy products and develop dairy
cooperatives by creating physical and institutional infrastructure for
procurement, processing and marketing of milk and building linkages with the
main cities of the country. This was followed up by financial aid from the World
Bank during the second phase of Operation Flood in the 1980s to integrate
efforts made by state governments into a national level prograramme.
There was a significant shift in the drivers of
transformation which focused from the supply side factors to the demand side
factors. Though there was a respectable growth in gross irrigated area the huge
increase in the usage of fertilisers witnessed in earlier two phases also
decelerated. Although there was an increase in the road network and electricity
generation and investment in the agricultural and allied sectors also expanded.
But the supplies of all main commodities like cereals, oilseeds and sugarcane
did not show much increase. The only exceptions were fruits and vegetables and
cotton, the supplies of which increased significantly during this period.
Similarly supplies of livestock products - milk, eggs, and meat maintained their
According to fisheries census released recently, ‘the
country’s fish production rose from a level of 0.75 ‘million tone in 1950 - 51
to more than 10 million tone in 2014 - 15. The total fish production comprises
of 3.7 million tone of marine and 6.4 million tone for inland resources. The
export earnings were to the tune of Rs 33,441 crore in 201415.
The country’s poultry sector represents one of the biggest
success stories in the past few decades. India is the second largest egg
producer and third largest broiler chicken producer in the world with production
estimates of 65,000 million (2.8 million tones) eggs and 3 million tones of
broiler meat per year.
The country’s horticultural production that surpassed its
grains output for the first time in 2012-13 improved the lead to 10% last year,
data released by agriculture ministry recently had stated. The production of
horticulture crops that include mainly vegetables and fruits stood at an
all-time high 283.47 million tone (MT) in 2014-15, compared with the grain
volume of 257.07 MT.
According to an Agriculture Ministry official, the
horticulture produce has surpassed foodgrain output in last few years mainly
because of thrust given to horticultural crops in the 11th Plan (2007-2012)
through NHM, Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH),
National Bamboo Mission (NBM), etc. Implementation of National Horticulture
Mission paved the way for adoption of cluster-based approach for the development
of horticulture crops through linking with creation of infrastructure for post
harvest management and marketing.
The CACP discussion paper titled ‘Farm trade: tapping the
hidden potential’ has stated that agricultural exports have increased more than
10 times from $3.5 billion in 1990-91 to $37.1 billion in 2011-12 - a healthy
annual growth rate of 13.6%.
Agricultural experts also say that crop diversification is
the best way for a farmer to manage the risks associated with the market and
ensure that the crop is suited to the agricultural conditions. Besides
prevailing the climate change issues impacting the crop output, the government
thrust on providing crop insurance to farmers would be crucial support in terms
of ensuring that farmers’ income is not hit hard. In order to provide relief to
drought-hit farmers, the government has announced a new Rs 8,800 crore crop
insurance scheme, with significantly lower premium, to cover for loss of crop to
The government has approved continuation of Rashtriya Krishi
Vikas Yojana (RKVY) during the Twelfth Plan whereby the funding will be routed
into three components - production growth, infrastructure & assets and
sub-schemes & flexi-fund. The proposed allocation for implementation of this
scheme during 2015-16 was Rs 9954 crore.
The National Food Security Mission (NFSM) is being
implemented with the new target of additional production of 25 million tones of
foodgrains comprising 10 million tones rice, 8 million tones wheat, 4 million
tones pulses and 3 million tones coarse cereals by the end of the Twelfth Five
Year Plan (2016-17).
Since assuming office in 2014, the Prime Minister Sh.
Narendra Modia had been advocating a ‘lab to land’ approach to increase
agricultural productivity. The Prime Minister has repeatedly urged agricultural
scientists to disseminate technologies to farmers in simple and acceptable
manner and make ‘per drop, more crop’ a mantra to promote farming through
optimum utilization of water. Thus use of technology mainly supported by the
government would be key to ensuring Country’s food security as well as farmers’