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28 SEPTEMBER, 2017 (MAINS)

TODAYS ANSWER WRITING CHALLENGE FROM GS- III

Q1. “Agriculture contributes only about 14% to India’s GDP but its impact is felt in the manufacturing sector as well as the services sector.” The challenges in Indian agricultural sector are quite different from those met in the previous decades. Discuss. (200 words)

Please write the answer in comments section

 

  • Osho Korde

    Three agriculture sector challenges will be important to India’s overall development and the improved welfare of its rural poor:

    1. Raising agricultural productivity per unit of land: Raising productivity per unit of land will need to be the main engine of agricultural growth as virtually all cultivable land is farmed. Water resources are also limited and water for irrigation must contend with increasing industrial and urban needs. All measures to increase productivity will need exploiting, amongst them: increasing yields, diversification to higher value crops, and developing value chains to reduce marketing costs.

    2. Reducing rural poverty through a socially inclusive strategy that comprises both agriculture as well as non-farm employment: Rural development must also benefit the poor, landless, women, scheduled castes and tribes.

    3. Agricultural growth in the 1990s and 2000s slowed down, averaging about 3.5% per annum, and cereal yields have increased by only 1.4% per annum in the 2000s. The slow-down in agricultural growth has become a major cause for concern. India’s rice yields are one-third of China’s and about half of those in Vietnam and Indonesia. The same is true for most other agricultural commodities.

    Policy makers will thus need to initiate and/or conclude policy actions and public programs to shift the sector away from the existing policy and institutional regime that appears to be no longer viable and build a solid foundation for a much more productive, internationally competitive, and diversified agricultural sector.