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General Overview

Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy. Agriculture and allied sectors contribute nearly 17.8 and 17.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP of India) during 2007-08 and 2008-09 respectively. The agricultural output, however, depends on monsoon as nearly 55.7 per cent of area sown is dependent on rainfall.

An all time record in production of food grains of 233.88 million tonnes is estimated in 2008-09 as per 4th Advance Estimates. This is about 13.10 million tones more than last year's production of food grains. The production of rice is estimated at 99.15 million tonnes which is about 2.46 million tonnes more, production of wheat is estimated at 80.58 million tonnes which is 2.01 million tonnes more, production of coarse cereals is estimated at 39.48 million tonnes which is 1.27 million tonnes more and production of pulses is estimated at 14.66 million tonnes which is about 0.99 lakh tonnes more than the production during 2007-08. The sugarcane production is estimated at 2,712.54 lakh tonnes which is about 769.34 lakh tonnes less than the production during 2007-08. Cotton production is estimated at 231.56 lakh bales (of 170 kg. each) which is 27.28 lakh bales more than the production during 2007-08. Jute and mesta production during 2008-09 is estimated at 104.07 lakh bales (of 180 kg each) which is about 8.04 lakh bales less than the production during 2007-08.

The total area coverage under food grains in 2008-09 has been reported as 123.22 million hectares against 124.07 million hectares in 2007-08. The area under rice is estimated at 453.52 lakh hectares which is significantly higher about 1,437 lakh hectares. However, the area coverage under wheat during 2008-09 estimated at 278.77 lakh hectares is slightly lower by around 1.62 lakh hectares. The total area coverage under coarse cereals during 2008-09 is estimated at 276.17 lakh hectares which is slightly lower by 8.64 lakh hectares as compared to 2007-08 The increase in Minimum Support Price (MSP) in 2008-09 over 2007-08 amongst cereals has ranged between 8.0 per cent wheat to 52.6 per cent (ragi). The percentage increase in case of paddy (common) is 31.8 per cent. In case of pulses, the increase has ranged between 8.1 per cent (gram) and 48.2 per cent (urad and moong).

Centrally Sponsored Scheme on National Food Security Mission has been launched in the country to enhance the production of rice, wheat and pulses by 10, 8 and 2 million tonnes respectively by the end of the 11th Plan. The Mission covers 312 districts in 17 States and has become operational from Rabi 2007-08. The focused and target oriented technological intervention under NFSM has made a significant impact since inception which is reflected by the fact as per the third advance estimate of 2008-09, the production of rice has raised to a level of 99.37 million tonnes thus depicting increase of 2.68 million tones when compared to 2007-08 and 6.02 million tonnes against 2006-07. Similarly, the situation is also promising in case of wheat, wherein the production of wheat showing an increase of 2.76 million tonnes over the last year. Consequently, as per the third advance estimate of 2008-09, the production of wheat is estimated to the level of 77.63 million tonnes which is 1.82 million tonnes more that 2006-07. In case of pulses, the production was recorded at 14.20 million tonnes during 2006-07. Accordingly, as per the third advance estimate of 2008-09, the production of pulses is estimated at 14.18 million tonnes, which is almost a stagnated production trend when compared to 2006-07.

The Union Government has constituted a National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) on 03-11-2006 to give focused attention to the problem of the rainfed areas of the country. The Authority is an advisory, policy making and monitoring body charged with the role of examining guidelines in various existing schemes and in the formulation of new schemes including all externally aided projects in this area.

A scheme of debt waiver for small and marginal farmers and debt relief for other farmers has been announced by the Government in the Union Budget for 2008-09. Against the target of Rs.2, 25,000 crore for agriculture credit flow for 2007-08 the achievement was Rs.2, 43,569 crore.

Agricultural Extension has been strengthened and Agricultural Technology Management Agencies (ATMAs) have been set up in 565 districts by the end of 2007-08.

Under NHM, an area of about 8.25 lakh hectares has been brought under horticulture crops, 1.17 lakh hectares of senile plantations have been rejuvenated and 1710 new nurseries have been set up since launching of NHM in 2005. An area of about 6 lakh hectares has been covered under the Scheme of Micro Irrigation since it was launched in 2006. Current year's target is coverage of 4 lakh hectares.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 07-01-2011