- Mahatma Gandhi declared Vinoba Bhave as his spiritual heir.
- He also participated in Satyagraha as one of the foremost Satyagrahis.
- He supported Gandhiji’s concept of gram swarajya.
- After Gandhiji’s martyrdom, Vinoba Bhave undertook Padyatra to spread this message throughout the country.
- Once, when he was at Andhra Pradesh, some landless farmers demanded land for their economic well-being.
- He assured them to talk to the Indian Government for provision of land for them if they undertook cooperative farming.
- Shri Ram Chandra Reddy stood up and offered 80 acres of land to 80 land less farmers.
- This was known as Bhoodan.
- Later he introduced his ideas throughout India.
- Some Zamindars offered to distribute villages among the landless.
- This was known as Gramdan.
- However, many land owners chose to provide some part of their land to the poor farmers due to the fear of land ceiling act.
- This Bhoodan – Gramdan movement initiated by Vinoba Bhave is also known as Blood-less Revolution.
Contribution of agriculture to the national economy
- Agriculture has been the backbone of Indian economy though its share in the gross domestic product [GDP] has registered a declining trend from 1951 onwards;
- in 2010-2011 about 52% of the total workforce was employed by the farm sector.
- Declining the share of agriculture in the GDP is the matter of serious concern because any decline and stagnation in agriculture will lead to a decline in other spheres of the economy having wider implications for society .
- Establishment of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), agricultural universities, veterinary services and animal breeding centres, horticulture development, research and development in the field of meteorology and weather forecast etc. were given priority for improving Indian agriculture
Though GDP rate is increasing over the years, it is not generating sufficient employment opportunities in the country.
Challenges for Farmers
- Growth in agriculture is decelerating.
- Indian farmers are facing a big challenge from international competition and our government is going ahead with a reduction in public investment in the agriculture sector.
- Subsidy on fertilizers is decreased leading to an increase in the cost of production.
- Reduction in import duties on agricultural products have proved harmful to agriculture
in the country.
- Farmers are withdrawing their investment from agriculture causing a downfall in the employment in agriculture.
What is food security system ?
- In order to ensure availability of food to all sections of society, our government carefully designed a national food security system.
- It consists of two components: buffer stock and public distribution system (PDS).
- PDS is a program which provides food grains and other essential commodities at subsidised prices in rural and urban areas.
- The primary objective of this policy is to ensure food grains to common people at affordable prices.
- The policy focuses on growth in agriculture production and on fixing the support price for procurement of wheat and rice, to maintain the stock.
- Food Corporation of India (FCI) procures and stocks food grains, whereas distribution is
ensured by PDS.
How are food grains procured? What are the disadvantages and advantages of this method?
- FCI procures food grains from the farmers at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
- The government used to provide subsidies on agricultural inputs like fertilisers, water etc.
- But these have now reached sustainable levels and have also led to large scale inefficiencies in the use of these scarce inputs.
- Excessive use of water and fertilisers have led to water logging, salinity and depletion of micronutrients in the soil.
- The high MSP subsidies in input and committed FCI purchases have distorted the
- Wheat and paddy crops grown in Punjab and Haryana are for the MSP they get, which has created a serious imbalance in inter-crop parities.
How are consumers divided? What are its drawbacks/disadvantages?
- Consumers are divided into: below poverty line(BPL) and above poverty line(APL).
- However, this categorisation is not perfect as a number of deserving poor are excluded from BPL category and some of the so-called APL slip back to BPL, because of the failure of one crop and it is administratively difficult to accommodate such shifts.
How can we become self-sufficient?
- Self-sufficiency can be attained if the government provides proper agricultural infrastructure, credit linkage and also encourages the use of the latest techniques.
- Instead of concentrating only on wheat or rice, the food crop with better growth potential in that particular area must is encouraged.
- Creation of necessary infrastructure like irrigation facilities, availability of electricity etc. may also attract private investments in agriculture.
- The focus on increasing food grain production which should be on a sustainable basis and also free trade in grains will create massive employment and reduce poverty in rural areas.
What is the future of India’s food security?
- Shift from cultivation of food crops to cultivation of fruits, vegetables, oil-seeds and industrial crops.
- This has led to a reduction of net sown area under cereals and pulses.
- Competition for land between non-agricultural uses and agriculture has reduced the net sown area.
- The productivity of land is declining due to fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides.
- Scarcity of water has led to a reduction of area under irrigation whereas inefficient water management has led to waterlogging and salinity
Why has food grains production remained stagnant or fallen for five consecutive years?
The reasons are:
- Land degradation
- Reduced water storage in aquifers due to unsustainable pumping.
- Inadequate storage and marketing facilities. Farmers have to pay high prices for HYV seeds, fertilisers etc. but lack the bargaining power to fix prices in their favour.
- Higher the supply, lower is the demand. This cause distress sale.
- Therefore, there can be no food security without the security of small farmers
Impact of Globalization on Agriculture
- In the 19th century when European traders came to India, Indian spices were exported to different countries of the world and farmers were encouraged to grow these crops.
- Even today it is one of the important export items from India.
- During the British period, cotton belts of India attracted the British and eventually, cotton was exported to Britain as a raw material for their textile industries.
- The Champaran movement started in 1917 in Bihar because the farmers of that region were forced to grow Indigo for British textile industries.
- Under globalization, particularly after 1990, Indian farmers have been exposed to new challenges.
- Despite India being an important producer of rice, cotton, rubber, tea, coffee, jute and spices,
- our agricultural products are not able to compete with developed countries due to their highly subsidized agriculture in those countries.
How to Make Agriculture Productive
- To make agriculture successful and profitable, proper thrust should be given to the improvement of the condition of marginal and small farmers. .
- The green revolution promised much.
- But it is being alleged that it has caused land degradation.
- The keyword today is “gene revolution” which includes genetic engineering.
- In fact, organic farming is much in vogue today because it is practised without factory-made chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides.
- Hence, it does not affect the environment in a negative manner.
- Indian farmers have a bleak future if they continue growing food grains
- on the holdings that grow smaller and smaller as the population rises.
- Indian farmers should diversify their cropping pattern from cereals to high-value crops.
- This will increase incomes and reduce environmental degradation simultaneously
- India’s diverse climate can be harnessed to grow a wide range of high-value crops.
Selected Questions from This topic
- Describe the institutional and technical changes introduced in the field of agriculture in India in the recent year?
Ans: The institutional and technical changes introduced in the field of agriculture in India in the recent year are:
(i) Land reforms: Collectivisation, consolidation of holdings, cooperation and abolition of zamindari.
(ii) Agricultural reforms: Green revolution and the White revolution.
(iii) Land development programmes: Provision for crop insurance against drought, flood, cyclone, etc., the establishment of Grameen banks, Cooperative societies and banks for providing loans
. (iv) Issuing of Kissan Credit Card and Personal Accident Insurance Scheme, etc.
(v) Special weather bulletins and agricultural programmes for farmers on radio and TV.
(vi) Government announces Minimum Support Price (MSP) and remunerative and procurement prices to check exploitation.
(vii) The government provides HYV seeds and fertilisers.
(viii) The government provides technical assistance and training for farmers. (ix) Soil testing facilities, cold storage and transportation facilities are provided by the government for farmers. Read more on Sarthaks.com – https://www.sarthaks.com/63282/explain-institutional-technical-reforms-brought-government-improve-condition-agriculture
- What is the importance of using a high yielding variety of seeds, machines and other technological advancements in increasing the agricultural production?
Ans: The importance of using a high yielding variety of seeds, machines and other technological advancements in increasing the agricultural production are:
(i) High Yielding Variety of seeds and machines form the basis of modernisation of agriculture.
(ii) The Government of India has opened agricultural universities, agricultural research institutes, and agricultural farms.
(iii) Farmers are trained to adopt new farm machinery to increase agricultural production.
(iv) Farmers get these inputs on subsidised rates and on a loan basis.
3. Enlist the various Agriculture institutional reform programmes introduced by the government in the interest of farmers.
Ans: Various institutional reform programmes introduced by the government in the interest of the farmers are:
(i) Provision for crop insurance against drought, flood, cyclone, fire, and diseases.
(ii) Establishment of Grameen Banks, cooperative societies for providing loan facilities to farmers at lower interest rates.
(iii) Special weather bulletins and agricultural programmes for farmers on television and radio.
(iv) Announcement of minimum support price, remunerative and procurement prices for important crops to check the exploitation of farmers by speculators and middlemen.