Agriculture accounts for around 18 percent of India's GDP

World Tuesday 17/October/2023 08:31 AM
By: Agencies
Agriculture accounts for around 18 percent of India's GDP

New Delhi: During the post pandemic years, the agriculture sector has grown consistently more than 3%; it has not only provided enhanced livelihood to our hard working farmers but also supported the overall resilience of the Indian economy.

New Delhi: India’s agricultural sector stands as the lifeblood of its economy, deeply ingrained in the fabric of its society and culture. For decades, the nation has sustained an intricate dance with the land, harnessing its resources to feed a population that continues to surge in numbers. Agriculture accounts for around 18 percent of India's GDP and nearly 45.5 percent of India’s population is still dependent on the agriculture sector.

The agricultural and allied sector has displayed robust performance over the past few years, largely attributed to government measures aimed at enhancing crop and livestock productivity. These measures include ensuring favourable pricing for farmers, encouraging crop diversification, and enhancing market infrastructure through the establishment of farmer-producer organisations.

Additionally, investments in infrastructure via the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund have played a significant role.

The performance of the agricultural sector remains pivotal for both economic growth and employment in the country. There has been a particular emphasis on the horticulture sector and allied activities, diversifying farmers' income sources and enhancing their resilience against weather-related challenges.

India has seen substantial changes in agricultural methods, technical improvements, and legislative reforms over the last decade. These changes have had an impact on the performance of the sector, bringing both possibilities and challenges in the pursuit of sustainable development.

In the course of recent decades, the agricultural growth trajectory of India has embarked upon a metamorphic voyage, thereby mirroring the inherently dynamic disposition of this sector. Evidently, it has demonstrated a persistent expansion, maintaining a growth rate exceeding 3% consistently for a contiguous span encompassing four years, spanning from 2019 to 2023.

The decadal growth rates of the agriculture sector revealed that the recent decade from 2011-21 was the most fruitful decade for the agriculture sector as the sector grew at 3.8% (average) during the period. The notable development is that the growth rate from 2011-21 is even higher than the rate during the Green Revolution.

This progress was attributed to the successful implementation of various government policies, like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), E-NAM, Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF), technological advancements, infrastructure development, knowledge sharing, policy support, and climate resilience strategies.

Over the past decade, India has experienced significant shifts in agricultural practices, technological advancements, and policy reforms. These changes have influenced the sector’s performance, presenting both opportunities and challenges in the pursuit of sustainable development.

Over the past 75 years, India has achieved numerous significant milestones, propelling it from its traditional roots into a dynamic and contemporary economy. A series of transformative shifts have occurred, including ensuring food security, implementing the Economic Reforms of 1991, attaining nuclear capabilities, launching indigenous satellites, and evolving into a global software hub, among other accomplishments.

At the core of all the advancements lies the pivotal role of agriculture, acting as the driving force that liberated the economy to concentrate on the growth of other sectors. This was made possible because post the 1970s, successive governments no longer had to grapple with concerns of food scarcity. Indian agriculture's significance was reaffirmed during the recent Covid-19 pandemic, as it exhibited remarkable growth while other economic segments faltered. Throughout the pandemic, governments were relieved of the burden of food shortages, enabling them to dedicate their efforts to managing the crisis.

The trajectory of Indian agriculture has undergone a profound transformation, starting from the Grow More Food Campaign of the 1950s to the Green Revolution of the mid-1960s, and progressing to today's advancements in biotechnology. The incorporation of technologies such as AI and drones has revolutionized farming from what it was during the initial decades following Independence.

Simultaneously, the policy landscape has also evolved, marked by the signing of the WTOagreementin1995, which opened up international trade opportunities for various agricultural commodities and allowed for foreign direct investment (FDI) in organized retail, among other changes.

Over the past many decades, India’s agricultural growth rate has undergone a transformative journey, reflecting the dynamic nature of the sector. Starting in the years 1950 to 1961, the average growth rate was above 3%; after that, it began to decline and reached its lowest point in the years 1971 to 1981 at just 1.8%; it then began to increase and reached its highest point in the years 2011 to 2021 at a rate of 3.8 (Average).

The growth rate from in 2011-21 is even higher than the rate during the Green Revolution.The consistent and exponential growth witnessed in India’s agricultural sector in the past decade can be attributed to the successful implementation of various government policies, like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY),E-NAM, Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF),etc., on the back of such reforms the agriculture sector is becoming stronger.

The Green Revolution stands as a pivotal chapter in the history of the agricultural sector, characterized by remarkable innovations aimed at increasing global food production. Yet, beneath its overarching success lies a nuanced tale of fluctuating growth rates, underlining the intricate and sometimes unpredictable nature of agricultural development during this transformative period.

The fluctuating agricultural growth rates during the Green Revolution era were influenced by disparities in technology adoption among farmers, varying access to essential agricultural inputs and infrastructure, environmental constraints like unpredictable weather patterns and natural disasters, and the adaptability of high-yielding crop varieties to different regions. These factors collectively created a complex landscape where regions with better adoption, infrastructure, and environmental conditions experienced more consistent growth, while others faced fluctuations due to challenges in these areas.

It can be seen that over the past decade the agricultural growth rate exhibited a positive trend for almost all years except for 2014-15 where the growth rate declined because of bad monsoon during the kharif season and unseasonal rain during the rabi harvest. The Green Revolution era was characterized by fluctuations in agricultural growth rates, highlighting the complexities inherent in agricultural development.

However, the past four years have demonstrated a distinct departure from this historical pattern, as consistent growth has become a prominent trend. This shift can be attributed to a combination of technological advancements, infrastructure development, knowledge sharing, policy support, and climate resilience strategies.

In conclusion, the agricultural landscape in India has undergone significant transformations over the past decade, driven by advancements in technology, policy reforms, and evolving practices.

These changes have presented a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges, underscoring the nation's pursuit of sustainable development in the sector. The journey of India's agricultural growth has been marked by fluctuations, reflecting the dynamic nature of the sector.

 The Green Revolution era brought both growth and instability, with fluctuations in growth rates despite notable increases. However, recent years have shown a departure from this historical pattern, as consistent growth has become a prevailing trend. This shift owes its success to a combination of factors including technology integration, infrastructure development, policy implementations, and strategies for climate resilience.

India's agricultural sector has navigated a complex path of growth, transformation, and adaptation. The challenges and opportunities presented by shifting agricultural practices, technological advancements, and policy reforms have collectively shaped the sector's performance. While historical fluctuations persist in the trajectory of growth, recent years have brought about a newfound consistency, bolstered by strategic reforms and an expanding presence in international trade. As India's agricultural sector continues on this trajectory, it remains poised to contribute significantly to the country's sustainable development and global economic engagement.