Agriculture - A Vital Part Of India's Economic Growth
India wants to shrug off the tag of a developing nation. It wants to grow at a significant pace if it wants to have even a semblance of a chance to keep up with China. However, there is cause for concern here since in 2014-15 the sector which employs more than 49% of the Indian work force grew at a measly 1.1%.
In the first decade of the century Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Haryana and Delhi are some of the places which have shown the way as far as economic growth is concerned. However, there persist systemic issues due to which the overall growth targets are being missed each year. In 2013 alone, the agricultural sector and its allied activities contributed 13.7% towards G.D.P.
Industry and agriculture form together the back bone of Indian economic growth. In 2012, Industry and Agriculture had contributed 28.6% and 14.6% towards Gross Domestic Product of the country. Agriculture is just as essential as industry for food production self reliance as well as employment and income generation. Economic growth is essential for poverty alleviation and agriculture will have a big role to play in the same because majority of India still lives in villages and small towns.
In 2014-15, June-September saw India experiencing 12% deficit in rainfall considering averages over long period. We are currently in the 12th 5 year plan wherein a 4% growth has been envisaged for the Agriculture GDP growth. However, that seems highly unlikely since the first 2 years have seen a meagre growth of 2%, thus necessitating an average annual growth over the next 2 years of 7%.
The end of financial year 14-15 had seen a drop in grain production year on year to roughly 257.1 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT). However, it has not been all downhill for agriculture with it attracting 2153.61 million dollars worth of Foreign Direct Investment as per Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for the period of April, 2000 and 2014 December. The government did take a number of steps in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 budgets to give impetus to agriculture.
The latest budget speaks of improving support for soil health, irrigation and productivity. It also raises the agricultural credit and has spoken about creation of a unified national market for the sale of agricultural produce at consistent and fair prices. While economy is experiencing an upsurge in the wake of a sharp fall in inflation, a proper monitoring of agriculture procurement prices must be kept up.