Understanding the crisis

Understanding the crisis

More than twenty years of economic liberalisation had adversely affected the Indian agriculture. The most prominent sign of this is in the drastic decline in the growth rate of food grains. The rate of growth of agricultural output was gradually increasing in 1950-1990, and it was more than the rate of growth of the population. In the 1980s the agricultural output grew at about four per cent per annum. India has attained self-sufficiency in wheat and rice. But after liberalisation and towards the end of the 90’s the rate of growth declined to 2 per cent. The rate of growth of agriculture and allied sectors was just one per cent per annum during the year 2002-05. As a result, per capita availability of food grains decreased; the growth rate of population became higher than that of food grains and India started to import food grains at a much higher price than that in the domestic market. Further, agriculture (including allied activities) accounted for only 14 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP-at constant prices) in 2012-13 (Economic Survey 2013-14) while it was 15.2 per cent during the 11th plan period. But, the role of agricultural sector remains critical as it accounts for about 54.6 per cent of the employment in the country, (2011 census) apart from being the provider of food for the people, fodder for livestock and raw materials to industries. Based on the fact that, the relative contribution of agriculture to the GDP has been declining over time whereas there is not much decline in the percentage of people depending on this, it could be inferred that the performance of the sector is depressing. In general, the poor performance of agricultural production and food production is not a healthy sign for the economy. Again, if one observes “Indian agriculture is currently passing through a period of severe crisis. Although some features of the crisis started manifesting themselves in certain parts of India during the late 1980s, the crisis has assumed a serious dimension since the middle of the 1990s. One of the tragic manifestations of the crisis is the large number of suicides committed by the farmers in some parts of India. We hear often about India as a country with a very high economic growth, a country with the highest numbers of billionaires in Asia, and a country of world famous information technology. But, there is no mention about the serious problems in agriculture. Those who govern us do not seem to be concerned about this problem; probably they do not want to. But we cannot easily ignore this problem any longer.

Agrarian distress in india 

causes and remedies

Edited by T. Haque


Price : `1250    

Pages : 348

Against this backdrop, the book  Agrarian Distress in India: Causes and Remedies is an interesting read. The book contains papers presented during a national seminar. The book presents both macro and micro pictures of economic distress and challenges faced by Indian farmers and also suggest remedial measures. In a nutshell, this book gives a complete picture of the grave crisis that we are facing today and various technological, institutional and policy measures suggested by experts in the book should be taken into consideration by the government.

by Nilabh krishna

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