·         Agriculture plays a vital role in India’s economy. Over 58 per cent of the rural households depend on agriculture as their principal means of livelihood. Agriculture, along with fisheries and forestry, is one of the largest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

·         As per estimates by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the share of agriculture and allied sectors (including agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishery) was 15.35 per cent of the Gross Value Added (GVA) during 2015-16 at 2011-12 prices.

·         India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices and spice products. India's fruit production has grown faster than vegetables, making it the second largest fruit producer in the world. India's horticulture output, comprising fruits, vegetables and spices, is estimated to be 283.4 million tonnes (MT) in 2015-16 after the third advanced estimate. It ranks third in farm and agriculture outputs. Agricultural export constitutes 10 per cent of the country’s exports and is the fourth-largest exported principal commodity. The agro industry in India is divided into several sub segments such as canned, dairy, processed, frozen food to fisheries, meat, poultry, and food grains.

·         The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the development of the agriculture sector in India. It manages several other bodies, such as the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), to develop other allied agricultural sectors.

Market Size of Agricultural sector in India:-

·         Over the recent past, multiple factors have worked together to facilitate growth in the agriculture sector in India. These include growth in household income and consumption, expansion in the food processing sector and increase in agricultural exports. Rising private participation in Indian agriculture, growing organic farming and use of information technology are some of the key trends in the agriculture industry.

·         As per the 3rd Advance Estimates, India's food grain production has increased marginally to 252.23 million tonnes (MT) in the 2015-16 crop year. Production of pulses is estimated at 17.06 million tonnes.

·         With an annual output of 146.31 MT, India is the largest producer of milk, accounting for 18.5 per cent of the total world production. It also has the largest bovine population. India, the second-largest producer of sugar, accounts for 14 per cent of the global output. It is the sixth-largest exporter of sugar, accounting for 2.76 per cent of the global exports. India is a leading country in coconut production and productivity in the world, with annual production of 2,044 crore coconuts and the productivity of 10,345 coconuts per hectare as on 2015-16. Spice exports from India are expected to reach US$ 3 billion by 2016–17 due to creative marketing strategies, innovative packaging, strength in quality and strong distribution networks. The spices market in India is valued at Rs 40,000 crore (US$ 5.87 billion) annually, of which the branded segment accounts for 15 per cent. In fact, the Spices Board of India has decided to set up a spice museum at Willington Island in Kochi to attract and educate tourists and seafarers about the history and growth of Indian spices industry.

·         Indian agrochemical industry is expected to grow at 7.5 per cent annually to reach US$ 6.3 billion by 2020 with domestic demand growing at 6.5 per cent per annum and export demand at 9 per cent per annum*.

Agriculture Inputs: -

 For any sector these needs an input mechanism. These are mainly divided into 4 types

·         Land

·         Irrigation

·         Seeds

·         Fertilizers


·         Land is a scarce resource, whose supply is fixed for all practical purposes. At the same time, the demand for land for various competing purposes is continuously increasing with the increase in human population and economic growth.

·         Land use pattern qt any given time is determined by several factors including size of human and livestock population, the demand pattern, the technology in use, the cultural traditions, the location and capability of land, institutional factors like ownership pattern and rights and state regulation. The land use pattern besides having economic implications has also important ecological dimensions, which if ignored can have disastrous consequences.

·         The available land is classified into two parts on the basis of its use, viz.

Agricultural land:-

·         Agricultural land (also agricultural area) denotes the land suitable for agricultural production, both crops and livestock. It includes net sown area, current fallows and land under miscellaneous trees crops and groves. Agricultural land in India totals a little over 50 percent of the total geographical area in the country. This is the highest among the large and medium-sized countries of the world.

This indicates:-

·         The influence of favourable physical factors (like size, extent of plains and plateaus, etc.) and

·         The extension of cultivation to a large proportion of the cultivable land.

·         But, because of the large population of the country, the per capita arable land (i.e. land suitable for agriculture) is low: 0.16 hectares against the world average of 0.24 hectares. About 15 per cent of the sown area is multi-cropped.

·         While, most of the multi-cropped area is irrigated, only one-fourth of the gross cropped area is irrigated. The security provided by the irrigation facilities is a major factor in intensive application of labour and other inputs to obtain high yields.

Non-agricultural land:-

·         This includes:

·         land under forests and permanent pastures,

·         land under other non-agricultural uses (towns, villages, roads, railways, etc.) and

·         land classified as cultivable waste as well as barren and uncultivated land of mountain and desert areas.

Classification of Land based on usage pattern:-

Land Holding sizes in India:-

·         An operational land holding is a techno-economic land unit used wholly or partly for agricultural production and operated (directed/managed) by one person alone or with the assistance of others, without regard to title, size or location. A operation land holding may be consisted of either one or more than one parcels of land, provided they form the part of same unit.  Operational Land Holdings include only those units which are used either in farm production or farm production and livestock and poultry products (primary) and/or pisciculture or for only livestock and poultry products (primary) and/or pisciculture.

·         There are five kinds of Land Holdings in India, depending on various sizes as follows: Marginal holdings: Size 1 hectare or less

·         Small holdings: Size 1 to 2 hectares

·         Semi-medium holdings: Size 2 to 4 hectares

·         Medium holdings: Size 4 to 10 hectares

·         Large holdings: Size above 10 hectare

·         Maximum number of operational land holdings in India is marginal holdings. According to Census 2011, 67 per cent of holdings were classified as marginal (less than one hectare) and 18 per cent were classified as small (one-two hectare). Large holdings were estimated to be only 0.7%.

agricultural land holdings statistics india_percentage area under each operating category


·         According to Agricultural Census 2010-11, India’s total area under irrigation is 64.7 million hectares. Of this maximum 45% is shared by tube wells followed by Canals and wells.

·         We note here that since 1950-51, the government had given considerable importance to the development of command area under canals. In 1950-51, the Canal irrigated area was 8.3 million hectares and it currently stands at 17 million hectares. Despite that, the relative importance of Canals has come down from 40% in 1951 to 26% in 2010-11.  On the other hand, the well and tube well accounted for 29% total irrigated area and now they share 64% of the total irrigated area.
Need for Irrigation:

·         (i)India is a big country and stands next to China when we talk about population and so irrigation facilities are needed to grow more food to feed our teaming millions.

·         (ii) The distribution in rainfall is uneven and uncertain which either causes famines or drought. By means of irrigation we can check both the problems.

·         Different water requirements of different crops can only be met through irrigation facilities.

·         iv)India, being a tropical country the temperature is high and evaporation more rapid, so, artificial irrigation is necessary for ample supply of water and also to prevent water scarcity in the long dry winter season.

Types of Irrigation:

·         Depending upon the availability of surface or ground water, topography, soil and rivers, various types of irrigation practised in India are as follows:


·         It is prevalent in the uneven and relatively rocky plateau of Peninsular India. Tanks are commonly used in Deccan Plateau, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. About 8% of total irrigated area is irrigated by tanks.

·         Most of the tanks are small in size and built by indi­viduals or group of farmers by raising bunds across seasonal streams. But there are some drawbacks: Tanks cover a large areas of cultivable land. Evapo­ration of water is rapid due to large expanse of shal­low water of tanks, do not ensure perennial supply of water.


·         It is more widespread in plains, coasts and some regions of peninsular India. It is less costly and more flexible as water can be drawn whenever needed and ‘evaporation loss’ is minimised and no fear of “over irrigation”. Uttar Pradesh leads in well irrigation and is followed by Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

Wells are of two types:

·         Open wells and tube-wells. Open wells are shallow and irrigate a small area because water available is limited. Tube wells are deep and have the capacity to draw a large volume of water. It has increased in recent years.


·         Canals are the main source of irrigation in India. Canals are big water channels taken out from rivers to carry water to places far away from the river. It is of two types: Canals taken out from rivers without any regulating system like weirs etc. at their head are called inundation canals and canals taking off from perennial rivers with a weir system to regulate flow of water are called perennial canals.

·         The states under this irrigation system are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Punjab Rajasthan, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and UP.
Punjab and Haryana have become the first granaries of country due to these canals which include Western Yamuna Canal, Sirhind Canal, Upper Bari Doab canal & Bliakra Canal. The important canals of Uttar Pradesh are upper and lower Ganga Canal, Agra and Sharda Canal and Rajasthan has become third granary due to Rajasthan canal project.


Seed is the basic and most critical input for sustainable agriculture.  The response of all other inputs depends on quality of seeds to a large extent.  It is estimated that the direct contribution of quality seed alone to the total production is about 15 – 20% depending upon the crop and it can be further raised up to 45% with efficient management of other inputs. A major re-structuring of the seed industry by Government of India through the National Seed Project Phase-I (1977-78), Phase-II (1978-79) and Phase-III (1990-1991), was carried out, which strengthened the seed infrastructure that was most needed and relevant around those times. Post 1991 new seed policy has been initiated in 2002 where many measures has been taken improve the seed quality. Again in 2004 Seed bill has been passed, features of the bill is

·         Registration of kinds and varieties of Seeds etc.
  –  Evaluation of performance
  –  Compensation to Framers
  –  Registration of Seed Producers and Processing Units
  –  Seed dealers to be Registered

•   Regulation of Sale of Seed and Seed Certification
•   Seed Analysis and Seed Testing
•   Export and Import of Seeds and Planting Material
•   Offences and Punishment.

·         Apart from this many policy initiatives has been taken by the government like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna, Macro Management Agriculture, Integrated Scheme for oilseeds, pulses, oil palm and maize (ISOPOM); Technology missions for cotton, National food security Mission etc. provide for subsidized seeds. Some of them also provide incentives for investment in Seed manufacturing infrastructure and up gradations.

·         New Policy on Seed Development (NPSD) includes permitting 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) under the automatic route. The thrust is also on creating a seed bank.

·         There are three stages in seed production cycle. At first stage Breeder seeds are developed by ‘Indian Council of Agricultural Research’ (ICAR), National Seeds Corporation or state farms corporations. In second stage Foundation Seeds are developed by NSC, SFCs or State seeds corporations and then finally Certified Seeds are produced and distributed to all farmers.

·         Certification is done by state agricultural universities or private organizations authorized by ‘Indian Council of Agricultural Research’

Hybrid Seeds:-
Hybrid seeds are obtained by cross pollination of different varieties of related plants. These seeds were instrumental in green revolution. These seeds combine desirable properties of two related plants. Using a method of controlled crossing devised by Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel in the mid-19th century, plant breeders can now produce seed that combines the desired traits of two pure parent lines in the first generation itself.

Genetically Modified Varieties:-
These varieties of seeds are developed in laboratories by genetic engineering technologies. In these technologies genes of different species of organisms (like bacteria genes with plants) are integrated to modify DNA to get desired characteristic. Bacteria named bacillus Thuringiensis gives a gene that is incorporated into plant’s DNA and we get Genetically Modified Organisms like BT- corn, BT- cotton, Bt- Brinjal etc. This plant will be protected from pests and will give increased yields. In USA GM crops are allowed and contribute about 85% of the consumption, whereas in Europe it is largely banned as of now. In India, it is allowed for commercial production of cotton and for food crops field trials are going on

National Seeds Corporation:-

·         It is Mini ratna Company under Ministry of agriculture formed in 1963 to produce foundation seeds and undertake certification activities. It has central role in development of seed industry in India. Various schemes such as ISOPOM, NFSM and National Horticulture Mission are implemented (partly or fully) under NSC. It is also involved in export of seeds, especially to SAARC nations and African countries.

·         It maintains a SAARC seed bank in which large quantities of various seeds are kept as inventory so that shortage due to any natural calamity or otherwise could be tackled.


 Fertilizers are any organic/inorganic, natural/synthetic material used in soil to supplement it with plant nutrients which are essential for plant’s growth.

·         Fertilizers were another most important part of green revolution. Some points to be noted are –

·         In India per hectare Consumption around (around 146 Kg) is far lower than developed countries.

·         Indian Soils are deficient in Nitrogen and Phosphorus

·         Fertilizer can most effectively be used with ample water. So rain fed areas (deprived of irrigation) constitute 70 % of agricultural land and still they use only 20% of national Fertilizers consumption. On other hand Rabi crops are dominantly produced in Irrigated areas, so they consume about 66% of fertilizers while their share of total agri output is 33%

·         Due to rising prices of fertilizers government is promoting organic farming and organic manure.

·         India meets its 80 % requirement of Urea (N), while it is heavily dependent on Imports for its potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer requirements.

Fertilizers Vs Manure:-

·         Fertilizers are made through industrial processes in which composition of nutrients is precise and deliberately fixed. In contrast Manure is derived animal waste such as cattle dung and urine. It enriches the soil generally. Further, presence of manure makes fertilizers even more effective.


·         Plants or crops needs about 17 essential elements to survive and grow. If any of these elements is deficient, then growth will be stalled or plant will die. Among these elements, N, P, Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfur are required in comparative large quantities and termed as macro nutrients. Other elements such as Boron, Chlorine, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Zinc and Nickel are needed in smaller quantities hence termed as micronutrients. Macronutrient based fertilizers are dominant and its use enhances capability of plants to extract more micronutrients from soil.

       Nitrogen – is responsible for green leafy growth and overall plant health. Its Necessary for Photosynthesis to take place. Deficiency will result in yellow leaves and weak plant.

Phosphorous – Is necessary for root, flower and fruit development.

Potassium Plant health and vigour. It helps plant to fight diseases and pests. It also gives strong cell walls 

Subsidy: Subsidies are the financial benefits that are given to the farmers for their betterment. In India in last few years the rate of subsidy has evenly grown up to 55-60% on an average.

1. Input subsidy: Subsidies can be granted through distribution of inputs at prices that are less than the standard market price for these inputs. The magnitude of subsidies will therefore be equal to the difference between the two prices for per unit of input distributed. Naturally several varieties of subsidies can be named in this category like Fertiliser subsidy, Irrigation subsidy, Power subsidy, Seed subsidy and Credit subsidy

·         Price subsidy: It is the difference between the price of food-grains at which FCI procures food-grains from farmers, and the price at which PCI sells either to traders or to the PDS. The market price may be so low that the farmers will have to bear losses instead of making profits. In such a case the government may promise to buy the crop from the farmers at a price which is higher than the market price.

·         The difference between the two prices is the per unit subsidy granted to the farmers by the government. The price at which the government buys crops from the farmers is called the procurement price. Such procurement by the government also has a long run impact. It encourages the farmers to grow crops which are regularly procured.

Export Subsidy:-

·         This type of subsidy is not different from others. But its purpose is special. When a farmer or exporter sells agricultural products in foreign market, he earns money for himself, as well as foreign exchange for the country. Therefore, agricultural exports are generally encouraged as long as these do not harm the domestic economy. Subsides provided to encourage exports are referred as export subsidies.

Budget 2016 figures:-

·         Subsidies on food, fertiliser and petroleum have been pegged lower by over 4 per cent to nearly Rs 2.31 lakh crore for 2016-17. 

·         The subsidy bill was Rs 2, 41,856.58 crore for 2015-16 (revised estimates). 

·         The government has earmarked Rs 1,34,834.61 crore for food subsidy in the next fiscal as against Rs 1,39,419 crore in the revised estimate of this fiscal 

·         Fertiliser subsidy has been pegged at Rs 70,000 crore for 2016-17, lower than Rs 72,437.58 crore estimated for this financial year

·         In fertiliser subsidy, the government has allocated Rs 51,000 crore for urea and Rs 19,000 crore for decontrolled phosphoric and potassium (P&K) fertilisers. 

·         Petroleum subsidy has been reduced to Rs 26,947 crore for 2016-17 from estimated Rs 30,000 crore in the current fiscal. 

·         Of Rs 26,947 crore for next fiscal, Rs 19,802.79 crore has been earmarked for LPG subsidy and the rest is for kerosene. 

·         As per the document, out of total Rs 51,000 crore allocated for urea subsidy, Rs 40,000 crore has been earmarked for domestic urea, while the rest is for imported urea. 

·         Similarly, for decontrolled phosphoric and potassium fertiliser (like DAP and MoP), Rs 12,000 crore is allocated for indigenously produced and Rs 6,999.99 crore for imported P&K fertilisers, and Rs 1 lakh for assistance on production of city compost. 

Credit and Insurance:-

·         To procure all other inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, agricultural labour for tilling/weeding/sowing, every farmer needs money. This money requirement is more at the beginning of sowing season, but post-harvest loans are also crucial. Further, as we have seen, agriculture in India is fraught with exigencies of nature and macroeconomics, insurance is must for the farmer.

·         Traditionally, Indian farmer has been dependent upon informal sources of finance, such as from money lenders or subscribing to small chit funds. After the independence, by persistent efforts of government share of institutional credit has increased substantially. Informal or non-institutional credit was largely unregulated and Interest rates were a tool to extract maximum out of farmer. In contrast, under institutional credit there are various Interest Subvention schemes, under which farmer gets subsidized credit. There has been also large scale, but controversial Farm Loan waivers. Further, agricultural credit is largest component of Priority Sector lending targets.

·         Institutions like NABARAD, Regional Rural Banks, and Rural Cooperative Banks will be giving credit to farmers.

·         There are 3 types loans provided to Indian farmers to meet their requirements

·         Short term loans

·         Medium term Loans

·         Short term loans

·         Short term loans are provided for a period of less than 15 months to meet out expenses of routine farming and domestic expenses. Eg. Purchasing seeds, fertilizers.

·         Medium term loans are provided for a period of 15 months to 5years to purchase agricultural equipments, animal and land improvements

·         Long term loans are provided for more than 5 years to buy land, heavy equipment and repayment of old loans.

·         Indian farmers acquire from 2 sources

·         Non-institutional sources like Big money lenders , land lords, big business men etc.

·         Institutional sources like commercial banks, co-operative banks and Government sources.

Kisan Credit Card Scheme (KCC):-

·         Currently short term loan is disbursed to farmers through KCC. This method is used by all banks viz. Commercial or cooperative or regional rural banks. All types of farmers – Marginal farmers, Sharecroppers, Tenant farmers are eligible. Limit of credit disbursal depends upon land availability for cultivation and credit history of farmer. Through this card farmers also get Accidental death/permanent disability Insurance. Some banks have enlarged scope of KCC s by including Long term loans under it. Gov. advised banks to turn these cards in Smart cum Debit Card.

·         Interest subvention as per scheme of the government is available on the loans disbursed through card. There are other benefits in place such as no processing fees up to loan of 3 lakhs, Farmers can overdraw and maintain debit/negative balance up to certain extent.

Currently 3 major insurance schemes are –

·         National Agriculture Insurance Scheme – Launched for providing financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of crops as a result of natural calamities, pests and diseases.

·         Modified National Agriculture Insurance Scheme – It provides for subsidized premiums and 25% upfront/immediate payment of claim. It is compulsory for farmer who has taken loan. Private sector is allowed to operate under the scheme and NIAS stands withdrawn where MNIAS is implemented.

·         Pilot Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme – It insures farmers from anticipated exigencies of weather such as frost, rainfall, flood and humidity, which may result in damage to crop.

·         It is largely believed that various schemes have badly failed in delivering what they intended. There is lethargic implementation; Companies take more than a year to settle the claims. When there is crop failure or damage, farmers need immediate relief, at least before starting of next sowing season. In absence of this relief they have to forego crop for a season or depend upon expensive finance through informal sources.

·         Further, pricing of premium is arbitrary and profitability of farmers is not considered in this. In some crops premium is more than expected return on the crop. This keeps away small and marginal farmers from insurance. Yet they are the ones who need insurance the most.

·         As of now there is no scheme for Income insurance. If due to draught or natural calamity, farmers are not able to sow crops and will lose their income of that season, then they have no support of insurance. ‘Farm Income Insurance Scheme’ was launched in 2003, but it was soon discontinued after change of government.

Agricultural Marketing:-

·         Is done through APMC where farmers get fair and remunerative price.

·         An Agricultural Produce Market Committee is a marketing board established by state governments of India, one main function of which is basically to provide a platform for farmers to sell their produce. 

·         To protect and empower the farmers, the state governments since 1950s started enacting APMC which runs on two principles: Ensure Farmers are not Exploited
2.Ensure Farmer gets good Money

·         How is it formed?
A State is geographically divided and Market (Mandis) are established at different places within the states where farmers have to sell their products through auctions.
State APMC Market Committees have 10-17 members elected or nominated by Government in accordance with provisions of the respective State APMC Act.

·         These Market Committees are engaged in development of market yards for the benefit of agriculturists and the buyers. They may also provide storage structures, godowns, etc

Problems with APMC:-

·         To operate in an APMC Market (Mandi), you need to get a license, the pre-conditions for which is you must own a shop or warehouse in the Mandi. But Shops / warehouses are limited n number and very expensive. Commission agent/middleman/trader has to make heavy investment to start a business in APMCs. Even weigh men, Paddlers, Hamals have to get license.
And we all know of the bribe culture in India that goes along with all License requirements.
The Mandi people sometimes overcharge the farmers to recover their (bribe) investment.

·         Regular elections of APMCs are not held and APMC board are administrated by bureaucrats.

·         In every Mandi, every transaction is subjected to market tax + market cess. To avoid tax/cess, the traders don’t give sale slips to farmers. Later it becomes difficult for farmer to prove his ‘income’ to get loans from banks.

·         In order to address these problems Government declares minimum support prices (MSP) for many cereal, pulses and oilseeds crops so, middleman at APMC cannot exploit the farmers beyond a level.

·         In order to over the problems completely eNAM has been introduced. National Agriculture Market (NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities. The NAM Portal provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services. This includes commodity arrivals & prices, buy & sell trade offers, provision to respond to trade offers, among other services. An online market reduces transaction costs and information asymmetry.

·         Administration of e-NAM: State Government as per agri-Market Regulations.

State is divided into several Markets areas regulated by APMC which imposes its own regulations like Fees, Mandi Charges, and Prices for the consumer benefit.

Online trading platform at the state and central level to

Promotes uniformity

·         Streamlining of procedures across the integrated markets

·         Removes information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promotes real time price discovery, based on actual demand and supply

·         Access to nationwide markets for farmers.

·         Online payment and availability of better quality produce and at more reasonable prices to the consumer.

Objectives of NAM:-

·         A national e-market platform for transparent sale transactions and price discovery initially in regulated markets. 

·         Promotion of e-trading by their State Agricultural Marketing Board/APMC.

·         Liberal licensing of traders / buyers and commission agents by State authorities. One license for a trader valid across all markets in the State

·         Harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produce and provision for assaying (quality testing) infrastructure in every market to enable informed bidding by buyers.

·         Single point levy of market fees, i.e on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.

·         Provision of Soil Testing Laboratories in/ or near the selected mandi to facilitate visiting farmers to access this facility in the mandi itself. M/s. Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. is the Strategic Partner (SP) who is responsible for development, operation and maintenance of the platform.


·         NAM promises more options for selling produce and making competitive returns.

·         Traders

·         NAM will provide access to larger national market for secondary trading.

·         Buyers, Processers & Exporters

·         NAM will enable direct participation in the local mandi trade, reducing intermediation cost.

·         State’s Requirements for Successful Implementation

·         In order to facilitate both - unification of market and online trading, it is necessary for the States to undertake reforms prior to seeking assistance under the scheme in respect of

·         a single license to be valid across the State,

·         single point levy of market fee and

·         provision for electronic auction as a mode for price discovery.

·         Implementations Agency: Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is operating the NAM as the implementing agency with technical support from the Strategic Partner (SP).

Government Initiatives/Schemes with respect to Agriculture:-

·         Given the importance of the agriculture sector, the Government of India, in its Budget 2016–17, planned several steps for the sustainable development of agriculture.

·         Budget 2016-17 proposed a slew of measures to improve agriculture and increase farmers’ welfare such as 2.85 million hectares to be brought under irrigation, Rs 287,000 crore (US$ 42.11 billion) grant in aid to be given to gram panchayats and municipalities and 100 per cent village electrification targeted by May 01, 2018. The government has set an ambitious target of producing a record 270.1 MT of foodgrains in 2016-17, 7 per cent higher than the 252.23 MT of production estimated for 2015-16.

·         The Government of India has started work on 99 major and medium irrigation projects, slated to be completed by 2019. These projects will bring 7.6 million hectares of land under irrigation in some of the most drought-prone regions of India.

·         The government has already taken steps to address two major factors (soil and water) critical to improve agriculture production. Steps have been taken to improve soil fertility on a sustainable basis through the soil health card scheme and to support the organic farming scheme ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’. Other steps include improved access to irrigation through ‘Pradhanmantri Gram Sinchai Yojana’; enhanced water efficiency through `Per Drop More Crop’; continued support to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the creation of a unified national agriculture market to boost the incomes of farmers.

·         The Government of India recognises the importance of micro irrigation, watershed development and ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana’; thus, it allocated a sum of Rs 5,300 crore (US$ 777.6 million) for it. It urged the states to focus on this key sector. The state governments are compelled to allocate adequate funds to develop the agriculture sector, take measures to achieve the targeted agricultural growth rate and address the problems of farmers.

·         Given the correlation between improvement in agriculture and the development of the country, the Government of India adopted several initiatives and programmes to ensure continuous growth. It allocated Rs 25,000 crore (US$ 3.67 billion) for the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIFD), Rs 1,500 crore (US$ 220 million) for the long-term rural credit fund, Rs 45,000 crore (US$ 6.60 billion) for the short-term cooperative rural credit finance fund and Rs 25,000 crore (US$ 3.67 billion) for the short-term Regional rural bank (RRB) refinance fund. It also marked an ambitious target of Rs 8.5 lakh crore (US$ 124.71 billion) of agriculture credit during 2015–16.

Soil health card:-

·         To boost productivity and bring about increased prosperity, it has become necessary to nurture the soil. The Soil Health Card scheme has been launched with this ideal on February 19, 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Suratgarh, Rajasthan.

·         Under this scheme, 14 crore Soil Health Cards are envisaged to be issued over the next 3 years.

·         Soil Health card is a report card that provides vital information about the quality of soil by giving comprehensive information about type of soil, nutrient content, fertilizer required, crop suitability to ambient temperature and rainfall condition.

·         The ‘Soil Health Card’ would carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients / fertilizers required for farms in a particular village, so that the farmers can improve productivity by using inputs judiciously. The soil health card is issued every 3 years, to all the farmers of the country so as to provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertiliser practices.

·         Some of the recent major government initiatives in the sector are as follows:

·         The government has drawn up a five-year roadmap to increase pulse production from nearly 17.06 MT in 2015-16 to 24 MT in 2020-21 through a dedicated action plan.

·         Prime Minister has unveiled the operational guidelines for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which aims to provide farmers with crop insurance as well as

·         The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved ‘Blue Revolution’, an umbrella scheme for integrated development and management of fisheries by Government of India, with total financial outlay of Rs 3,000 crore (US$ 440.15 million) for a period of five years.

·         The new crop insurance scheme for farmers 'Bhartiya Krishi Bima Yojana' aims to cover 50 per cent of the farmers under the scheme in the next two-three years,

·         Gujarat Government has planned to connect 26 Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) via electronic market platform, under the National Agriculture Market (NAM) initiative.

·         The State Government of Telangana plans to spend Rs 81,000 crore (US$ 11.88 billion) over the next three years to complete ongoing irrigation projects and also undertake two new projects for lifting water from the Godavari and Krishna river.

·         The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) announced 42 dairy projects with a financial outlay of Rs 221 crore (US$ 32.42 million) to boost milk output and increase per animal production of milk.

·         Government of India has set up an inter-ministerial committee, which will look into ways to examine the potential of Indian agriculture, identify segments with potential for growth, and work towards doubling farm incomes by 2022.

·         The Government of India has allocated Rs 200 crore (US$ 29.9 million) for electronically linking 585 major wholesale agriculture markets across the country, thereby creating a National Agriculture Market (NAM) in July 2015 for three years