In this article we will discuss about the development of agriculture under 5 year plans in India.
Agriculture under First Plan:
The chief objective of First 5-Year Plan was to restore the disequilibrium created by the Second World War and the Partition. The Partition of the country resulted in a transfer of the fertile wheat areas of the Punjab and rice areas of Bengal to Pakistan. Pakistan also benefited by getting the long-stapled cotton and jute-growing areas. And a relatively much large acreage of the irrigated area.
Overcome these shortfalls, the First 5-Year Plan gave a predominant importance to the development of agriculture and irrigation out of a total actual investment of Rs. 1960 crores made in the first plan. Rs. 601 crores i.e. 31% was allocated for agriculture.
There were two components of agricultural investment In the public sector, (i) Rs, 291 crores (15%, of the total) was allocated to agriculture & C.D.P. and the balance of Rs. 310 crores (or 16% of total) was the share of irrigation? It was expected that the index of farm output would increase from about 100 in 1949-50 to 114 in 1955-56.
The details of the targets of the various agricultural products are given in the following table.
This table also gives the extent of achievement of the targets at the end of the Plan. The targets were realized in most of the cases, excepting for commercial crops like sugarcane, cotton and jute. The over fulfilment of the target of food production brought about a fall in the prices in the country.
The above referred targets were expected to be achieved through various measures like institutional reforms. Organisational changes, structural changes and technical progress. The realization of targets was due not only to these changes but also the weather gods. As a result of planning.
Nearly 12 lakh acres of land were reclaimed and brought under farming. As many as 14 mn. acres were brought under irrigation. At the same time the Japanese method of rice-cultivation was largely extended. Nearly 40% of the villages were brought under CDP, and NES.
The effects of increase in food production were quite favourable. India became self-sufficient in food grains. The price index for agricultural commodities (1952-53 = 100) came down to 92.8. Thus the increase in farm output during the First Plan helped to end inflation, stabilized the economy and paved the way for a higher rate of development during the second plan.
Agriculture under Second Plan:
The over-fulfillment of First 5-Year Plan target of food output made the planners think that the food problem was solved and that the agricultural base was strengthened. Hence, they devoted a relatively less outlay for agriculture 20% of the public outlay (or Rs. 4800 crores) as compared to 33% in the First Plan.
In money terms, however, the outlay in the Second Plan was higher. It was Rs. 1050 crores as compared to only. Rs.758 crores in the First Plan. The targets originally fixed for the Second Plan which were much lower were revised upward and they were given as in the following table. These targets were to be achieved by the same measures as those in the First Plan. The following table gives the actual production at the end of Second Plan.
The actual progress in agricultural front was quite substantial but fell far short of targets fixed earlier, e.g. against 21 mn. acres of additional land to be brought under irrigation, the actual achievement was about 16 mn. acres only.
The consumption of fertilizer increased very slowly. In brief the methods of increased agricultural production did not make as much headway as was originally visualised by the Planning Commission. However the actual output by the end of Second Plan was much more than the actual output of the beginning of the Second Plan. But these was a shortfall in the Production of all commodities except sugar cane and tea.
The Planning Commission has been blamed for all this on the ground that it did not give enough emphasis to agricultural development and instead it turned its attention to the growth of heavy and basic industries. We are of the opinion that such a criticism was not fair to the Planning Commission. It did understand the significance of increased farm output, but it believed that with a smaller outlay, it would be possible to bring about a larger output.
The poor development of agriculture during Second Plan led to a good number of difficulties in the Indian economy. The most important effect was the rise in the price level. During this Plan, the wholesale price index of all commodities increased by 35%.
As a result of rise in farm prices, other commodities also recorded rise in prices. An inflationary situation rapidly appeared. The imports of food grains which were cut during First Plan had to be resumed and precious foreign exchange meant for machinery and other industrial raw materials had to be wasted in importing food grains.
Agriculture under Third Plan:
Third 5 year Plan gave a Predominant emphasis to agriculture. One of the major objectives of the Plan was to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains and to increase agricultural production for exports.
It says, in the scheme of development during the Third Plan the first priority necessarily belongs to agriculture. Experience under the first two plans and especially in the second plan has shown that the rate of growth in the agricultural production is one of the main limiting factors in the process of Indian economy.
Agricultural production has therefore, to be increased to the largest extent feasible, and adequate resource have to be provided under the Third Plan for raising the agricultural production. The rural economy has to be diversified and the proportion of the population dependent on agriculture gradually diminished.
There are essential aims if the income and levels of the rural population are to rise steadily and to keep pace with income in other sectors. Both in formulating and implementing programmes for the development of agriculture, the guiding consideration is that whatever is physically practicable should be made financially possible and the potential of each are a should be developed to the possible extent.
With this end in view, the Plan allocated almost 10% of the total public sector outlay of the Plan i.e., Rs. 1310 crores out of Rs. 6300 crores. Actual expenditure worked out to be Rs. 1754 crores.
The targets and actual production of the major agricultural corps were as follows:
In short, the Third Plan failed on the agricultural front. In contrast to the targeted increase of 30% or 6% per year in food grains a bare 10% or 2% per year was realized: at the same time, the index of food grains prices had short up from 118.4 in 1961-62 to 168.8 in 1965-66. As a consequence of the shortfall in food production food-grains worth Rs. 1.10 crores were imported between 1961-62 and 1965-66. This strained our foreign exchange position still further.
Agriculture under the Annual Plan:
The Third 5 Year Plan, consequently the Fourth Plan could not be introduced in April 1966. Instead the Govt. introduced the annual plans for three years-1966 to 1969. During these annual plans actual expenditure on agriculture worked out to be Rs. 1624 crores which was 24% of the total plan investment of 6757 crore rupees.
The three years of the ‘Plan Holiday’ viz. 1966-67 to 1968-69 witnessed the adoption of the new agricultural strategy, which has come to be commonly known.as the green revolution, and is composed of a package, chiefly of four improvements, none of which is wholly effective without the others: improved varieties increased use of fertilizers, improved water supplies and better agricultural practices. With it are also associated increasing mechanisation of agricultural operations and measures of plant protection from pests and diseases
On account of the drought conditions during 1966-67 minor irrigation received a high priority and the programmes were undertaken on an emergency basis. In addition to this, programmes of high-yielding varieties along with the requisite application of chemical fertilizers were undertaken.
A good year of rainfall coupled with efforts to improve production with a new technological resulted in a record food grains production of 95.6 mn. tonnes in 1967-68. Although the targets for 1968-69 was 102 mn. tonnes, it was not possible to reach the target in view of the crop failure in some regions in India. However the production of food grains. was maintained at the level of 95.6 mn. tonnes in 1968-69. The consumption of chemical fertilizers also touched the level of 1750 thousand tonnes in 1967-68.
Agriculture under Fourth Plan:
The bitter experience of the Third Plan made the Planning Commission realize the fact that planning would be a failure unless agricultural production was increased rapidly. Accordingly Planning Commission assigned a high priority to agriculture.
Even in the case of industries, the Planning Commission emphasised those industries which supply fertilizers, agricultural machinery etc. The approach to Fourth Plan emphasised the need of creating favourable economic conditions for the formation of agriculture, a systematic effort to extend the application of science and technology to agriculture and in general intensify agricultural programmes to the maximum possible extent in selected areas.
The Fourth Plan had the following two main objectives in the agricultural sector:
(i) To provide the conditions necessary for a sustained increase of about 5 per cent per annum over the next decade.
(ii) To enable as large a sector of the rural population as possible, including the small farmer, the farmer in dry areas and agricultural labourers to participate in development and share its benefits.
The strategy of agricultural development was based largely on the further extension of the high yielding varieties (HYV) and multiple cropping programmes.
The Fourth Plan envisaged an expenditure of Rs. 3814 crores on Agriculture which was 24% of the total expenditure of Rs 15902 crores. But the actual outlay was less.
The Fourth Plan postulated an annual growth rate of 5% for agriculture as a whole. The compound growth rate target for food’ grains worked out to be 5.6% p.a. Frankly speaking none of the targets fixed in the Fourth Plan was realised.
The target for food grains was 129 mn. tones for 1973-74, but the actual production in that year was only 103 mn. tonnes. The target for what was attained easily-intact, it was exceeded in 1971-72 when wheat output was 26 mn. tonnes as against the target of 24 mn. tonnes for the final year of the Plan.
As against the target of 15 mn. tonnes in 1973-74,. the actual production of pulses in that year was only 98 mn. tonnes. In rice against the target of 52 mn. tonnes, the actual production was 43.7 mn. tonnes. In important commercial crops like cotton and jute actual production was much below the target level.
As against the target of 80 lakh bales the actual production of cotton in 1973-74 was only 38 lakh bales. In jute as against a target of 74 lakh bales, actual production was only the order of 62 lakh bales in 1973-74. With respect to oilseeds and sugarcane too the progress was below expectation.
Two factors were responsible for better production in wheat:
(i) Area sown under wheat grew by 10 8% and
(ii) As a result of green revolution, productivity per acre also showed a considerable improvement under high- yielding varieties with a higher consumption of fertilizers.
Taking an overall view the achievements in agriculture.in Fourth Plan showed substantial shortfall compared with the targets laid in the Plan.
Two major factors besides several others, were responsible for this:
(1) It was hoped that consumption of fertilizers would reach a target of 55 lakh tonnes in 1973-74 from an assumed base level of 16.5 lakh tonnes in 1968-69. Actual production of fertilizers was estimated at only 30 lakh tonne in 1973-74. Failure to increase fertilizer production in view of raw materials like naphtha and non-availability of fertilizers in international market were responsible for the shortfall in this area.
(2) The targets of irrigation could not be fulfilled. In view of the rising costs, although the financial expenditure exceeded targeted provision, the physical achievements in terms of additional irrigated areas got reduced. Thus the Target of food self-sufficiency receded further and the country was forced to import 3.6 m. tonnes of food-grains in 1973 and 48 mn. tonnes in 1974.,
The overall rate of growth of agricultural production during Fourth Plan was only 2’8% p.a. In a number of crops, the growth of output had fallen short of the growth of population, leading to a decline in the per capita availability of essential wage good. The unsatisfactory performance of the agricultural sector was the root cause of the stagnation of national income and inflationary pressures since 1972-73.
Agriculture under the Fifth Plan:
During the Fifth Plan, Rs. 7,411. crores will be spent on the development of agriculture and irrigation which accounts for 20% of the total Plan outlay. Beside this, investments by the private sector shall be of the order of Rs. 2,950 crores.
Taking public and private, sectors, together, total outlay on agriculture, will be of the order of Rs. 10,361 crores. With this level of outlay, the Fifth Plan has targeted a growth rate of 4.2% for food-grains as a whole. This is distinctly, less ambitions as than the target set out in the Fourth Plan.
In determining targets the Fifth Plan has clearly stated its objectives:
“It is envisaged that the fulfillment, of these targets will make country not only self-sufficient in respect of food grains but also leave a cushion for building a buffer stock. The dimension of growth in commercial crops envisaged in the Plan are such as to take care of export requirement in addition to meet the indigenous needs by way of industrial raw material.” In other words, the objective is food self-sufficiency and self-reliance.”
Agricultural Development under Sixth Five Year Plan:
The Sixth Five Year Plan (1980-85) was started in an extremely different circumstances as the year of 1979-80 witnessed a worse drought. It affected agricultural production adversely. However, the achievements of the plan were satisfactory.
Among the different crops, only wheat has been keeping pace with the plan targets. The production of rice came close to the target of 55 million tons in 1980-81 but failed to show any improvement in the following years. Kharif crop also suffered a setback due to drought weather in many parts of the country during 1982-83. The total production of all food grains in the terminal year of sixth plan was recorded 138.1 million tons. Out of it, the production of rice and wheat was about 54.5 and 41.2 million Ions, respectively.
Similarly, oilseeds production was 11.4 million tons against as target of 12.5 million tons. Millet production has moved nearer to the target in 1984-85. Table 29.8 shows the trends of agricultural production ending 1984-85. Similarly ,indeed number for the same period exhibits the agricultural production has been highlighted in table.
Inputs and Other Supporting Programmes:
Weather conditions were favourable during 1978-79 and 1981-82 which enabled the farmers to make better use of inputs and infrastructure resulting in bumper harvest. This period can specifically be considered as a turning point in Indian agriculture as it could stand a challenge to natural calamities with comparatively less damage.
The plan has set a target of additional irrigation of 5.6 million hectares from major and medium and 8 million hectares from minor schemes. The utilisation potential for major/medium and minor schemes of irrigation was 60.58 million hectares in 1984-85 against 54.1 million hectors in 1980-81. Under the 20-Point Programme, the target was raised to 14.00 million hectares against 13.6 million hectares.
The achievement in the first three years is 6.22 million hectares. By 1981-82, an area of 46.5 million hectares was brought under high yielding varieties, which increased to 54.1 million hectares in 1984-85. Chemical fertilizer obtained anticipated achievement in 1982-83 of 60.64 lac tons against the target of 46.50 lac tons. The consumption of fertilizer during 1981-82 was 60.6 lac tons which increased to 82.2 lac tons in 1984-85.
For the development of dry farming during 1982-83.3824 micro watersheds covering 3.8 million hectares were to be identified by various states. It had covered 4111 micro-watersheds against the total target of 3824 watersheds by the end of March 1983. Upto July 1983, 43.31 lac acres of land had been declared surplus under the revised land ceiling laws. 29.45 lac acres have been taken over by the states and out of this 20.05 lac acres have been distributed among 14.82 lac eligible families of landless agricultural workers. The consumption of plant protection materials was below expectations i.e. actual consumption in 1984-85 was only 56000 tons.
Minikits and Other Programmnes:
The central sector scheme of community nurseries of rice and minikit distributions of rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize and rabi were intensified in order to create a visible impact on production of cereal crops. The physical target of coverage of area under the community nurseries of rice was raised from 15000 hectare to 25000 hectares during 1982-83.1.42 lac minikits were distributed during 1982-83 against 14000 minikits during 1981-82.
Agricultural marketing and Rural Godowns:
In 1982-83, 40 selected regulated markets, 2 terminal markets. 350 primary rural markets in rural area and 20 wholesale markets in backward area have been provided the central assistance for the development of infrastructural facilities. 2371 godowns having a storage capacity of 10.65 lac tons were sanctioned upto 1981-82. In 1982-83, 4 lac tons capacity of additional target was expected to have been achieved.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) was set up in July 1982. As on 30th June 1981, there were 27 State Cooperative Banks, 327 Central Cooperative Banks, 94019. Primary Agricultural Credit Societies and 19 State Land Development Banks with 1731 Primary Land Development Banks. The Commercial Banks had 17658 rural and 8370 semi urban branches in the country. The total credit under multi-agency was recorded to be Rs.5556 crores in 1984-85.
Agricultural Development in Seventh Plan:
The outlay for agriculture and allied sector including forestry and wild life was Rs. 10524 crore in Seventh Plan against Rs.6440 crores in Sixth Five Year Plan Period. The average level of annual production of food grains during the plan period was around 155 millions tonnes. In 1990-91 food grain production reached to the level of 176-92 million tonnes against the production of 140.35 million tonnes in 1987-88.
Wheat production has increased to 2244 Kg/ha in 1989-90 while the production of cereals reached to the level of 34.76 million tonnes in the same year. The production of pulses and oilseed peaked to the level of 14.06 and 18.46 million tonnes in 1990-91. The production of sugarcane reached a record level of over 240 million tonnes in 1990-91.
The certified seeds distributed were 57.04 lakh quintals ending 1989-90 against the target of 70 lakh quintals. The total consumption of N, P and K was 11.5 million tonnes while pesticides was of 72.47 thousand tonnes ending the plan period. The area under high yielding varieties was 63.1 million hectares against the target of 70.00 million hectares. The production of tea and rubber was increased from 652 million Kgs. and 201000 tonnes in 1984-85 to 703 million Kgs and 297000 tonnes in 1989-90 respectively.
During the plan period, disbursement of agriculture credit through cooperatives commercial and regional rural banks increased from Rs.5810 crores in 1984-85 to Rs. 12570 crores by 1989-90. The debt relief scheme was announced in 1990-91, affected the recovery climate resulting in a lower volume of credit flow.
There were 76,000 fertilizer retailer outlets and 40 lakh tonnes of fertilizer nutrients were distributed during 1989-90. The number of co-operative godown/warehousing capacity increased from 80 lakh tonnes in 1984-85 to 100 lakh tonnes in 1987-88. Soil and water conservation activity in 27 catchments taken up in 17 states covering 2.4 million hectares by the close of plan period.
The contribution of the livestock sector has increased to Rs. 27,700 crores in 1987-88 as compared to Rs. 10,000 crores in 1980-81 which constitutes 25.5 percent of the total agricultural output. By the end of Seventh Plan, 22.75 lakh tonnes of marine and 14.02 lakh tonnes of inland fish were produced, indicating an average annual growth rate 6.25 per cent. However, during 1990-91 export of marine products was 138400 tonnes valued at Rs.8.90 crores while fish production stood at 38.36 lakh tonnes over the same year.
The number of national dairy co-operative societies increased from 34523 in 1984-85 to 64000 in 1991-92. The progress in case of milk, eggs and wool was 41.5 million tonnes; 14252 millions and 3S.0 in. Kgs. in 1984-85 respectively which rose to the level of 51.1 million tonnes 920204 and 41.7 m. Kgs. for milk, eggs and wool ending 1989-90.
Agricultural Development in the Eighth Plan:
Eighth Plan envisages to spend Rs. 22,467 crore on agricultural development. For rural development a total sum of Rs. 34,425 crore has been fixed whereas Rs. 6,750 crore on special area programme and Rs. 35,525 crore on irrigation and flood control have been proposed in the draft of the plan.
In this way agricultural sector alone will attract 22.2 percent of the total plan expenditure. Self-sufficiency in food grains and development and diversification of agriculture to generate export surplus are the main objects of the plan. Apart from this, plan emphasises to increase food grains production to 2100 lakh tonnes, of sugarcane to 2,750 lakh tonnes, of cotton 140 lakh bales and of jute to 95 lakh bales.
Eighth Five Year Plan envisages to continue work on 312 medium and 182 major projects initiated during the seventh plan. The draft of the plan emphasizes to make Command Area Development Programme more effective. In the draft of the plan, medium irrigation projects were accorded high priority. Flood control programmes will be made more meaningful. Thus, in Eighth Plan, a sum of Rs. 35,525 crore have been proposed on irrigation development and flood control measures.
In the agricultural sector, the country has achieved 5 per cent rate in 1992-93 and 2.3 per cent growth rate in 1993-94. Total production of food grains has increased to 179.5 million tonnes in 1992-93 showing a growth rate of 6.6 per cent and then it slightly increased to 184.0 million tonnes in 1993-94 showing a growth rate of 1.4 per cent and further 199.0 million tonnes in 1996-97. Thus the agricultural sector both in respect of food grains and fibre crops has registered almost a stagnation during the first two years of the Eighth Plan.
In 1994-95, production of food grains has increased to 191 million tonnes which shows a growth of only 3.7 per cent. Thus the new economic policy could not create any favourable impact on the performance of the agricultural sector of the country. The potential of irrigation increased from 728 lakh hectares to 894 lakh. The achievements of agricultural sector during the first four years of eighth plan were presented in the following table.
Agricultural Development in Ninth Plan:
The agricultural development strategy during Ninth Five Year Plan is based on the Policy of food security announced by the Government to double the production and make India hunger free in ten years.
Accordingly the Ninth Plan target is to achieve a growth rate of about 4.5 per cent per annum in agricultural output and production of 234 million tonnes of food grains by 2001-02. In order to achieve the goal of doubling the food output and alleviation of hunger, a regionally differentiated strategy based on agro-climatic regional planning will be adopted.
Agro-climatic based planning is to be promoted for high productivity zone, low productivity-high potential zone, low productivity zone and ecologically fragile regions. The table below presents the targets of production for agricultural commodities for 2001-02. Plan emphasised on raising the capabilities of small and marginal fanners and conserving and maximising the value from scarce natural resources. Emphasis was laid on infrastructure development and minor irrigation.
Regional programmes was formulated particularly for hilly backward and tribal areas. Agricultural credit got special attention and efforts were made to increase public investment during the plan period. In every district rural infrastructure development fund was used to promote productive projects.
A high emphasis was placed given for the development of the allied sectors such as horticulture, fisheries, live-stock and dairy. Agricultural exports will receive special attention and the co-operative will be strengthened.
It has also been emphasised that agro-processing and agro-industries will be encouraged. The consumption of fertilizers (NPK) during 1996-97 was 14.31 million tonnes, during the Ninth Five Year Plan greater use of Bio-fertilizers and bio- technological research will be encouraged. However, targets of production is given in table
Agriculture and allied sector has attained 2.7 per cent growth rate against its target of 3.9 per cent. The same sector attained the growth rate of (-) 2.4 per cent in 1997-98,7.1 per cent in 1998-99 and a mere 0.7 per cent in 1999-2000 and 0.9 per cent in 2000-2001.
The index of agricultural production (1981- 82=100) increased from 165.3 in 1997-98 to 178.1 in 1998-99 and then declined to 176.8 in 1999-2000 and 170.6 in 2000-2001. Total production of food grains has also increased substantially from 192.3 million tonnes in 1997-98 to 203.5 million tonnes in 1998-99 and then to 208.9 million tonnes in 1999-2000. It, further declined to 199.0 million tonnes in 2000-01. Thus, the agriculture and allied sector has shown a mixed performance during the Plan period of Ninth Five Year Plan.
Agricultural Development in the Tenth Plan:
Although the draft Tenth Plan had set a target to attain annual average growth rate of 3.97 per cent in Agriculture and allied sector, but during the Tenth Plan it has attained (-) 7.2 per cent in 2002-03 and then to 10 per cent in 2003-04 and 6.0 per cent in 2005-06 and is expected to attain only 2.7 per cent in 2006-07.
Total production of food grains increased from 179.4 million tonnes in 2002-03 to 212.4 million tonnes in 2003-04 and then to 208.3 (P) million tonnes in 2006-07. The index of agricultural production in 1981-82 = 100) increased from 150.4 in 2002-03 to 181.0 in 2003-04 and then to 197.1 in 2006- 07. Thus the agriculture and allied sector has been showing a mixed performance.
Agricultural Development in 11th Plan:
Although the agricultural sector of the country is having a great potential but the growth rate of the sector is very low. The greatest challenge before the Eleventh Plan is to double the growth rate of agriculture so achieved in the Tenth Plan. This will require steps both on the demand side as well as the supply side.
On the demand side there is evidence that farmers face adverse demand conditions. Not only the agricultural growth has been low in the last decade but the prices received for the agricultural products have also failed to keep pace with the costs or the general price level and as a result profitability of the sector has declined.
The Approach Paper of the Eleventh Plan is of the view that some of the steps already taken such as introduction of National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) along with expansion of public sector schools and health facilities would directly and indirectly generate demand support for agriculture.
Moreover, improved rural connectivity envisaged through Bharat Nirman can also trigger growth of an integrated national market where rural areas are more able to meet each other’s demand.
Such expanded rural—rural trade is likely to be important in the initial years along with other efforts of demand support such as promoting agricultural exports, for strengthening support to agricultural diversification for domestic processing which are likely to attract private corporate investment into rural areas.
The supply side challenge of doubling agricultural growth is also formidable. This is mainly because no dramatic technological breakthrough comparable to the green revolution is presently visible. We are also not initiating or exploiting the potential of existing technology. In fact, most of the growth required in cereals, pulses and oilseeds is possible merely through plausible yield increase in currently low yield regions untouched by green revolution.
The National Commission on Farmers has also drawn attention to the knowledge deficit which constrains agricultural productivity. In order to overcome this problem farmer will need effective links to universities and best practices through a good extension system. The problem of lack of credit facilities needs to be addressed.
Accelerated agricultural growth will require diversification into horticulture and floriculture, effective marketing linkages supported by modern marketing practices adopted through grading post- harvest management, cold-chains, etc. to be established for expanding domestic market and also the export market.
There is also the need for risk management through expansion of crop insurance. The government must devise the viable policy packages to cover all agro-climatic zones. There is also the need for stimulating agricultural research to address the newer and more formidable challenges. The contract farming is a potentially effective way of attracting corporate investors to help establish linkages with markets and also provide farmers with necessary inputs, extension and other support and advice.
Moreover, there is also need for better water management and effective irrigation facilities. Watershed management, rainwater harvesting and ground water recharge can also help in augmenting water availability in rainfed areas. Side by side there is also the need for developing animal husbandry and fishery activities to revive agricultural dynamism.
However, there is urgent need for taking agriculture into a higher growth trajectory of 4 per cent annual growth and such target can only be met with improvement in the scale as well as of quality of agricultural reforms undertaken by the various states and agencies at the various levels.
These reforms must aim at efficient use of resources and conservation of soil, water and ecology on a sustainable basis and in holistic framework which must incorporate financing of rural infrastructure such as water, roads and power.
The approach paper to the Eleventh Plan has aptly highlighted such holistic framework and suggested the following strategy to raise agricultural output:
(a) Doubling the rate of growth of irrigated area;
(b) Improving water management, rain water harvesting and watershed development;
(c) Reclaiming degraded land and focusing on soil quality;
(d) Bridging the knowledge gap through effective extension;
(e) Diversifying into high value outputs, fruits, vegetables, flowers,, herbs and spices, medicinal plants, bamboo, bio-diesel. but with adequate measures to ensure food security;
(f) Promoting animal husbandry and fishery;
(g) Providing easy access to credit at affordable rales;
(h) Improving the incentive structure and functioning of market, if necessary, through state intervention for improving the prices of agricultural produce and
(i) Refocusing on land reforms issues. National Commission on Farmers has already laid the foundation for such a framework.
Moreover, R&D expenditure on agriculture in India is low by international standards, despite its high social return. Increased R&D expenditure backed by modern technologies and compatible institutions must be focused in the coming years.
With proper implementation, the National Agricultural Innovation Project initiated in July, 2006 for enhancing livelihood security in partnership mode with farmer’s groups panchayati raj institutions and private sector would go a long way in strengthening basic and strategic research in frontier agricultural lances.
Criticism of Agricultural Planning in India:
The following are a few points of criticism of agricultural planning in India:
The First 5-Year Plan wisely gave a top priority agriculture But the Second 5-Year Plan failed to give agriculture a proper place. It appears, the success of the First 5-year Plan, which was primarily due to a series of favourable Monsoons created a sense of self-complacency.
2. Quick-Yielding Projects Not given Sufficient Importance:
Projects having a long gestation period were given undue importance and those with a short fruition lag were not given sufficient importance. Minor irrigation works did not receive the attention they deserved. More attention was given to expansion of irrigation potential and less to maintenance of existing works so that increase in irrigation potential was neutralized by loss of irrigation potential.
3. Unproductive Expenditure:
Unnecessarily large sums were provided for unproductive expenditure.
4. Inadequate Provision for Rural Credit:
The annual credit requirements of the Indian farmers have been estimated at Rs. 10, 000-12,000 mn. whereas the provision is not even for Rs. 3500 mn. Without adequate credit facilities agriculture cannot progress.
5. No Provision for Agricultural Inputs:
There has had been co-ordinated provision for the simultaneous production of agricultural inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, cement, etc.
6. New Farming Techniques Not Enforced:
In agricultural planning in India, no concrete steps were taken for the adoption of new agricultural technique and for standardizing farming practices.
7. Lack of Suitable Price Policy:
Unless farm output programmes are backed by a suitable agricultural price policy providing price support and incentives to the growers, things might go wrong and they have actually gone wrong in India.
8. Morale Neglected:
India is passing through a crisis of confidence. The planners did not provide for any concrete measure to keep up the morale of the people.
9. Unrealistic Planning:
The failure to achieve targets indicates the unrealistic element in agricultural planning in India. The physical targets have proved ,to be “paper targets” treating irrigated area from all sources alike and to put all types of food grains superior and inferior together and above all to split up minutely the total allotment: under, different headings assigned to different authorities, are a few, instances of unrealistic planning
10. Delay in Land Reforms:
Land reforms have not been implemented and whichever implemented have been delayed much.