Agriculture: Key factor of Indian economy
Do you know children in which activity the largest part of our working population is engaged in? Though the major portion of our national income comes from service industry, but it is agriculture and its related activities that provide employment to the majority of the population. It is for this reason that India is said to be an agrarian country. In fact India ranks second worldwide in farm output. India is second largest producer of wheat and rice , the world’s major food staples. India is also the world’s second largest producer of several dry fruits, agriculture-based textile raw materials, roots and pulses, etc. India has two crop seasons:
There are two aspects to what makes agricultural sector important to our country. One is the need to feed our ever-growing population without depending on food imports. The other is about the basic strength of any economy. While short-term growth spurts can be achieved by economic activities based on value addition (like the services sector), for the long term health of an economy and for it to have strong basics. primary sectors that generate products (such as agriculture) need to be strong.
When India gained Independence, our agriculture sector was suffering from many ills including lack of irrigation facilities, inequitable distribution of land and almost zero use of technology to improve production. As such, at that point too, we were heavily dependent on importing grains to feed our population. Deaths from starvation became common.
Due to the Green Revolution which took place in early 1960’s lives of at least one-third of the world’s population was saved. The man who is credited for this is Dr Norman Borlaug. In 1963, he introduced high-yielding varieties of wheat in India. That was the turning point for our agriculture and we have been moving ahead from there.
Several measure were introduced to improve agricultural production along with use of high-yielding crop varieties. In this task, the group of indigenous scientists led by Dr MS Swaminathan played a major role. Among the other steps taken to increase agriculture production include: Development of irrigation facilities, more widespread use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, land reforms, consolidation of land holding under chakabandi, use of mechanised instruments, harvest and post harvest functions, easier and smoother availability of agricultural loans and rural electrification to facilitate running of farm machineries.
Unfortunately, for long after the Green Revolution, there were very few changes made in our approach to agriculture and as a result production suffered. This was basically due to reduction is cultivation area, increase in population and indiscriminate use of chemicals in our farms. Farmers no longer depend on any natural measures or crop rotation to revitalise there fields. Long use of synthetic chemicals leads to fields reaching their maximum capacity of production while the weeds, pests and insects grew resistant.
For the past decade, agricultural scientist have been focusing on finding organic alternatives to the chemical fertilizers and insecticides and there has been some considerable success. Irrigation facilities have also been improved and people are getting more conscious of maintaining a stable underground water table. Initiatives are concentrating on completing rural electrification with dependable power supply and ground water recharging using techniques like rain water harvesting.
Agricultural research institutes and academic institutes like, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI); Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) and Farmers Commission, etc are closely working with the farmers and trying to bring target-specific solution to them. We do have better fertilisers and insecticides now that have to be used in much smaller quantities. There are weedicides that are effective even if you use only one kilogram of it over an entire hectare of land. There is a growing tread of soil testing and field evaluations of local conditions which have enabled the researchers to provide better suggestion to the farmers. Thus today India seems to on the right track and the future looks promising.
Karif : Rice, Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Maize, Cotton and Jute.
Sowing : June/July
Harvest : September/October
Rabi : Wheat, Barley, Peas Rapeseed, Mustard, Gram.
Sowing : October/December
Harvest : April/May
— Aniket Raja
Dr Anil Kakodkar
Dr Anil Kakodkar, the famous Indian nuclear scientist was born on November 11, 1943 in the village Barawani, Madhya Pradesh. His parents Kamala Kakodkar and P Kakodkar were both Gandhians. He did his schooling in Mumbai and graduated from the Ruparel College. Kakodkar then joined VJTI in Mumbai University in 1963 to obtain a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In the year 1964, Anil Kakodkar joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
He was Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India (AECI) and Secretary to the Government of India Department of Atomic Energy. He was also the Director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Trombay during the period 1996-2000 before leading India’s nuclear programme.
Anil Kakodkar also was also in the core team of architects of India’s Peaceful Nuclear Tests that were conducted during the years 1974 and 1998. He also led the indigenous development of the country’s Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor Technology. Anil Kakodkar’s efforts in the rehabilitation of the two reactors at Kalpakkam and the first unit at Rawatbhatta are noteworthy as they were about to close down.
In the year 1996, Anil Kakodkar became the youngest Director of the BARC after Homi Bhabha himself. From the year 2000 onwards, he has been leading the Atomic Energy Commission of India. Dr Anil Kakodkar has been playing a crucial part in demanding sovereignty for India’s nuclear tests. He strongly advocates the cause of India’s self-reliance by using Thorium as a fuel for nuclear energy.