Present Industrial Structure of India

Industrial structure of India can broadly be classified into two sectors:

Public sector and Private sector.

(A) Public Sector. All those companies which are owned, controlled and managed by the government (central government, state governments or government institutions) are called public sector enterprises.

There are three main forms of public sector enterprises in India. They are
1)Departmental enterprises. These enterprises are fully owned and managed by the government as its department. For instance, Railway department; Post and Telegraph department etc.
2)Public Sector Joint Stock Companies. Since most of the shares of these companies are purchased by the government, their ownership and control also lie in government’s hands. For example, Steel Authority of India (SAIL); Sindri Fertiliser Company; Indian Oil Corporation; Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd. (HMT); Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) etc.
3) Statutory Corporations. They are established with the sanction of parliament and generally work in accordance with governmlnt policies. For example, Damodar Valley Corporation; LIC; Industrial Finance Corporation; Reserve Bank of India etc.

(B) Private Sector. All enterprises which are owned and controlled by the private people are known as private sector enterprises.

Private sector enterprises can further be classified into four main categories. They are:
(i) Non-factory Manufacturing Units. They include two types of units:
(a) Cottage industries. Rural cottage industries and urban cottage industries.
(b) Tiny Units. They are so small that they cannot be treated as factories.
(ii) FERA Companies. FERA companies are those enterprises which deal with substantial amounts of foreign exchange and operate subject to the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.
(iii) MRTP Companies. They are very large companies which operate subject to the provisions of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act.
(iv) Other Private Companies.

Among those four categories non-factory manufacturing units (i.e. cottage and tiny units) have the highest contribution to India’s national income. Thereafter comes the contribution of other private companies, MRTP companies and FERA companies.

Importance of Public Sector

(i) They help in controlling monopoly and concentration of economic power and achieving the goal of social justice.
(ii) They can act as an important instrument for the development of backward regions.
(iii) They can take up the activities where gestation period is long and profitability is low
(iv) They are helpful in creating more employment opportunities.
(v) It is important to keep strategic sectors like defence, insurance, banking, power etc. under public control.
(vi) By reinvesting the profits, they can accelerate the rate of economic growth.

Need for Rapid and Balanced Industrialisation in India

We usually hear that development in India means industrialisation and the way for speedy development is rapid industrialisation. Why is it so said? Why is rapid industrialisation essential in India? In order to answer this question following arguments are given:

1. Balanced Occupational Structure. Our occupational structure is unbalanced. A major portion of our total working population is engaged in agricultural activities. It is engaged where it is not so much needed. To remove this imbalance and create balanced occupational structure, we must go for industrialisation.

2.Self-reliant Economy. For building a strong and sound basis for a self-reliant economy, we have to develop some basic and key industries such as iron and steel, power, machine-making, fertiliser and chemical industries in the country.

3.Defence. From the point of view of country’s defence, we must produce most of the defence-goods in the country itself. It, therefore, requires the development of defence goods industries having strategic importance. Thus, industrialisation is essential for building a self-reliant and strong economy.

4.Expansion in Employment Opportunities. Our agricultural sector is already over-crowded. It suffers from the problems of under-employment and disguised unemployment. To overcome this problem, we have to expand cottage and small scale industries and other employment-oriented industries in our country.

5.Increase in the Rate of Economic Growth. Our most important requirement is to augment the rate of growth. Since agriculture, largely, depends on nature, its rate of productivity and growth remain low. It is a well-known fact that productivity rates are higher in industries than in agriculture. Hence, we can increase our rate of growth by developing industries in the economy. It will further increase our per capita income and standard of living.

6.Other Arguments. Besides above arguments, industrialisation is also essential to help agricultural development, to utilise country’s various types of resources, to achieve social justice, to increase capital formation, government revenue, internal and external trade and to develop scientific and rational approach. Owing to all these reasons industrialisation and development have become synonymous.

The Need for Balanced Industrialisation

Along with rapid industrialisation we also need balanced industrial structure. Balanced industrial structure in the Indian context must have the following dimensions

(i) There should be regional balance in the development of industries in the different parts of the country. More stress should be given on the development of industrially backward regions.

(ii) To eradicate the problems of unemployment industrial growth should generate massive employment opportunities. For this, we have to develop employment-oriented industrial structure.

(iii) We should give more stress on the development of mass consumption goods-industries (such as cycle, cloth, paper, edible oil etc.) instead of luxury goods industries (such as car, refrigerator, T.V., V.C.R. etc.) In other words, we should give more emphasis on the production of socially preferred goods.

Besides this, we should also keep proper balance between large scale and small scale industries and also between public and private sector industries.

How are Industries and Agriculture related to each other ?

Sometimes we are led by this misconception that agriculture and industry are opposite to each other and are competitive. Due to the misconception we say that with our limited resources we can either develop our agriculture or industry. It means we have to choose between the development of agriculture and industry. But it is a wrong concept. Actually speaking, agriculture and industry are not contrary to each other, rather they are complementary. The fact is that the development of one depends on the other, i.e., their development is closely related with each other. In the context of the Indian Economy it rather seems more correct. The mutual dependence and complementarily of agriculture and industry is discussed below.

(A) DEPENDENCE OF INDUSTRIES ON AGRICULTURE

Industries in our country depend on agriculture on many counts:
1.Agriculture provides raw materials to many industries in India. For example, raw jute (Jute industry), sugarcane (Sugar industry), cotton (Textile industry), oilseeds (Edible oil industry), fruits and vegetables (Plantation industry) and so on.
2. Agricultural households purchase a big portion of industrial consumption goods such as cloth, sugar, shoes, furniture, watches, radios and other goods.
3. Agricultural sector is the exclusive buyer of some industrial products such as chemical fertilisers, pesticides, tractors, pumping sets and other agricultural implements.
4. Agricultural sector supply its surplus labour force to the industries.

(B) DEPENDENCE OF AGRICULTURE ON INDUSTRIES

Agriculture also depends on industries in a number of ways
1. Industries provide important inputs to the agricultural sector such as chemical fertilisers, pesticides, agriultura1 implements etc.
2. Transport equipments are also provided by the industries to the agricultural sector.
3. The demand for agricultural produce comes from industries as they use them as their raw materials.
4. Industries provide employment to landless labourers, disguised and underemployed persons of the agricultural sector.

Thus it is clear that the development of agriculture and industry depends on each other. If industries are developed, agriculture will also progress and if agriculture is developed, it helps in the progress of industries. Thus they are complementary to each other. Hence our problem is not of agricultural development or industrial development rather agricultural and industrial development. In Other words, we do not have to choose between agriculture and industry rather we have to develop both simultaneously.

Measures to Solve Agricultural Problems or to Improve Agricultural Productivity

1.Land Reform Measures. Major land reform users are:
(a) Abolition of intermediaries and Zamindars. agricultural implements—crop insurance, plant protection, control over
(b) Tenancy reforms such as regulation of rent, security and ownership population increase etc.
rights for tenants etc.
(c) Ceiling on land holdings and distribution of surplus land to the small farmers and landless labourers.
(d) Consolidation of holdings which means bringing together in one problem. They are
compact block all scattered plots of land of a farmer. This is regarded as one of the important solution for the problems of sub-division and fragmentation of holdings. A number of efforts have been made in India in the direction of land reforms.

2. Expansion of Irrigation Facilities. Expansion of irrigation facilities is very important for Indian agriculture. Keeping in view the Indian situation, we should concentrate more on the development of medium and minor irrigation facilities.

3. Use of Improved Seeds and Fertilisers. To improve agricultural productivity we should increase the use of improved seeds and chemical fertilizers.

4.Expansion of Credit Facilities. Adequate credit facilities at reasonable rates should be available to the farmers. To solve the problem
of rural credit measures should be adopted in the following directions
(a) Effective check on the exploitation by money-lenders.
(b)Increase in the share of institutional credit, i.e., credit by cooperative societies, commercial banks and Regional Rural Banks.
(c) Strengthening NABARD.
(d) Settlement of old debts

Problems of Indian Agriculture

Indian agriculture is really full of problems. A brief description of the problems facing Indian agriculture is given below:

1. Low Level of Agricultural Productivity. The biggest problem of our agriculture is its low productivity. Agricultural productivity can be measured in two ways per hectare productivity and per worker productivity. Agricultural productivity in India is low on both the counts. Per hectare productivity in India is below the world average in all crops. For instance, the per hectare productivity of rice in India is nearly one- fourth of Japan and the per hectare productivity of wheat is nearly one- third of France. Similarly, the per worker productivity is also quite low in the country. The per worker productivity in the agricultural sector of India is 33rd in comparison to West Germany and 23rd in comparison to U.S.A.
Apart from low productivity, Indian agriculture is suffering from a number of other problems also. In a way these are the reasons responsible for low productivity. They are discussed below.

2. Defective Land Tenure System. The land tenure system which was forced on us by the Britishers is still continuing in some form or the other. Big landlords exploit the small or landless cultivators, charge high rents and evict the tenants on minor pretexts.

3. Problem of Sub-division and Fragmentation. When land holdings are small and scattered, this is known as the problem of sub-division and fragmentation. The problem of agricultural holdings in India is two-fold. The size of land holdings of an average farmer in India is so small that it is creating the problem of uneconomic holdings. Besides this, different small plots of land of the same farmer are scattered at different places.

The main causes of this problem of sub-division and fragmentation are as follows
(i) The pressure of rising population on the land
(ii) Laws of inheritance,
(iii) Decline of joint family,
(iv) Farmers’ indebtedness, –
(v) Decline of rural and handicraft industries.

Sub-division and fragmentation of holdings have many adverse effects, such as
(i) Wastage of agricultural land,
(ii) Under-utilisation of labour and capital,
(iii) Wastages of resources and time,
(iv) Land disputes and litigation.

4.Old Technique of Production. In our agricultural sector we generally use old, traditional and low technique of production. Our cultivators hesitate in adopting new and scientific technique of production.

5.Less Use of Improved Seeds and Fertilisers. One of the reasons of low agricultural productivity is the less use of improved seeds and chemical fertilisers.

6.Inadequate Irrigation Facilities. Irrigation facilities are also not sufficiently available to our agriculture. Crops do not get sufficient water due to lack of irrigation facilities and irregular rains. As a result of it our agricultural production goes down.

7.Lack of Financial Facilities. Indian farmers do not get sufficient credit facilities at the proper time and at reasonable conditions. They have to go to money-lenders for their credit equirements who exploit them mercilessly. Institutional finance is inadequate and suffers from the problems of overdue, corruption and malpractices.

8.Inadequate Marketing Facilities. Because of inadequate storage and marketing facilities farmers do not get proper price for their produce. This in turn, reduces their income, saving and investment potential.

9.Dependence on Nature. Indian agriculture, basically, depends on nature. This is the gamble of monsoons. The monsoon in our country is irregular and uncertain and its distribution is not even in all the parts of the country.

10. Pressure of population on agriculture. Our rapidly increasing population is also adversely affecting the agricultural productivity in the country. The increasing pressure of population on agriculture also creates facilities should be developed so that farmers could sell their produce at the problems of disguised unemployment, underemployment and reasonable rates uneconomic holdings.

Impact of Green Revolution and Agricultural Technology

We know that the traditional agricultural practices are gradually being replaced by modern technology in Indian agriculture. This new agricultural technology consists of the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, improved varieties of seeds, modern agricultural implements, extensive irrigation etc.

In brief, new agricultural technology implies to that strategy in which the simultaneous use of all the high quality agriculture-inputs is stressed. Here it is presumed that the use of a single input alone cannot result in considerable increase in agricultural output. For example, the use of improved seeds or chemical fertilizer cannot increase agriculture output until and unless it is supported by irrigation facilities, pesticides and agricultural implements. New agricultural technology thus, suggests the simultaneous and coordinated use of improved seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, irrigation facilities, crop-protection and modern agricultural implements. Since in this new technology we use various agricultural inputs simultaneously, it is termed as package programme also.

In India this new technology was initiated with the Kharif crop of 1966. Before this also, efforts were made to increase agricultural productivity in 1960-61 through Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP). Initially this programme was tried as a pilot project only in seven districts. Later the High-Yielding Varieties Programme (HYVP) was also added to the IADP and it was extended to cover the entire country. In this way, a new strategy was initiated with a view to increase agricultural productivity. We call it modernisation of Indian agriculture also.

After the adoption of this new technology we noticed a sudden boost in foodgrains production in 1967-68. This boost was just like a revolution in the history of Indian agriculture and that is why it was termed as green revolution. Thus, Green Revolution refers to the significant growth in agriculture output as a result of new agricultural technology (i.e., the use of improved seeds, chemical fertilizers, irrigation facilities etc.) In this way new agricultural technology and green revolution are inter-related. In other words green revolution is the result of new agricultural technology.

Impacts of Green. Revolution and New Agricultural Technology
I. Achievements
I. Green revolution has helped in solving India’s food problem in the following manner

(a) By adopting new agricultural technology green revolution has increased the per hectare productivity of major cereals especially wheat and rice.
(b) As a result of green revolution the output of food grains has increased tremendously. The yearly output of food grains in the country has reached about 195 million tonnes and the per capita requirement of foodgrains has almost been met. Thus, the greatest achievement of the green revolution is the country’s almost self-sufficiency in foodgrains.
(c) The farmers of India are following multi-crop programme since 1967-68, which enabled us to raise huge buffer stocks of foodgrains.

Green revolution has also changed the pattern of agriculture. Now agriculture is not only for self-consumption rather it has become a commercial proposition. Farmers’ earnings have also increased because of green revolution.

II. Shortcomings or Weaknesses
1.The impact of green revolution has been confined only to some states, especially Punjab, Haryana and Western U.P., and to some crops, viz., wheat and rice.
2. The utmost weakness of the green revolution is that it has benefited only big and rich farmers. Thus it has further increased the inequalities of income in the rural sector.
3. The excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has created the problems of pollution and health hazards also.

Crop Insurance and Finance in India

Crop Insurance

To help farmers crops are insured. By paying the premium of insurance farmer saves himself from the risk of crop failures. It is with this aim in view that the Government of India started the crop insurance scheme in 1985. According to this insurance scheme two per cent of the insured sum has to be deposited by the farmer as the premium of insurance for getting the crops of wheat, rice and coarse grains insured. In the case of oil seeds and pulses, the premium rate is only one per cent.

This crop insurance scheme provides support to the farmers at the time of crop failures. Hence it is a useful scheme. However, this scheme suffers from three main drawbacks or limitations. First, this insurance scheme has been executed only to a very few crops. Thus, its field of operation is very limited. Secondly, the procedure for crop insurance is quite complicated. Hence an average farmer cannot take advantage of it. Thirdly, farmers do experience difficulties in getting loans on the insured crops. Thus, it reduces their scope of credit facilities. It should be made more useful by removing the drawbacks of the scheme.

Finance

Finance is also an important input for agriculture. Why does a farmer need credit? To get money a farmer has to wait till the process of output, storage and marketing is completed. But during this period of waiting he has to incur expenses, for which he needs credit. Timely and adequate credit at reasonable rate to the farmers is vital for increasing agricultural production and productivity.

Credit requirements of Indian farmers are basically for two types of purposes—productive purposes (loans to buy seeds, fertilisers, cattle, agricultural implements, additional land and to make permanent improvements on land, such as digging and deepening of wells, fencing of land etc.) and unproductive purposes (celebration of marriages, births and deaths, for litigation, consumption etc.)

There are two main sources of agricultural finance (or rural credit) in India. In other words, various sources of agricultural finance in India can broadly be classified into two categories. They are : (i) Non-institutional soutce, and (ii) Institutional source.

(i) Non-institutional Source includes money-lenders, landlords, traders and commission agents, farmer’s relatives etc. To meet the credit requirements of farmers in India non-institutional sources had always occupied an important place. Even today a larger share of the total agricultural credit comes from non-institutional sources. Among non- institutional sources money-lender occupies the first place. Money-lenders exploit farmers in a number of ways. In the post-independent era many Acts have been enacted and institutional sources have been promoted by the Government to protect the farmers from money-lender’s exploitation. But still Indian farmers are not completely free from money-lender’s clutches.

(ii) Institutional Sources include co-operative credit societies, land mortgage banks, regional rural banks, commercial banks and other financial institutions. Before nationalisation, commercial banks were not advancing loans to the agricultural sector because of following reasons. (i) Farmers were not considered credit-worthy because of their low level of income and property, (ii) Uncertain character of Indian agriculture, (iii) Inadequate security for loans, (iv) Difficulty of collection from farmers.
But after nationalisation, commercial banks have devoted considerable attention to provide credit to the agricultural sector. Regional rural banks were set up in 1975. The main aim is to extend credit to small and marginal farmers and rural artisans to save them from the clutches of the moneylenders. For building better co-ordination among the various agencies of rural credit, in 1982 the Government of India set up a National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Thus, the overall share of institutional credit in the total agricultural credit has increased over the years. Yet there are a lot of problems in this field.

The main problems with regard to institutional finance in India are as follows—
(i) The sources of institutional finance are inadequate to meet the requirements of agricultural credit. That is why it could not make farmers free froni the clutches of money-lenders.
(ii) A large portion of institutional credit is taken away by the rich farmers. Small and marginal farmers receive only a very small portion of the institutional credit.
(iii) There is regional inequality also in the distribution of institutional credit.

The problem of agricultural (or rural) credit in India can be solved in the following ways
(i) Credit facilities should be extended to Indian farmers by the commercial banks on easy terms.
(ii) Co-operative credit societies in rural areas should be strengthened.
(iii) More regional rural banks should be set up to meet the credit needs of the rural and backward areas.

Agricultural Imputs Used in India- Land, Livestock and Fetilizers

Agricultural output and productivity depend on the quantity and quality of inputs used in agriculture. Therefore to understand the real position of the agriculture of a country, it becomes essential to know about the inputs used in its agriculture. The principal reason for the backwardness of Indian agriculture is that the quantum of inputs used in our agriculture is insufficient and the level of their quality is also low. Though much improvement has been done during the last few years more remains to be done. A brief description of the inputs used in India’s agriculture is given below.

  1. Land. Land is the most important and principal input for agriculture. One cannot imagine agriculture without land. A very large area of cultivable land is available in India. Even now there is some land lying unused which can be utilized for agriculture; hence attention should be paid in this regard. We have different types of land and soil in different parts of the country. Different crops are produced according to the type of soil. This capacity of our land to produce variety of crops indicates the rich and sound base of Indian agriculture.

The agricultural production depends on the fertility of land. Besides fertility, agricultural production is affected by the land tenure system (the system of ownership of land) and the size of land holdings also. The area of land is fixed for a country. Hence the production and productivity in agriculture sector ultimately depend on other inputs. Apart from land, following are the main inputs which make significant contributions in the development of Indian agriculture.

  1. Labour. Labour is the second important input for agriculture in India. In Indian agriculture we find two types of labour. First is the cultivator’s own labour and the labour of his family members. In India’s agriculture the cultivator himself works with the members of his family and our agriculture depends primarily on this type of labour. In India we often find that more family members of a cultivator are engaged on his plot of land than that of actually required. This gives rise to the problems of disguised unemployment, underemployment and low level of productivity.

The second type of labour which works in Indian agriculture is hired labour. The big landlords who have large quantity of land employ hired labour for cultivation. They generally employ such labour from landless labour’s households on contract basis either for one crop or for whole of the yeild. It is often found that these landless labourers work as bonded labour on the farms. This situation shows the exploitation of labourers. But now in India this system of bonded labour is being abolished, though gradually. Besides this, sometimes small farmers also employ hired labour for a shorter period, especially in the busy season when there is much work on their farms. However, there is a very small place for hired labour in India’s agriculture.

  1. Livestock. Livestock is also an important input in India’s agriculture. For different types of work of farming we use bullocks, buffaloes and camels. For instance, the works of ploughing, irrigation, harvesting, carting crops and fodder from farms to the market etc. are performed by common Indian farmers with the help of livestock. Distribution of livestock is also unequal among Indian farmers. Rich farmers have more as well as better quality of lifestock in India. For the last few years we are ignoring the wealth of our livestock, hence it requires proper attention.

In modern times agricultural inputs other than land, labour and livestock are becoming more and more important. In this regard following inputs can be mentioned.

  1. Irrigation. Because of irregularity of rainfall, irrigation is very important input for Indian agricultural sector. Irrigation is required for all kinds of crops and in all types of cultivation, yet new agricultural technology requires more dependable and extensive irrigation facilities. The main sources of irrigation in India are Wells, Tubewells, Tanks, Canals etc. Keeping in view the Indian situation, we should concentrate more on the development of medium and minor irrigation facilities.

Government has made sincere efforts to increase irrigation facilities in the country. As a result of it our total irrigated area has increased from 226 lakh hectares in 1950-51 to nearly 807 lakh hectares by 1996-97. But till today we could not develop our entire irrigation potential. Hence it requires more sincere attention.

  1. Fertilisers and Pesticides. Two principal inputs for enhancing crop yields are chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Since the time immemorial, the Indian cultivator has been using animal dung, compost, bones and other organic manures for this purpose. But with the adoption of new agricultural technology, the importance of chemical fertilisers has increased. At present we are using more than 165 lakh tonnes of chemical fertiliser in our agriculture. Yet it is much below the desired level. For protecting plants from pests and diseases, arrangements have also been made for spraying of pesticides. This has also helped in improving agricultural yield.

Now it is also being realised that the excessive use of chemicals creates problems of pollution and other health hazards in the society. Hence emphasis is again being laid on the use of organic manures, bio-fertilisers and eco-friendly pesticides.

  1. Seeds. Seed is the basic agricultural input. Output in agriculture basically depends on the quality of seeds. If our seeds are of low quality, we cannot hope for good crops. It is the carrier of new technology for crop production. The selection of seeds depends on the kind of land and the availability of other inputs. The use of high-yielding varieties of seeds increases agricultural productivity. In Indian agriculture they could be used only after mid-sixties. The impressive results of the use of improved seeds could be achieved only in the field of wheat and rice. For other crops we have to make more efforts. We have to develop new varieties of seeds keeping in view the Indian conditions, climate and nature of the soil.
  2. Technical Know-how. For agricultural operation some kind of technical know-how is also an essential input. In Indian agriculture both traditional and modern methods are used. Technical know-how implies the practices relating to choice of crops and their varieties, soil preparation, crop rotation, seed selection, fertiliser application, timing of irrigation and so on. Agricultural output can be increased by adopting improved techniques of production.

New and improved techniques have been developed by our agricultural universities and agricultural research centres. These new practices are reaching the farmers through the medium of agriculture extension service centres and Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Now many farmers have started to adopt these scientific practices for farming. Yet there is a considerable scope for strengthening and expanding these practices.

  1. Agricultural Tools and Implements. Indian agriculturists use two types of implements and machinery. One is traditional implements such as wooden and iron ploughs, sickles, bullock-carts etc. Other is modern implements like tractors, harvesters, threshers, pumping sets, trucks and vans etc. These modern implements, on the one hand, save time and labour and on the other, increase productivity. But they have some disadvantageous effects also on the economy. For instance: (i) It leads to the danger of unemployment; (ii) Because modern implements can be purchased by rich farmers only, this brings more inequality in the distribution of wealth and income in the agricultural sector.
  2. Storage and Marketing Facilities. Storage and marketing facilities are essential so that the farmers could sell their produce at proper time and at reasonable rates. Indian farmers are forced to sell their produce at unreasonable prices and at improper time due to lack of such facilities. This adversely affects both the incentive and the capacity to produce. In order to save farmers from middlemen’s exploitation, the government has taken a number of steps such as fixation of minimum support price for important crops, increase in warehousing facilities and establishment of regulated mandies etc.

 

Role and Importance of Agriculture in Indian Economy

Indian Economy is, usually, described as an agricultural economy. Have you ever thought why it is called so? The answer is very simple. We may see it from any angle, the contribution of agriculture in Indian economy is very great. The role and importance of agriculture in Indian economy can be judged mainly on following counts

(i) Contribution of Agriculture to National Income: The contribution of agriculture to India’s National Income had always been very large. At present the share of agriculture and allied activities in our national income is nearly 27 per cent. We know that with the process of development the share of agriculture in the national income decreases while the share of industry rises. India is also witnessing the same. In spite of this, agriculture still has the largest share in India’s national income in comparison to other economic activities. And it is estimated that for many years to come the share of agriculture in national income will continue to remain the largest one.

(ii) The Source of Livelihood: On the basis of occupation the rural households of India can broadly be classified into two categories— Agricultural rural households; and Non-agricultural rural households. Agricultural rural households include farmers and landless agricultural laborers. They all depend directly on agriculture for their living. Or the other hand, non-agricultural rural households include artisans such as carpenters, blacksmiths, weavers and potters and the people engaged in the rural services such as barbers, washermen and teachers. It is often seen that these people cannot have sufficient earning from their own occupations alone. Hence a large number of people among these households sometimes adopt agriculture as their subsidiary occupation. Besides this, all the occupations of non-agricultural rural households depend primarily on agriculture. It is thus clear that almost all rural households in India depend, directly or indirectly, on agriculture for their livelihood.

(iii) Contribution to Employment: Nearly 60 per cent of our total working population and nearly 80 percent of our rural working population even today get their employment from agriculture. When people do not get employment and livelihood in other sectors of economy, they naturally come back to agricultural sector. It is estimated that the possibility of large scale industry in the urban sector being able to provide significantly greater employment opportunities in future is not very great. Therefore, in spite of all its weaknesses, agriculture is likely to remain the most promising and the biggest source of employment in future.

(iv) The Source of Food Requirements: Food requirements of the country’s population are also met by the agricultural sector. India is now nearly self-sufficient in food grains, especially in wheat and rice. The per capita food grain requirement in India is about 172 kg per annum which has almost been met. But in respect of pulses and edible oils the situation is not satisfactory. The per capita intake of pulses should have been 25.5 kg per annum but it is only 15 kg per annum. Our main concern is that the per capita availability of pulses has come down over the years. Similarly, the per capita availability of edible oil was 6.5 kg per annum which was also below the recommended level (14 kg). Thus, agriculture is largely meeting the overall food requirements of the Indian population, yet in respect of two essential sources of nutrition—pulses and edible oil—the situation is not satisfactory.

Besides this, the fodder to nearly 25 crore livestock is also available only from the agricultural sector. In this way we in India are dependent on agriculture for country’s food and fodder requirements. Both food grains and fodder are basic and essential commodities for living.

(v) Contribution in industrial Development: Agriculture contributes to industrial development in two ways. One, by providing necessary raw materials to the industries, and second, by purchasing the goods produced by the industries. Many industries in India depend on agriculture for their raw materials, for example, Jute industry (raw jute), Sugar industry (sugarcane), Textile industry (cotton), Edible oil industries (oil seeds), Plantation industry (fruits and vegetables) etc. These are known as agro based industries. Similarly, demand for goods of many industries comes basically from agricultural sector. Take the example of tractor industry, agricultural implements industry, chemical fertilizer industry, pesticide industry, transport industry etc. Besides this, having the largest share in national income and employment the demand for goods of other industries and purchasing power of the people also depend ‘mainly on agriculture.

(vi) Contribution to Government Revenue: In the total Government revenue also, the contribution of agricultural sector is quite large. The State Governments in our country get a very large amount per year as their land-revenue. Besides the revenue receipts from other taxes also increase with the growth of agriculture.

(vii) Contribution in the Field of Export Trade: Agriculture makes an important contribution to India’s export trade directly. Important items of agricultural exports are coffee, tea, oil cakes, tobacco, cashewnuts, spices, raw cotton, rice, fruits and vegetables, flowers etc. Besides this, we also export goods manufactured mainly from raw materials produced by our agricultural sector. They include cotton yarn, cotton fabrics, cotton garments, coir yarn and coir goods, jute yarn and jute goods etc. This can be termed as indirect contribution of agriculture to the export trade. The direct contribution of agricultural sector to our export trade is nearly 18 per cent.
Thus, from all points of view agriculture occupies an important and central place in our economy. That is why it is said that the growth of Indian economy primarily depends on the growth of agriculture.

Evil of Beggary, Drinking and Drug Addiction in India

Evil of Beggary

Beggary is another social evil in India. We have about one crore beggars in our country. We daily see a large number of men, women and children begging in the cities and villages. They are often found begging at places of worship like mosques, churches and temples. There are many types of beggars such as Sadhus, Faqirs, blind, diseased and disabled who earn their living by begging. Even able bodied persons also turn into beggars due to unemployment. Some criminals and idlers move about in the garbs of Sadhus. They kidnap children and compel them to beg. They exploit these children to earn money. These children later also become criminals.

How to Stop Beggary

Beggary is a great social evil. Some state governments have passed lavs banning beggary. These laws have not been strictly enforced. The evil of beggary cannot be stopped if effective measures are not taken by the society as well as the Government. There are gangs of criminals who kidnap children and maim them. These children are then engaged in begging. The Government must crush these gangs with a heavy hand. The Government should make arrangements to rehabilitate the beggars. It should establish poor houses where the beggars should be given food and shelter. Able bodied beggars should be trained in some handicrafts to make them earn their living. We should not give alms to the able bodied beggars. It is only with the co-operation of the people that we can eradicate the evil of beggary.

Drinking

Drinking is a social evil like other intoxicants. It is said, “More men have been drowned in a cup of wine than in all the oceans of the world.” A drunkard loses respect in the society. He sets a bad example for his children. He becomes lazy and inolent. Too much drinking ruins family life and weakens a man physically and mentally. It leads to quarrels, clashes and murders. It has become a fashion among the modem youth to drink. If a person is addicted to drinking, he cannot easily get rid of this bad habit.

Mahatma Gandhi was strongly opposed to drinking. The Directive Principles of State Policy given in the Constitution direct the government to introduce prohibition in the country. Various committees have been set up from time to time to study deeply the problem of drinking. These committees recommended time bound programmes for complete prohibition in the country. In some states, drinking was prohibited but the laws have failed to check drinking.

The battle against the bottle is very difficult. The best way for encouraging prohibition is to educate the people about the harmful effects of drinking. The social and cultural organisations must join hands to banish the evil of drinking from our country.

Drug Addiction

Use of intoxicant drugs is very common in our country. Young boys and girls, frustrated by the problems of life, take to using Smack, Brown sugar, Hashish, Bhang, Charas, Ganja etc. The situation is very alarming. More and more people are becoming addicted. Most of the young students start taking drugs as a matter of fashion. But once they develop this habit, they cannot stop their use.

It is the duty of the Government to take strict measures to check this evil. The sale of drugs in the open market should be banned. Guiding and counselling centres should be opened especially in the universities and colleges. They should advise and guide the youth to stop the use of intoxicants. Mass media should be used to educate the people about the harmful effects of the intoxicating drugs. Expert medical advice should be readily made available to wean the addicts away from drug addiction. In case we do not take effective measures against this evil, it will take an epidemic form. It will give a deathblow to our great cultural traditions. The society must see the writing on the wall and act before it is too late.