• Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy. 
  • Agriculture and the allied sectors contribute nearly 17% in (2009-10) to the GDP of India. About 64% of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. 
  • 60% of the sown area is dependent on rainfall, so agricultural output depends on monsoon. 
  • The agricultural sector provides employment to 58.4% of the country's work force and is the single largest private sector occupation.
  • Agriculture accounts for about 10.3% of the total export earnings and provides raw material to a large number of industries. 
  • The figures of National Income Committee and the Central Statistical Organisation indicate 52% share of agriculture and its allied businesses in the national income during 196041. 
  • Value of agricultural exports to total exports of the country has been ranging from 15% to 20% and material of agriculture sector also contributes about 20% in Indian exports. 
  • Agriculture and its related goods contribute about 38% to the total exports of the country. 
  • The contribution of agriculture to national income for the year 2007-08 was 17.8% while it was 55.4% in the year 1950-51. 
  • The importance of agriculture in the industrial sector is not only the supply of raw material but it also provides food grains for the people working in that sector and a market for industrial products. • Land utilisation: statistics are available for 92.9% of total geographical area of 3,287.3 lakh hectares. 
  • According to the Agriculture Census, the area operated by large holdings (ten hectare and above) had declined to 14.8% in 1995-96 compared to 17.3% in 1990-91. 
  • The area operated under marginal holdings (less than one hectare) has increased to 17.2% in 1995-96 from 15.0% in 1990-91. 
  • The total geographical area of India is 328.7 million hectares of which 140.3 million hectares is net sown area of which 193.7 million hectares is the gross cropped area. 

Commercial Crops 

  • Commercial crops are those crops which are produced for trade purpose and not for self consumption by the farmers.

Agriculture Cost Price Commission 

  • The function of Agriculture Cost Price Commission is to decide the minimum support prices on behalf of the government.

Minimum Support Price (MSP) 

  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) announced by the government is the price at which the government is ready to purchase the crop from the farmers directly. 
  • MSP are announced on the basis of recommendations made by Agriculture Cost and Price Commission (ACPC) for twenty-four major crops. 
  • Objectives of MSP: 
    (i) To prevent fall in prices in the situation of over production. 
    (ii) To protect the interest of fanners by ensuring them a minimum support price.

National Co-Operative Development Commission 

  • National Co-operative Development Commission is the apex organisation that plans for marketing, production, export and import of agricultural products through co-operative committees. 
  • To facilitate storage of agricultural products, the National Co-operative Development and Warehousing Board was established in 1957. Later warehousing corporations were also established in other states.

Green Revolution 

  • The programme of High Yielding Variety Seeds are combined with a guiding project I.A.D.P. and a target was set to extend this system of development in entire country. 
  • Dr Normen Borlaug, the agricultural scientist, is credited for bringing the green revolution to India. However, the contribution of Dr M. S. Swaminathan is not less. 
  • Due to the horrible famine during 1965-66 and 1966-67, the government implemented the new agriculture policy of high yielding seeds so as to increase agricultural production.

White Revolution 

  • Speedy increase in the field of milk production is called white revolution. 
  • India is the largest milk producing country in the world. During 2005-06, milk production was 97.1 million tonnes in the country. 
  • In milk production of the country the share of buffalo, cow and goat is 50%, 46% and 45% respectively. 
  • During 2008-09 milk production was 108.5 million tonnes, per capita availability being 258 gms/day. 
  • Milk production in the country grew by 3.3% to 112 mill tonnes in 2009-10. 

Operation Flood 

  • To increase the pace of white revolution. Operation Flood was started. 
  • The father of Operation Flood was Dr Varghese Kurien. He is credited for the successful implementation of this plan. 
  • Operation Flood was the largest integrated dairy development programme of the world. It was started by National Dairy Development Board in 1970. 
  • The per capita milk availability per day was 112 gm in 1970 which went up to 226 gm in 2002-03, 258 gm/day in 2008-09. 
  • Per Capita milk consumption in Punjab is 800 gm maximum to India and in Haryana it is 640 gm.

Yellow Revolution 

  • The increase in oil seeds production was due to Yellow Revolution. 
  • The increase in the production of edible oil was also due to Yellow Revolution. 

Blue Revolution 

  • India is the sixth largest fish producer in the world with 6.50 million tonnes in 2005-06. 
  • India stands second in inland fish production in the world.

Other Features

  • India is the second largest producer and larger consumer of tea in the world and accounts for 20% of world production and 11% of world trade.
  • Assam is the biggest tea producer in the country.
  • India ranks sixth in world coffee production and contributes only 4.5% to it.
  • Karnataka is the largest producer of coffee in the country and it accounts for 56.5% of total coffee production in India.
  • Cuba is called sugar bowl of the world. Here, sugar is made of beetroot.
  • India holds second position in the world in the production of sugarcane and sugar.

Types of Major Crops

There are three major crops in India:

a. Kharif Crops: Sown in July and harvest in October, they include rice, jowar, bajra, maize, cotton, sugarcane, soyabean and groundnut.
b. Rabi Crops: Sown in October and harvest in March or April, they include wheat, barley, gram, tur, rapeseed and mustard.
c. Zayad Crops: Sown during March to June, it include watermelons, vegetables, moong, etc.

Land Reforms 

  • Land Reform programmes in India include: 
    i. Elimination of Intermediate 
    ii. Tenancy Reforms 
    iii. Determination of ceiling of holdings per family 
    iv. Determination of surplus land among landless people 
    v. Consolidation of holdings (Chakbandi) 
  • By the end of first Five-Year Plan middlemen had been removed (except small areas). 
  • The following measures were made effective for the betterment of farmers: 
    i. Regulation of tax 
    ii. Security for the rights of farmers 
    iii. Right of land ownership for the farmers 

Agriculture Holdings

  • For the reorganisation of agriculture land holding mainly two measures were taken: 
    i. Land ceiling, and 
  • Land ceiling determines the maximum land which can be held by a fanner. Holding more than that area will be illegal. 
  • Chakbandi of land means to aggregate the divided and broken land. It was first implemented in the year 1920 in Baroda, India.


  • The irrigation potential in India in 2010-11 was 140 million (mha). 
  • Irrigation schemes in India can be classified as follows : 
    i. Major Irrigation Schemes: Those with culturable command areas (CCA) more than 10,000 hectares. 
    ii. Medium Irrigation Schemes: Those with culturable command areas (CCA) between 2,000 and 10,000 hectares. 
    iii. Minor Irrigation Schemes: Those with culturable command area (CCA) up to 2,000 hectares.
  • Co-operative Credit Organisation was started in 1904. 5
  • Primary Co-operative Committees provide credit for short period. 
  • State Co-operative Agriculture Rural Development Banks provide credit for longer period.
  • Land Development Bank provides long-term loans. 
  • Land Development Bank was established is the year 1919 in the form of Land Mortgage Bank. D National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the apex institution of rural credit. It was established on 19 July 1982 by the merger of Agriculture Credit Department and reconstruction of Agriculture and Development Corporation of the Reserve Bank of India. 
  • Authorised share of capital of NABARD was rupees 500 crore. However, after an amendment its authorised share increased to 5000 crore with effect from Februaryl, 2001. 

Food Stocks 

  • Food stocks are maintained by the Central Government for three purposes: 
    i. Maintaining prescribed buffer stock norms for food security. 
    ii. Monthly supply through Public Distribution System (PDS). 
    iii. Market intervention to stabilize open market prices. 
  • Buffer stock on I January 2002 was 58 million tonnes. 
  • As on 1st Aug 2010 the buffer of wheat stock was 33.6 mt which is 35% more than two years ago while buffer of rice stock was 24.3 mt by 117% compared to 2 years.