6th Five Year Plan
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28 || Appendix

Chapter 9:
AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED SECTORS

The agricultural growth pattern during the Sixth Plan period has to take into account the immediate as well as the long-term needs of agricultural commodities both for domestic consumption and for export. The highest priority will be accorded to bridging the gap prevailing between .actual and potential farm yields even at current levels of technology through the removal of the constraints responsible for this gap. The untapped yield reservoir is quite high in most of the farming systems in the country and thereby serves as a. source of optimism for achieving accelerated growth. Both agriculture and fisheries will have to receive concurrent attention through the development of appropriate packages of technology, services and public policies, which can help to enhance production from the soil as well as the sea and thereby improve the income of farmers and fishermen. For achieving greater efficiency of farm management, attention to non-monetary inputs is as essential as to cash inputs.

9.2 The pathway of agricultural advance so far adopted in the developed nations as well as in parts of India relies heavily on increasing consumption of non-renewable forms of energy. It is obvious that finite sources cannot, be exploited in an exponential manner. Agriculture, being the most important solar energy harvesting enterprise, is an invaluable source ot renewable wealth. However, even this resource will become non-renewable if damage is done to basic life support systems like soil and water and the environment. The highest priority should hence go to the protection and improvement of basic agricultural assets. Genetic diversity in plants, animals and fish will have to be conserved and studied with regard to the use of genes present in such collections.

9.3 The agricultural strategy during the eighties will place increasing emphasis on integrated approaches to pest control, nutrient and energy supply, and also to production, conservation, consumption and trade. The triple alliance of weeds, pests and pathogens will have to be fought through an appropriate blend of genetic, agronomic, biological and chemical methods of pest control. In the area of nutrients supply, organic and biological sources of fertilisers will have to be harnessed in addition to increasing the supply of mineral fertilisers. Phosphorus management and recycling require special attention since phosphorus is a non-renewable resource. The care and maintenance of soil health as well as plant and animal health will have to be carried out with the help of the local community. Integrated energy supply systems will have to be based on the use of solar and wind energy, biogas, village wood lots in addition to electricity and petroleum products. These systems will also be so designed as to reduce energy losses.

9.4 Three major groups of factors influence stability of production—weather, pest epidemics and public policies. Pest epidemics can be kept under control tlirough proper pest surveillance and plant protection measures. Public policies in the area of agrarian reforms and pricing, marketing and distribution can also be tailored to stimulate production. Weather aberrations are, however, beyond human control. Therefore, it is essential that contingency plans are developed, particularly in areas which are prone to drought and floods for meeting different weather probabilities. The overall strategy for minimising the adverse impact of aberrant weather will be: (a) to introduce crop life-saving techniques, (b) to popularise alternative cropping patterns based on weather conditions; and (c) to introduce compensatory production programmes in irrigated areas and in off-seasons. Steps will have to be taken during the Sixth Plan period to systematise efforts in the field of disaster management with regard to human, animal and plant populations.

9.5 The Sixth Plan will thus present many challenges and opportunities. Since food occupies the first place in the hierarchical needs of man, we can neglect agriculture only at the risk of economic instability.

INDIAN AGRICULTURE IN THE EIGHTIES

9.6 Starting from the beginning of this century, three major phases can be identified in our agricultural evolution. The first phase from 1900 to 1947 was marked by a near stagnation in farming as is clear 1'roma growth rate of about 0.3 per cent per annum achieved in agricultural production during this period. Phase-11 extending from 1950 to 1980 has been marked by considerable advances in the process of modernisation of agriculture, thanks to the steps taken in the development and spread of (a) technologies based on scientific research; (b) wide range of services; and (c) public policies in land reform, pricing, procurement and distribution. As a result, agricultural production grew at an annual compound rate of 2.8 per cent during 1967-68 to 1978-79. The third phase which has begun in the eighties will be marked by the need Tor greater attention to marketing and trade, and to institutional frameworks which can help to minimise the handicaps of small and marginal farmers and maximise the benefits for intensive agriculture offered by small holdings.

9.7 The agrarian structure of our rural economy is such that small and marginal farmers cultivate nearly 73 per cent of the operational holdings in the country although they handle only about 23 per cent of the cultivated area. Their total earnings from farming alone hence tend to be small and, in unirri-gated areas, also uncertain. The long-term answer to this problem does not lie in steps like writing off loans and fixation of procurement prices at levels which will further reduce the already low levels of consumption of farm products. It is, therefore, proposed during this Plan to introduce a 3-pronged strategy to improve the economic well-being of small and marginal farmers and share croppers:

(1) Improving the productivity and income from smaH holdings through detailed advice on land and water use based on the following 4 criteria:

  1. Ecology: Integrating ecological considerations in land use patterns which would help to avoid the problems of waterlogging, salinisation, erosion, etc. in irrigated areas and to elevate and stabilise production in un-irrigated areas through water harvesting and conservation. Also, contingency plans to suit different weather probabilities will be prepared and introduced according to seasonal conditions.
  2. Economics: Since most of our farmers have low input purchasing and risk taking capacity, it is essential that the land use patterns suggested both in irrigated and unirrigated areas should be based on considerations of costs, returns and risks. Also, marketing opportunities will have to be carefully studied and appropriate advice given to farmers, so that their efforts are adequately rewarded. The economic issues involved in the entire production-trade-consumption chain will have to be gone into.
  3. Energy: The land pnd water use pattern should be based upon the optimum utilisation of the available forms of renewable and non-renewable forms of energy.
  4. Employment: The aim of land use should be to optimise the opportunities for gainful employment and to make it possible for introducing labour diversification and subsidiary occupations for landless labour families. State Land Use Boards assisted by a Central Land Use Commission will pay priority attention to the reorientation of current patterns of land use on the above lines.

(2) Farmers' own organisations for storage and marketing particularly of perishable commodities will be promoted since this will help to protect small and marginal farmers from exploitation by middlemen. Aich organisations would be provided by Government with appropriate support in the areas of train-flig and trade.

(3) Diversification of opportunities for income through the introduction of subsidiary occupations under IRDP as well as lean season employment through JSREP will be undertaken so as to enhance and stabilise rural incomes.

9.8 In the eighties, public policy measures which can help to stimulate production by small and marginal farmers as well as consumption by the rural and urban poor will have to be developed carefully. Ad-hoc measures introduced without a proper action-reaction analysis as temporary palliatives, may in the long run do more harm tlian good. Since agriculture is a State subject, State Governments have a particularly important role as well as responsibility in this respect.

OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGY

9.9 The aims of the agricultural programmes during the Sixth Plan period would be:

  1. to consolidate the gains already achieved;
  2. to accelerate the pace of implementation of land reforms and institution building for beneficiaries;
  3. to extend the benefits of new technology to more farmers, cropping systems and regions and to promote greater farm management efficiency through concurrent attention to cash and non-cash inputs;
  4. to make agricultural growth not only an instrument of maintaining an eifective national food security system but also a catalyst of income and employment generation in rural areas;
  5. to promote scientific land wateruse patterns based on considerations of ecology, economics, energy, conservation and employment generation; and
  6. to safeguard the interests of both producers and consumers by attending to the needs of production, conservation, marketing and distribution in an integrated manner.

9.10 In realising these aims we have to take cognisance of the basic socio-economic parameters governing agricultural growth during the eighties which are the increasing fragmentation^ of land holdings, imbalances in the diffusion of improved technologies in different areas and in the relative rate of growth 'of different crops.

9.11 The position with regard to the average size of a farm holding in all the States of India shows a trend tov/ards a gradual reduction in the size of an operational holding (Annexure 9.1). Land consolidation has not taken place in many of the States in the country. Watershed management in un-irrigated areas, command area development in irrigated areasmd catchment area management in hilly regions which are the triple approaches to scientific water conservation and use have been rendered difficult due to fragmentation of holdings and absence of cooperative management.

9.12 An urgent pre-requisite for accelerating agricultural advance is the need for institutional arrangements tor assisting small and marginal farmers to maximise the opportunities offered by a small farm for intensive agriculture and minimise the handicaps arising from the absence of land consolidation and levelling and the inability to invest on inputs and face risks. The major steps proposed to be taken during the plan period to help small and marginal farmers and share-croppers, both in irrigated and rainfed areas to derive advantage from improved technology, are the following:

  1. Extend the benefits envisaged under the Integrated Rural Development Programme to farming communities in all the blocks of the country (this has already been done with effect from 2 October, 1980);
  2. Help to organise farmers' agro-service centres which can provide relevant services in the area of tillage and farm operations, water conservation and management, plant protection, processing and marketing;
  3. Promote group management of soil. plant and animal health care without affecting the individuality of farm holdings;
  4. Organise effective input supply services including credit;
  5. Provide the necessary assistance in the areas of post-harvest technology, particularly with regard to marketing through the rural godowns project; and
  6. Develop further on-going crop/animal credit insurance schemes to insulate farmers from losses due to reasons beyond their control.

9.13 Imbalances in regional development have partly resulted from disparities in progress in agriculture in different narts of the country. An analysis of the co-efficient of variation in per capita State incomes between 1960-61 and 1975-76 indicates that the maximum increase in disparities in per capita income occurred due to differential progress in the agricultural sector. States which have improved the relevant position with respect to per capita income have done so largely through their imoroved position with respect to agricultural incomes. The sharp contrast in productivity improvement in crops in different regions can be seen from the sharp differences in the progress made in increasing rice yields in different regions of the country since the introduction of the Intensive Agriculture District Programme in 1961. While the progress is striking in North-West India, there has been a nenr stagnation in rice yield in Eastern India. Thus the crucial role of agricultural progress in minimising variations in per capita income and regional imbalances in economic development is obvious. It is, therefore, proposed to initiate during the Sixth Plan period the following steps to bring about more rapid development of agriculture in the areas with a large untapped potential:

(a) It is proposed to strengthen further the research network in relatively less developed areas and to promote location—-specific research. In addition to the 21 existing Agricultural Universities, 2 new Agricultural Universities—one in the lammu and Kashmir State and one in the South Bihar region will be established. A national grid of co-ordinated projects will cover tribal and 'all relatively less developed regions. The ICAP. Research complex in the North Eastern Himalavan region and the agricultural colleges in Nagaland and Manipur will be greatly strengthened.

(b) The "Training and Visit System" of extension will be introduced in all the less developed areas in an appropriate form so that farming families are given adequate extension support. Mobile training teams will be organised where necessary. Additional Krishi Vigyan Kendras will be established in tribal, hilly and backward areas.

(c) In ecologicallv Iiandicapped regions like desert, drought prone and flood prone areas, suitable programmes for minimising the adverse impact of droughts and floods will be introduced. Steps will be taken to restore the damage done to fragile hill eco-svstems pnd to contain salinisfti.on. alkalinity pnd other processes of desertification (i.e. all man-made processes which ei'her destroy or diminish the biological potential of land).

(d) As more farmers begin to have products to sell in the market, their interest in scientific agriculture can be sustained only if there are "oportunities for 'remiinera^'ve marketing Therefore, the marketing infrastructure in the neglected areas will be developed in such a manner that both producers and consumers are benefited. Special attention will be paid to the storage. processing and marketing of horticultural and other perishable materials.

9.14 With regard to imbalances in the relative growth rate in different crons, the most urgent requirement today is the acceleration of the growth where in the production of pulses and oilseeds. Poor plaint population, inadequate plant protection, cultivation in marginal and un-irrigated areas under conditions of energy deprivation and lack of producer-oriented marketing arc some of the factors which hinder the progress in imporving the production of pulses and oilseeds. It is proposed to introduce corrective measures and to popularise the cultivation of these crops in all irrigated farming systems. Plant protection will be organised on an area basis, and quality seed production will be greatly expanded. For achieving a rapid spread of improved technology, suitable clusters of villages in appropriate blocks will be developed into "pulses and oilseed crops villages." l

9.15 Agriculture is an instrument for income and employment generation: when productivity improves, it would be possible to generate more diversified opportunities for employment. More and more workers can be involved in the post-harvest phases of agriculture and in agro-industries. It is proposed to introduce a systems approach to agricultural production, conservation, consumption and trade. Although programmes in these areas are being handled by different Departments and Ministries of Government. functional linkages will be brought about so that all the requirements of the production-consumption chain are looked into in an integrated manner. In order to enable the farmers to optimise their income from small holdings, advice on land use planning will be given by the State Land Use Boards assisted by a Central Land Use Commission wir.ch will be set up durine the Plan period. The Land Use Boards and the Central Land Use Commission will try to assist farmers in bringing about desired improvements in land and water management based on considerations of ecology, economics, energy requirement and employment generation. The revised terms of reference of the Agricultural Prices Commission already stipulate that pricing of commodities could be used as an important instrument for bringing about desired changes in land use. Since land is individually owned. Government can only promote scientific land use through appropriate packages of incentives and disincentives.

9.16 Besides growth, the Sixth Plan will also lay stress on building a National Food Security System. Since there is no immediate prospect for the emergence of an International Food Security System, it is imperative that a National Food Security System is developed in the country. The National Food Security System will have the following major component programmes:

(a) Ecological Security: Any damage to the principal life support systems, such as soil and water, flora and fauna, would undermine the renewable base of agricultural wealth. Therefore, there is need for greater attention to all problems relating to soil and sea erosion, rising water table and the incidence of salinity and alkalinity and various other forms of desertification. The Central and State Land Use Boards will have to ensure that the lone-term and short-term goals of agricultural production efforts are in harmony with each other.

(b) Technological Security: Growth with stability should be the maw aim of technology development. In areas like the Punjab, which have already reached high levels of production, there is need for ensuring the stability of production through improved soil and plant health care and post-harvest technology. In areas with untapped production potential, knowledge of the constraints responsible for the difference between potential and actual farm yields will have to be gathered through an inter-disciplinary constraints analysis. Above all, technologies for minimising the adverse impact oT aberrant weather on agricultural production and for fighting the triple alliance of weeds, pests and pathogens will have to be developed for all major farming systems and farming regions,

(c) Building grain reserves: A minimum grain re serve of 15 million tonnes has to be maintained. In addition, all losses in storage both in rural and urban homes and in the fields and threshing yards should be minimised through an intensification of the "Save Grain Campaign". A national grid of rural storages will be established both for perishable and non-perishable commodities.

(d) Social Security: The availability of purchasing power in the hands of poor is as important as availability of food in the market. The employment generation programmes and particularly the National Rural Employment Programme should help all families to acquire the wherewithal to purchase food.

(e) Nutrition education: Several nutritional problems like vitamin 'A' deficiency leading to blindness, iron anaemia, etc. can be easily eliminated through suitable educational, horticultural and intervention programmes. The National Food Security System will be complete only when, all avoidable nutritional, disorders are eliminated.

(f) Stability of prices: Prices of agricultural commodities exercise a dominant influence on the behaviour of the overall or general price level. Agriculture accounts for nearly half of the national income. Several of the essential articles of mass consumption such as foodgrains, edible oils, sugar, gur and khand-sari, cloth, tea and coffee, fruits and vegetables which account for a substantial weight in the cost of living index, are agriculture based. Agriculture and agricultural based products also account for more than half of the total weight in the wholesale price index. Apart from the fact that there exist imbalances in the demand and suprly of agricultural commodities which are specially pronounced in case of pulses and oilseeds, the output of agricuitural commodities is subject to year to year fluctuations. As the demand for these essential commodities is relatively inelastic, marginal rise or fall in their output leads to disproportionate variation in their prices specially in years of bad crop. Past experience suggests that relative stability in general price level has more often coincided w^th years of good harvest and, on the other, the inflationary pressures have more often bsen triggered by fall in agricultural output and consequent rise in agricultural prices. Agricultural production strategies in tlie Sixth Plan should hence be based on the need 'for increasing the production of commodities in short supply and thereby helping to maintain price stability.

9.17 The foundations of agricultural growth lie ultimately in advances in the technology used at the farm level. The basis for these technological advances 'lies in the system of agricultural research which has contributed very substantially to agricultural development during the planning era. Many of the fruits of agricultural research have been successfully transmitted to the field level but there are certain gaps which need to be filled. In the Sixth Plan period, apart from the general support for the system of agricultural research, special emphasis will be placed on dryland farming, scientific land and water management, recycling of organic matter and energy management. The approach in this plan with regard to agricultural research and technology is dealt with below.

RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

Research infrastructure

9.18 The Indian Council of Agricultural Research is an apex body at the national level with principal mandate to promote, aid and coordinate research in the areas of agricultural animal sciences, fisheries and agricultural engineering. The Council has also the unique feature of promoting higher agricultural education including extension education.

9.19 The triple function of research, education and extension education is implemented through 34 Central Research institutes, the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, five Project Directorates and 54 All India Coordinated Research Projects under the Council and 21 Agricultural Universities located in the State Sector. A national grid of cooperative research has thus been established in which the role of Central Institutes and the State Agricultural Universities, as equal partners, has been well-defined. The system aims to achieve maximum complementarity of resource use. With a view to strengthening mission-oriented research. National Research Centres with eminent scientists are to be established dur\ng the Sixth Plan period on the one hand and, on the other, a National Agricultural Research Project has been started to enhance capabilities of Agricultural Universitties to do location-specific research in each of the agro-climatic zones.

Agricultural Universities

9.20 Starting with the establishment of Pant-nagar University in 1960, a number of Agricultural Universities have been set up to bring about an integrated approach to education, research and extension, and for this purpose the responsibility of research has been transferred to the Agricultural Universities. However, in this process, the links between research and extension have tended to become weak in some cases. Therefore, during the Sixth Plan period, linkages between development departments and Agricultural Universities will be strengthened and Agricultural Universities will play a leading role in organising farmers' fairs, extension training and other "lab to land" programmes. The proposed new Agricultural University in Jammu and Kashmir should deal with problems of temperate fruits, sheep and goat husbandry, sericulture, silviculture and relevant aspects of high altitude farming. The Agricultural University in South Bihar should specialise in tribal professions such as sericulture, lac-culture, horticulture, forest farming and allied activities. Such concentrated attention in relevant areas will enhance the impact of Agricultural' Universities on the rural economy.

9.21 The Agricultural Universities have to act as catalysts and play a crucial role in plan implementation by providing appropriate R and D support for increasing and stabilising production' and achieving the desired growth in agriculture. Universities' research would be oriented to develop the needed technology for agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries programmes. The education and training programmes would also be reorganized to train the required number and high quality of students in different disciplines. Efforts would be made for energy harvesting from renewable sources by all possible means as agriculture today is an energy intensive process. Technology will have to be evolved for efficient use of soil and water so that investments made on irrigation and fert'liser projects benefit more farmers. In the area of post-harvest technology and marketing the Universities would take appropriate initiatives. The universities also should establish perspective planning cells and give lead in planning for better tomorrow. Agro-meteorological research will be strengthened so that both early warning and timely action can be promoted when seasonal conditions becom0. unfavourable. The strategy and priorities should be oriented to fulfill the mandate specified in the Sixth Plan.

Human Resource Development and Utilisation of R and D Manpower

9.22 With the increased need for field-oriented and problem-solving research it has become increasingly difficult to implement many of the research projects/programmes due to lack of competent technical manpower and specialists. The ICAR is therefore promoting advanced Centres of Situdies in selected areas relevant to our agricultural development in order to train competent scientists. The Agricultural Universities and ICAR institutes have a special responsibility 1o shoulder in this regard. The problem is particularly acute in tribal and backward areas. A Comprehensive Project of additional compensatory benefits has, therefore, been sanctioned for scientists of the Council to attract them to such neglected areas. A Programme of Human Resource Development has also been started to provide financial assistance to deserving students from tribal and backward districts for higher studies upto post-graduate level, so that they may go back to their areas and help develop them. The educational programmes in the agricultural universities are being strengthened to improve their quality and to make them increasingly relevant to the developmental needs of the country. Higher educational programmes to train the required manpower for research in different branches will receive special attention during the Sixth Plan period. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra programme (KVKs) start ed towards the end of the Fourth Five Year Plan has developed into an important means of filling the gap in the technical training programmes for transfer of technology in different branches of agriculture. The KVKs will be fun-her strengthened during the Sixth Plan period. The need for imparting better managerial skill to research scientists was recognised when the National Academy for Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) was set up at Hyderabad during the Fifth Plan period. This Academy will be fully developed during the Sixth Plan period to train the new entrants and in service personnel at various levels in ICAR institutes, Agricultural Universities and in States and Central Government development departments. Improved management of both Agricultural Universities and ICAR institutions is essential for enhancing the per capita output of scientists/tsachers. In this task NAARM has a key role.

Research Priorities and New Thrust

9.23 During the last three decades, the major objective of agricultural research and development was to achieve self-sufficiency in food. During the eighties, the goal would not only be to further improve productivity and stabilise and diversify production, but also to generate rural employment and enhance consumption by increasing the purchasing power of the people. High yield-cum-high stability production system will have to be developed, ensuring maximum utilisation of available resources of soil, water and sunlight. Land-use planning, water-shed management and farming system orientation to R and D efforts to maximise returns and minimise risks would be some of the approaches for effic'ent utilisation of resources. Special attention will be paid to strengthen research in oilseeds and pulses to improve their production potential and to develop location-specific technology so as to help increase production of these crops by about 50 to 100 per cent in die 1980s. Maximisation of biomass production, nartitioning it along economically remunerative path-ways, recycling of organ'c wastes and efficient transformation of all forms of cultural energy fi.e. all forms of energy introduced by man) into food energy would be some of the complementary objectives. Emphasis will also be laid on strengthening research on vegetables and horticultural crops.

9.24 Research in energy management in agriculture would be a new area to receive concerted attent'on. Efforts to harvest as much solar energy as possible through agro-physical devices and biological systems will be intensified. Input utilisation efficiency would form an important component of energy management system. This would include water-use efficiency. fertiliser-use efficiency, etc. A massive effort will be directed towards harnessing organic and biological resources of nitrogen and developing technologies for recycling of phosphorous, a non-renewa^e source. Integrated pest management would be another direction of future research to reduce both cost and hazards of chemicalisation of our agriculture. Studies on dynamic's of labour availability and costs would be undertaken to determine the desirability, extent and kind of mechanisation of qgriciilture. Identification of constraints responsible for the oao between the potential and actual farm yields and causes of slow technology diffusion in some areas, would continue to be the prime concern. This would require more basic biological, agro-physical and socio-economic research.

9.25 Fishery research will have high priority to develop relevant technology for production, processing and marketing of both inland and marine fisheries. Animal production will receive special attention in dry farming and hilly areas. Silvi-pastoral system and agro-forestry programmes would be given attention since they are a source of feed and fodder foi live-stock. Incentive prices will have to be ensured by developing marketing and trade on producer-oriented lines. Special programmes will be initiated to give export-orientation to agricultural production after fully meeting internal requirements. Technologies for intensive agriculture on small holdings will have to be developed and the mis-match between production and post-harvest technology will have to be eliminated. Thus the research programmes of the ICAR and Agricultural Universities would aim at consolidation, coordination and selectivity. Improvement in productivity in pulses, oilseeds and sugar-cane, development of technology against pests and diseases, risk-distribution agronomy, post-harvest technology, nutrition research, agro-forestry and development of commercial and plantation crops for export purposes will be given priority. Emphasis in dry land farming would continue on evolving water conservation methods and contingency land and water use plans to stabilise production. Agro-meteorology studies will be augmented to develop more dependable crop-weather forecast. Remedying regional imbalances by paying more attention to agriculturally backward and less developed areas by involving mixed farming systems would be resorted to.

Areas of inier-agency Collaboration

9.26 Appreciating the need for inter-orgamsational collaboration, ICAR has established a number of inter-agency scientific panels to develop research programmes of mutual interest. These programmes involve, bes'des ICAR. agencies like the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of Science and Technology, Indian Council of Medical Research. Indian Meteorology Department. Indian Council of Social Sciences Research, Central Water Commission and the National Dairy Development Board. The projects cover a wide range of areas such as energy management, oost-harvest technology, med'cinal and aromatic plants, utilisation of farm by-products and agricultural wastes, problems of food storage/preservation and food toxins including pesticide residues, weather forecast and warning system, etc. Some of the prospective areas of collaboration are reproductive biology, biolog'cal and physiological plant processes, immunology, agro-meteorology, integrated rural development, etc.

9.27 In the area of international collaboration, the Council will take necessary steps, on the* one hand. to benefit bv acquiring latest technologies from the developed nations and. on the other, by sharing some of the technologies developed in this country with other developing countries. There is immense scope for technical cooperation among developing countries in agriculture since these countries have been in most cases the centres of origin of crop plants Bi-lateral and multi-lateral programmes will be continued so as to fill the gaps noticed in the past and to improve the managerial skills.

DRYLAND FARMING

9.28 Nearly 25 per cent of the total cropped area in the country is irrigated by various sources, and the balance continues 10 depend on rains. The rain 1'all patterns are erratic and the period of rainfall and the number of rainy days in different areas vary considerably. Even though the rainfed areas account for 75 per cent of the cropped area, their contribution amounts to only about 42 per cent ot the total food-grains production. Almost tlie entire quantity of coarse grains and pulses as also most of cotton and ioilseeds are produced in the rainfed areas. Wide fluctuations in production, thus, occur in these areas year after year and these fluctuations adversely affect the total production and agricultural economy of the country.

9.29 A Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Integrated Dry Land Agricultural Development was launched in 1970-71 in 24 pilot projects to test and demonstrate on a large scale the technology developed by the All India Coordinated Research Project for Dryland Agriculture under tlie ICAR. The technology offered to the farmers under these projects has proved that a significant increase in production of the dry land/ rainfed crops can be achieved. A large number of field demonstrations conducted have also shown that ti-ie yields can be stepped up considerably on the farmers' fields. The Centrally Sponsored Scheme has since been transferred to the Stales Sector.

9.30 The Sixth Plan lays great emphasis on increasing agricultural production on dry land/rain fed arable lands. The efforts will be directed towards rain-fed/ dry land farming on watershed basis. The programme will be flexible in approach to meeting the iocal needs. Areas with annual rainfall of 750 to 1125 mm wi!l be covered under these efforts with some exceptions to meet specific local situations. In selecting such areas, avail ability of technical know-how based on research and development and recommendations 'for crop planning either from ICAR's dryland research centres or from Agricultural Universities will be relied upon. Also, areas having representation from tribal and scheduled classes of the society v/ill be preferred in undertaking this programme.

9.31 A programme of propagation of water harvesting technology in medium rainfall areas will be introduced in order to conserve available moisture and utilise it for supplementry irrigation. Tlie run-off of water collected into farm ponds, bundhies, etc. can be used in the following situations:

  1. saving of standing kharif crops from drought effect;
  2. providing pre-sowing irrigation for rabi crops;
  3. extending the growing season for the benefit of long duration crops, i.e., red gram, castor, etc. and
  4. providing a minimal irrigation for growing vegetables, fruits or fodder in small are

SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION

9.32 Soil and Water conservation programmes were initiated during the First Plan period and they have been progressively intensified over the successive Plan periods. Till 1979-80, an area of 23.40 million hectares was treated by various soil conservation measures against IS million hectares at the end of Fourth Plan period (1973-74) and 21.7 million hectares at tlie end of Fu'th Plan period (1977-78). During the First and Second Plan periods, soil conservation works maimy constituted of contour bunding and some ailorestation of denuded areas. Under the Third Plan, a centrally sponsored scheme of soil conservation in Catchments of 13 major River Valley Projects was undertaken. This was extended to another 8 Catchments during the Fourth Plan period, and today this scheme is covering 21 Catchments. From the Fifth Plan onwards, soil and water conservation programmes are being taken up on water-shed approach. Other significant achievements of the previous Plans include the setting up of the All India Soil and Land Use Survey Organisation and State Land Use Boards to take an overall view of the land use, conservation problems, etc. Thus, the organisational capabilities for undertaking this programme have been strengthened and also augmented m most o'f the States.

9.33 According to available estimates, substantial areas of land in the country are affected by soil erosion or land degradation. The area so far covered by soil conservation measures is only 23.40 million hectares. Therefore, there is a vast area yet to be covered. Small water-sheds with an area of 1000— 2000 hectares, treatment of which is practicable and manageable, will have to be increasingly taken up during the Sixth Plan period. There is also need to evaluate the resuits for assessing the effectiveness of various soil conservation measures and, with this in view, continuous monitoring of the programme at various stages of implementation will be very essential.

9.34 Considering the magnitude of the problem of land degradation, its regional and inter-State ramifications and high national priority accorded to tackle it, the Sitxh Pian aims at a target of an additional 7.1 million hectares on the base of 23.4 million hectares. Adequate outlays have been mads in the State Plans for implementing this programme. The Centrally sponsored schemes of soil Conservation in the Catchments of River Valley Projects which at present cover 21 catchments will be continued in the Sixth Plan. A target of 3 lakh hectares is to be covered by this scheme. Another centrally sponsored scheme of integrated water-shed management in the Catchments of 8 Flood prone Rivers of the Indo-Gangetic Basin v/ill also be taken up under the Sixth Plan. This would involve adoption of an integrated approach by combining water shed management up-stream with engineering and structural methods of diverting and controlling the flow of flood water downstream. The work of survey and investigation of the catchment areas will be concurrently taken up for preparation of detailed water-shed management plans so as to form a sound base for integrated action programme. This programme will have a target of 5.5 lakh hectares tor the period 1980—85.

9.35 Benefits of soil conservation programme accrue in the shape of development ol land as also creation of employment opportunities. These benefits flow to scheduled castes/tribes particularly where these programmes are implemented in areas pre-dominantly inhabited by them. Particular mention may be made of the scheme for control of shifting cultivation which is exclusively for the benefit of tribal people. In the case of other schemes, nearly 10—20 per cent of the total investment is for the benefit of Scheduled Castes/ Tribes.

ORGANIC RECYCLING

9.36 In India we have large quantities of biomass produced by our plant and animal systems, whose proper economic utility is not fully recognised. The biomass production under the tropical conditions is far more than Under temperate conditions. It is estimated that about 1000 million tonnes of organic wastes in the form of crop residues and another 300 to 400 million tonnes of cattle dung and animal dropping are available annually in the country. These materials contain approximately 6 million tonnes of nitrogen, 2.5 million tonnes of phosphate and 4.5 million tonnes of potassium. Even if a significant portion of these plant nutrients are efficientiy recycled, not only our agricultural economy would improve but also crop land would become much better. It is estimated that the total rural compost, which could be prepared from these rural wastes, would be about 50 million tonnes; similarly urban wastes could also contribute about 15 million tonnes of compost. Besides, if the organic materials are utilised tor biogas production, before the residue is used as manure, nearly 50 per cent of the rural domestic fuel requirements would be met. The utilisation of these natural manures in addition to chemical fertilisers is an important element in our agricultural strategy. Organic recycling not only helps in the beneficial utilisation of organic wastes but also helps to improve the environment ol human habitat.

9.37 It is essential that organic recycling should be linked with improving the ecosystems. Organic recycling would depend upon the nature of the material, such as crop residues, tree wastes, weeds, urban and rural wastes, animal wastes including the dung, litter, droppings and carcasses, marine landings and sea weeds and their location and method adopted for their utilisation. While the organic residues of plants reach the soil and water sooner or later, the manner it is incorporated into cultivated soil and the values of plant nutrients contained therein would help in improving the dynamic equilibrium in soil-plant-animal relationship.

9.38 During the Sixth Plan period steps will be taken to use on a large scale the technology of composting based on locally available materials, including me designing of simple and low cost composter for rural areas as well as economical big composter for urban areas. In addition, intensive research work will be conducted to improve the quality of the compost by enriching it witn plant nutrients. Steps will oe taken to use sewage ana sludge on a large scale for soil productivity as well as for energy (biogas). Detailed investigations will be carried oui to find out the reliable data pn the availability of organic wastes and to conduct a comparative study of the various procedures used in the utilisation of these wastes for the production of fuel and fertilisers. Research will also be undertaken for designing of machines for processing of bio-mass available locally for chopping, pellet making pyrolysis, gasification, etc. and for the production 01 oil, methane or methenol, etc. from the materials available locally. In view of the energy crisis and likely increase in the cost of inorganic fertilisers as well as their possible shortage, organic recycling will be given high priority during the plan period.

BIOGAS DEVELOPMENT

9.39 The energy needs of the country have been growing rapidly, both due to increasing population and also modernisation of our various Human activities. The shortage of fossil fuel being felt all over the world has awakened us to look for renewable sources of energy. A recent survey of the energy needs and uses of the nation has brought out that in rural areas upto 80 per cent of the needs is met from fuelwood, cowdung and other organic materials, whereas in the urban areas the percentage is around fifty. This means that we are cutting down the valuable trees and plants to obtain the fuelwood and also burning the cowdung which would otherwise become high value organic manure to crop fields. Considering that there will be greater demand for fuel during the coming years, unless we take corrective steps, the present methods of cutting down the forest and burning the cowdung will increase to our dismay. While conservation of forests together with planting energy and fuel forests have to be intensified, more of economic use oŁ cowdung to meet the fuel needs and the organic manurial requirements will have to be aclopred. In this respect a massive programme for use of biogas in rural areas becomes important and urgent.

9.40 Biogas technology is based on the phenomenon of anaerobic decomposition of organic material, resulting in methane production which serves as a source of fuel for cooking, lighting, propelling engines, etc., and the residual organic matter as rich manure containing plant nutrients in a concentrated form. In India about 300 to 400 million tonnes of animal excreta is available as base for biogas production, besides bulk quantities of plant residues and other organic wastes which could also be mixed with the animal excreta for biogas production. It is estimated that if all these materials are utilised, about 70,000 million cubic meters of methane gas equivalent to about 160 million tonnes of fuelwood could be produced.

9.41 During ihe past few years some steps have been taken to popularise setting up of biogas plants in farm homes. So far about 75,000 family size plants and three or four larger community biogas plants have been set up in the country. The experience gained in this field so far is encouraging, rich and useful. It is desirable to conduct extensive R and D on biogas. Studies sliould be conducted on the improvement of the efficiency of biogas plants by pursuing research on microbiology and biochemistry of fermentation so that greater quantity of biogas and better quality of manure may be obtained irom them. Extensive research is needed to explore the possioilily of large scale and economic use of organic wastes as a source of biogas and manure, especially to develop suitable strains of methane producing anaerobic bacteria from these materials, in addition, investigations would be pertomi.d for the enhancement of the efficiency of biogas plants in cold climatic conditions and for designing ot biogas plants with low cost technology from the materials available locally. For popularising biogas plants, further steps will be taken to establish suitable organisational infrastructure, to make adequate arrangements for post-installation services and to perform extensive extension work. Considering the various advantages obtained through biogas plants, including less expensive renewable source of energy for cookmg and ligating, etc., improved organic manure, better sanitation and better conservation of natural resources including a reduction in felling of trees, a massive biogas development programme to set up about one million family size plants and 100 community plants during the Sixth Five Year Plan period is contemplated.

INPUTS AND SERVICES

9.42 Agricultural production requires a variety of inputs and services for sustaining and expanding production-fertilisers and manures, unproved seeds, plant protection chemicals and modern implements and machinery. The targets with regard to these inputs and for the extension of irrigation (which is dealt with in Chapter 10) are indicated in Table 9.1. Apart from these material inputs, a variety of other services like credit, insurance, storage, marketing and processing are also required. The measures that are proposed to be taken to increase availability of these inputs and services and to improve the delivery system are dealt with below.

Table 9.1 Targets of inputs

Sl. Item
No.
Unit

Assumed base level 1979-80
(Actual/ Anticipated)

Plan target 1984-85
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4)
I. Seeds  
1 Certified Lakh Quintals 13-71 54-00
2 Foundation Do. 0-92 3-00
3 Breeder Do. 0-06 0-12
II. Fertilizer Consumption  
1 Nitrogenous (N) Lakh tonnes 35-00 60-00
2 Phosphatic (P) Do 11-50 23-40
3 Potassic(K) Do 6-10 13-10
Total N+P+K 52-60 96-50
III. Pesticides (Teeh. grade material) Thousand tonnes 60.00 80-00
IV. HTV Programme Million Hectares    
1 Paddy Do. 13-60 25-00
2 Wheat Do. 13-50 19-00
3 Maize Do. 2-00 2-00
4 Jowar Do. 3-00 5-00
5 Bajra Do. 3-10 5-00
Total HYV   35-20 56-00
V. Gross Cropped Area Million Hectares 171-00 181-00
VI. Irrigation  
1 Minor Irrigation      
(a) Surface water Do. 8-00 9-0
(b) Ground water Do. 22-00 29-00
Total 2 Major and Medium Do. 30-00 38-00
22-60 28-20
Total Irrigation (1+2)   52-60 66-20
VII. Command Area Development
Construction of field channels Million Hectares 3-10 7-10
2 Land level ling and shaping. Do. 1-00 2-00

Note :—- State-wise break-up of Plan targets of HYV and fertilizers input are given in Annexure 9.5

FERTILISERS AND MANURES

9.43 Fertilizers and manures are a crucial input in agricultural production. Consumption 01 fertilizers in tne country has been increasing steadily, thanks to better availability through increased domestic production and streamlined distribution coupled with measures taken by Government for increasing its demand. At the beginning ot the First Plan, fertiliser consumption was only about 69,000 tonnes of nutrients and in iy/y-8U u was nearly 5.3 million tonnes. In 1974-/o, there was a set-bacic in consumption of fertilizers Hue to the rise in prices. After recovering from this set-back, the consumption of fertilizers has continued to rise and the average annual increase during the three years ending 1979 was 20 per cent.

9.44 This increase has been facilitated by reduction in their prices, ihis appreciable increase has, however, led to increase in the burden of subsidy on the one hand and higher import bill on the other. The trend continues to be towards a more balanced use of different nutrients. There are, however, wide differences in per hectare consumption in different States, ranging trom 2.U4 kg. in Assam to 108.5 kg. in Punjab with the average for the country being about 31.5 kg. (nutrient) in 1979-80. Further, fertilizer consumption continues to be concentrated in about 60 districts (out of a total of 405), which account for about 50 per cent of the overall fertilizer consumption.

9.45 Weather conditions being favourable, consumption of fertilizers is likely to go up further during the Plan period. One important point to be borne in mind is in relation to efficiency of fertilizer use. It has been observed that a large percentage of nitrogen applied to low land paddy fields gets lost through denitrirication, volatilisation and leaching. Losses also occur in respect 01: upland crops like wheat. There is, thus, need for improving the efficiency of fertilizer use.

9.46 The objectives of the Sixth Plan are (a) to have equitable and efficient fertilizer distribution system in the country accompanied with a proper infra-structural and organisational support; (b) to reduce regional disparities in fertilizer consumption; (c) to ensure that benefits of fertilizer use are received by all sectors of the farming community, especially the small and marginal farmers; and (d) to promote integrated nutrient supply system by better and increased mobilisation of organic and bio-fertilizer resources in order to supplement and optimise use of chemical fertilizers as also to maximise efficiency of fertilizer use.

9.47 In order to cope up with the distribution of about 22 million tonnes of fertilizer material by the end of the Sixth Plan, the distribution system will have to be considerably augmented and streamlined. Port handling capacity will have to be increased considerably through high speed mechanical unloading plants, port storage, portable bagging machines, etc. The irreversible trend towards rail movement in block rakes to single point destinations calls for suitable iiifrasiructural urrangcmeuls like sidings, platforms, siorage space, etc. ai identified nodal cenues irom where furtner distribution by road can take place. Movement 01 lenmzers in bulk trom ports and plants for subsequent bagging near the consumption centres will receive funner emphasis, improvement of the distribution system will involve opening of additional storage depois in the states, increasing retail sale points in the interior, introducing multi-agency competitive distribution system and making arrangements for adequate supply of credit to farmers 101 purchasing fertilizers. A good monitoring system would also be necessary to ensure timely ana adequate availability of fertilizers in all parts ot the country.

9.48 One 01 the reasons for the skewed pattern 01 fertilizer consumption in the country has been the fact mat reiaii outlets have tended to cluster around ran-heads since fertilizers were hitherto supplied to distributors on FOR rail head destination basis. In order to tide over the problem the Central Government has recently introduced a scheme to meet tne cost of transportation of fertilizers from all the rail heads upto all block headquarters in the country. The scheme, when implemented, will make fertilizers adequately available in all blocks in the country (even in the blocks which do not have rail head facilities).

9.49 Extension support for guiding the farmers in the proper use of fertilisers so as to achieve maximum benefits will be further strengthened. Soil testing facilities will be strengthened and expanded. Besides, greater attention will be given to popularisation of fertilizers m non-conventional unirrigated areas per-sently under the dry farming system where fertilizer use is almost negligible.

9.50 The consumption of fertilizers is expected to go up from 5.3 million tonnes in terms of nutrients in 1979-80 to 9.6 million tonnes by the end of Sixth Plan. This would call for suitable investment in the fertilizer sector. Simultaneously, steps will have to be taken to promote the conservation and use of all organic wastes and biological sources of nitrogen fixation and supply. Bio-fertilizers programme involving the popularisation of rhizobium, blue green algae, azolla and other sources will have to be greatly expanded. Also, steps to improve soil fertility and to reduce leaching losses of nitrogen will have to be taken.

IMPROVED SEEDS

9.51 The area under high yielding varieties of seeds has been showing a progressive increase trom year to year. The Sixth Plan aims at covering an additional area of 20.8 million hectares over the 1979-80 base of 35.2 million hectares. The total area of 56 million hectares will include 25 million hectares of paddy, 19 million hectares of wheat, 2 million hectares of maize and 5 million hectares each of jowar and bajra.

9.52 The National Seeds Projects (Phase I and II) launched during the Fifth Plan period and still under execution is a major effort in meeting the requirements of improved seeds. The project covers the States of Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa, Rajasthan and Ultar Pradesh. State Seeds Corporations have been set up in these States. Augmenting infrastructural facilities like set^ng up of processing plants, seed certification agencies, seed testing laboratories, etc. are some of the important programmes of the project. Creation of Seed Technology Units in 12 agricultural universities and a few ICAR institutions for breeder and foundation seeds is also part of the project. The project, in brief, aims at placing the seed industry on a scientific footing by reorganising the functions of various institutions in a systematic manner.

9.53 It has been felt that it would be very difficult to produce large quantities of breeder seed in case 'only 3 stages of multiplication up to the stage of certified sc;d are adhered to as has been the practice so far. Hence, two stages of foundation seed—Stage I and Stage II are being introduced. Taking into account the requirements of reserve stock of seeds for foundation and certified seeds, the total requirements in the terminal year of the Sixth Plan would be about 54.0 lakh quintals of certified seed, 3.0 lakh quintals of foundation seed and 12,000 quintals of breeder seed. These figures include a massive increase in the production of seeds of pulses and oilseeds keeping in view the national priority for increasing production of these en ups and the vital role that quality seed would play in promoting good plant population and performance.

9.54 It has been observed in the past that the production of certified seeds has been limited on account of non-availability of adequate volume of breeder and foundation seeds. Plan provisions have been made to strengthen the National Seeds Corporation to enable it to assume direct responsibility for production of breeder and foundation seed so that the shortage exhibited at the national level in the past can be eliminated. The National Seeds Corporation is also proposed to be strengthened for production of vegetable seeds.

9.55 The State Farms Corporation of India will also play a bigger role in the production of certified seeds of important cereals and other crops especially oilseeds, vegetables, etc. on their large and scientifi-cally managed farms.

PLANT PROTECTION

9.56 Recurrent attacks of pests and diseases have been causing considerable damage to the crops. Unless these are kept under check, efforts to boost up agricultural Iproduction will not succeed. Recent studies have revealed that in the year 1976-77, 19.8 per cent of the cropped area suffered from pests and diseases but the area treated with pesticides was only 7.2 per cent. The crops that suffered most were groundnut (47 per cent), cotton (28 per cent), paddy (24 per cent) and sugarcane (25 per cent).' Even eposervativc estimate pf loss of, 10—15 per cent in the total agricultural output should amount to thousands pf crores of rupees in a single year.

9.57 Consumption of pesticides in the country was negligible in the early fifties. Starting from a low figure of 100 tonnes of pesticides consumed in agricultural sector at the beginning of the First Five Year Plan, the country is now consuming 60,000 tonnes of technical grade pesticides in the agriculture sector alone (1980-81). However, the consumption varies considerably from State to State. Whereas Tamil Nadu consumes more than 1.8 kg. of formulated pesticides on each hectare of cropped area, Madhya Pradesh hardly consumes 1/lOth of a kg. of formulated pesticides on an equal area. The high rainfall areas in the eastern part of the country, which are more prone to the attacks of weeds, pests and diseases do not consume any sizeable proportion of the pesticides.

9.58 The objectives during the Sixth Plan period will be to—

  1. minimise the losses arising out of pests and diseases;
  2. expand the area under plant protection from 80 million hectares to 100 million hectares;
  3. increase the consumption of pesticides from 60,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes of technical grade material;
  4. strengthen surveillance against pests and diseases and determine economic thresh-holds with a view to having more efficient use of pesticides. Surveillance in the tribal areas will be given special attention;
  5. strengthen quality control arrangements and set up Central Insecticides Laboratory and Regional Laboratories;
  6. expand the work on "Integrated Pests Control" and intensify the control of Pests by biological means; and
  7. continue the Scheme of "Control and Eradication of Pests and Diseases of Agricultural Importance including Weed Control in Endemic Areas".

PLANT PROTECTION

IMPLEMENTS AND MACHINERY

9.59 A number of programmes were initiated during the previous plan periods, but their size and coverage have not been commensurate with the increasing needs of agricultural development. At the same time nroorammes of research and development taken up by the agricultural universities have enabled identification of implements suitable for the different areas. What is however lacking, is the programme or demonstrations to motivate the farmers in the use of improved implements and infrastructure at the state level to coordinate demand with production, quality control, distribution and supporting services of farmers' education, credit, repair and maintenance facilities. State Agro-Industries Corporation have been set up in different States to strengthen these activities. Another programme is establishment ol agro-service centres to be handled by self employe.1 engineers. This was taken up to achieve the objectives of employment generation and provision of supplies and services to farmers in the rural areas. Under this programme, about 3,160 centres were set up. The State Agro-Industries Corporations have taken up a wide range of activities with a bearing on production of inputs for agriculture and in the processing of agricultural products. The funds available to them have, however, been utilized tor activities connected with the supply of inputs and services. On the financial side, their performance leaves great scope for improvement.

9.60 In the Central Sector, attention has been given to training of personnel in the operation, maintenance and management aspects of agricultural machinery and in the testing of different types of machinery for functional performance and durability at the two central institutions at Budni and Hissar. Tliese institutions are to be strengthened so as to meet regional needs of training and testing. Development of hill areas through a programme of training in the selection and use of tools and equipments, appropriate for these areas, would also receive high priority.

9.61 Keeping in view the constraints and requirements of the programme of agricultural machinery, the strategy for the Sixth Plan aims at (i) introduction and popularisation of selected implements particularly those which benefit the small and marginal fermers with emphasis on the needs of ecologically handicapped areas and areas where higher potential for improvement of agricultural production exists: (ii) strengthening of the supporting services and infrastructure for demonstration and popularisation; (iii) testing; and quality control; (i.v) training and (v) promotion of agro-industries and agro-services.

9.62 Farmers' Agro Service Centres will be set up for training and assistance to entrepreneurs, groups of farmers, personnel of cooperatives, etc. through adopting a multi-agency approach. It is proposed to set up 500 such centres in different parts of the country during the Sixth Plan period. Their main objective will be to organise supplies and services tor the benefit of small and marginal farmers. This programme will be supported by national and regional centres for technology transfer.

AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION AND TRAINING

9.63 It is well known that there is a wide pap between production potential and actual field harvests in most agricultural crops. There is adequate technology available for transfer from the research laboratories and experimental stations to the farmers' fields and homes. Besides, agricultural technolosv is also developing fast. In order to keep pace with such a development and to improve the economy of the farmers, the machinery involved in the transfer process needs to be strengthened and atuned to meet the growing and changing needs. In the past the agricultural administration had not received adequate attention in most States, with the result the policy goals were not often supported with an implementation machinery. Recent experiment in reorganisation and strengthening of the agricultural extension service under the 'Training and Visit' system in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh has given very encouraging results. This T and V system is already working satisfactorily in 10 States. During the Sixth Plan period this system would be introduced on a nation-wide basis, so as to improve the education and technical competence of the extension functionaries and also to bring better linkages between Agricultural Universities, Extension Wings of the State Governments and farming communities.

9.64 The need for training of women in agriculture cannot be over-emphasised since more than fifty per cent of the agricultural operations are carried out by them. In order to improve their technical competence and economic conditions in agriculture, more intensive training programmes for women in agriculture will have to be organised. There are four categories of labour involvement by women and they are (i) field labour like sowing, transplanting, harvesting, th'-eshing, etc., (ii) skilled operations like plant protection, plant propagation, hybridization as in cotton, (iii) post-harvest operations such as cotton .grading, processing and vending of various agricultural commodities; and (iv) farm management and supervision of farm operations. In all these areas farm women need to be given technical training to improve their efficiency.

9.65 The labour force in many areas belong to the lowest strata of the society. Almost the entire lots of scheduled castes and tribes depend on their meagre earnings from working on farm lands. The tribal people also depend mostly on farm lands and more so on horticultural crops. Their skills in agriculture are mostly inherited through generations. There is ample scope to improve their skills through specially organised training programmes to suit their background and culture, so as to reduce drudgery in agricultural operations and improve their economic status. Some sectors of society such as ex-service personnel who enter into agriculture need special attention in our training programmes. They have to be riven tailor-made courses to meet their requirements. Likewise. progressive farmers and farm youths should be trained to take to new crops under export promotion, multiple and mixed cropping, etc.

9.66 In some respects the agricultural sector can provide opportunities for painful enjoyment of the phvsicallv handicapped. This is because of a wide variety of operations involved in agriculture and post-harvest processing. This would need specialised trainin" for the handicapped persons taking into consideration the needs of the situation.

9.67 Durine the Sixth Plan period not only will the extension machinery be strengthened in its structure and quality to carry out better programmes of transfer of technology but also selected sectors of farmers and farm labour force will be given different types of training to improve their skills and also to diversify such skills to enable them to be more fully employed and to earn better living.

AGRICULTURAL CREDIT

9.68 The cooperative structure with its countrywide network of primary cooperatives, the commercial banking sector with 14444 rural and special agricultural branches (at the end of December 1079) and the Regional Rural Banks numbering 65 with 2420 branches are the three main agencies involved in provision of credit for agriculture and allied sectors. Of the three, it is the cooperatives which still continue to have the predominant role in terms of both volume and territorial coverage.

9.69 Though the growth of credit through different credit institutions has been fairly rapid in the past few ye,ars, they have still a long way to go to meet the growing credit needs of a modernising and expanding agriculture and allied activities. The share of agriculture in Gross Commercial Banks Credit at June end 1979 was only 11.8 per cent. The share of rural 'branches in the total deposits at December end 1978 was 10.4 per cent but in credit advanced only 8.4 per cent. The share of semi-urban branches in deposits and advances was 21.9 and 15.4 per cent respectively. Thus the rural and the semi-urban branches collected more from and advanced less in the rural areas. The rate of growth of cooperative credit has also slowed down in the last few years. The factor most responsible Tor decelerating the rate of credit expansion is the mounting overdues both in the short and medium/long term credit. The problem Of overdues has, in fact, been agency neutr.al and is common whether the agency is cooperative commercial banks or the government. The overdues in the cooperatives have reached about 42 per cent of the demand. The recovery performance of commercial banks has been even worse and w,as only ''50.20 per bent in the case of public sector banks at June end 1978. There are also considerable regional imbalances in the supply of credit. Five States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu accounted for 52 per cent of the total agricultural credit supplied. In the matter of credit availability to weaker sections, their percentage share in cooperaHve credit has risen at a higher rate than in the commercial banks' credit, though in either case it remains short of the needs.

9.70 The main objective's of the institutional credit policy under the Sixth Plan would therefore be to:

  1. secure an increase in the total volume of •institutional credit for agriculture and rural development;
  2. direct a larger share of the credit to the weaker sections;
  3. reduce the regional imbalances in the availability of credit;
  4. bring about greater coordination between different credit institutions under the multi-agency siystem; and
  5. improve the recovery of institutional loans to ensure continuous re-cycling of credit.

9.71 The availability of institutional credit to agriculture and allied activities has been projected to expand from the base level of Rs. 2550 crores in 1979-80 to Rs. 5415 crores in the terminal year (1984-85) of the Sixth Plan. An almost four-fold step-up is projected in the commercial banks' short-term loans. The share of priority sector in the total advances by commercial banks is to be increased to 40 per cent, of whiph the share of agriculture and allied activities will again be at least 40 per cent, i.e., 16 percent of the total advances. Separate sub-targets will be laid down for the weaker sections and further within this group for the landless labourers, artisans, etc., namely, those who do not have a land base and for whom additional income generation will have to be through endowment of new productive resources. Endeavour will be that at least 50 per cent of the total institutional credit goes to the weaker sections. Special attention will be given to preparing viable economic projects for women and credit made available to them accordingly. With a view to reducing the regional imbalances in the availability of credit, it is proposed to substantially expand the number of rural branches in under-banked areas and establish Regional Rural Banks in more districts. The programme is to take the number of Regional Rural Banks from the base-year level of 65 to 170 during the Plan period to cover 270 out of 405 districts. Besides, efforts will be made to so coordinate the operations of the cooperative and commercial banks that the latter supplement the former in meeting the needs of areas with large credit gaps, as was originally intended in the multi-agency approach. It has been noticed tha* the commercial banks' credit has also tended to flow largely to the very areas where cooperative credit structure was strong enough, with areas of low credit availability continuing to remain deprived. The district credit plans are expected to bring about such coordination and specifically apportion the relative roles and responsibility in this behalf to the various credit institutions operating in the area. The State-wise targets will be broken down into district and block-wise targets in conformity with the development needs of the area and of the special an^-poverty programmes like the Integrated Rural Development Pro-eramme. The poor recovery performance or both the cooperatives and commercial banks particularly in some' States of the country has been due partly to internal organisational inadeauacies and partly to the general environment. The State Governments would be expected to take necessary measures to ensure an appropriate climate for recovery and suitably assist the credit institutions, both cooperatives and Commercial Banks, in the recovery of loans. Any pressures for the general writing off of overdues mus be resolutely resisted.

9.72 With a view to bringing about better coordination in the credit policies impinging on short, medium and long-term financing of agriculture and allied activities, including marketing, processing and storage, as well as rural industries, it is proposed to establish a National Bank for Agricuture and Rural Development (NABARD). The necessary legislative action for establishing the Bank is already under way. The Bank will be the apex re-financing institution in the country for these activities and will combine the developmental and financial roles which were hitherto being performed by the Reserve Bank of India and Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (A.R.D.C.).

9.73 The level of credit support during the Plan period projected for different credit agencies is indicated below:

Table 9.2 Targets of Agricultural Credit by different institutions
(Rs. crores)

Agency Anticipated advances in 1979-80 Level to be reached in the year 1984-85
(1) (2) (3)
Cooperative Short term 1300 2500
Medium term 125 240
Long term 275 555
Comnewa! Banks (including Regional Rural Banks) Short term 450 1500
Term loans 400 620
Total 2550 5415

Bengal, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The scheme is based on area approach and it covers the loss of production due to drought, excessive rain, Hood, freeze, frost, hail, snow, windstorm, cyclone, insect infestations, plant disease and any other unavoidable causes of losses due to adverse weather conditions. The Insurance Policy is issued in favour of the financing institutions and insurance is based on crop loan of Ihe cultivator. The State Governments are co-insurers with General Insurance Corporation of India and share the premium and the indemnity to the extent of 25 per cent. The Government of India subsidises the premium payable by the small and marginal farmers in the special programme areas like IRD, SFDA, etc. upto 25 per cent and the concerned State Governments share another 25 per cent. The experience of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat brings out the benefit that could b; derived under the scheme. Durin" the Sixth Plan period, it is proposed to extend the coverage of the pilot insurance scheme to more states in the country.

STORAGE AND WAREHOUSING

9.73 With the availability of increasing marketable surpluses in agriculture, .Inadequacy of storage has emerged in the last few years as one of the mors serious problems of post-harvest management. The problem has been further compounded by the inability of the railway system to evacuate the procured food stocks from the surplus to the deficit areas at a fast enough pace and the inadequacy of rice milling capacity in Punjab and Haryana entailing prolonged storage tapacity putting thus further strain on the existing storage capacity. The Rural Credit Survey Committee (1954) had recommended a three-tier storage system at (a) the National level, (b) State and district level, and (c) village and rural level. In accordance wi'h its recommendations, the Food Corporation of India and Central Warehousinf Corporation were required to create storage facilities at centres of all India importance, the State Governments and State Warehousing Corporations it Centres bf State/district level importance and the rural storage meeds were to be looked after bv the cooperatives. Owned .and covered storage capacity with various public agencies increased from 118.72 lakh tonnes on the eve of the Fifth Plan to 185.78 lakh tonnes on 31st March, 1980 as under:

CROP INSURANCE

9.74 Farming in India is prone to various adverse climatic conditions, leading to several risks and economic losses to the farmers. Both rain-fed and irrigated farms are subject to the vagaries of nature resulting in damage to crops and thereby causing losses to the farmers, affecting their economic status. The vulnerability of the farmers and the hazards and risk arising from factors beyond their control underscore the need for devising an arrangement to protect the farmers from such crop losses. It is 'in this context that the need for having a crop insurance scheme is being urged in different forums from time to time. From 1979 onwards, a pilot Crop Insurance Scheme is being implemented in the States of West

Table 9.3 Storage Capacity
lakh tonnes

Agencies 31-3-1974 31-3-1980
(1) (2) (3)
Food Corporation of India 51-47 75-87
Central Warehousing Corporation 11-65 19-65
State Warehousing Corporations 5-60 24-10
State Governments 18-00 19-16
Cooperatives 32-00 47-00
Total 118-72 185-78

9.75 A Scientific storage capacity of another 48 lakh tonnes has been created in the private sector under a scheme of the ARDC on guaranteed utilisation by FCI for a stipulated period. Even so, the shortage of storage capacity has been such that the FCI has still to maintain its make shift CAP (cover and plinth) storage of upto 70 lakh tonnes. The storage programme of the cooperatives is mainly related to tneir own commercial needs at the village societies' and the marketing societies' levels, i.e., for temporary storage of their members' produce for marketing and ior stocking of fertilizers and other farm inputs and consumer articles.

9.76 A national programme of storage will be pio-mulea with a view to developing a well spread out siorage grid right from the farm to the national level. In tins context, it is proposed to have at the base a net work of rural godowns so as to have at least ten to fifteen godowns of appropriate capacity in each block within the course of the next five years. Bulk of these rural godowns will be in the cooperative sector. Each village cooperative will be assisted to have a godown of at least 100 tonnes capacity under a phased programme of coverage. According to the programme 52,000 village cooperatives will be having such godowns by 1984-85. To augment the storage capacity with village cooperatives, a Centrally Sponsored scheme of Rural Godowns has been initiated where under assistance will be given to Market Committees or State Warehousing Corporations or Cooperatives to build godowns of somewhat larger capacity of 200 to 1000 tonnes in rural areas to facilitate storage of produce by farmers and also to meet the needs of decentralised local storage of commodities under public distribution system. The total capacity planned under this scheme is two million tonnes.

9.77 The next two higher tiers of storage organisation are tlie State Warehousing Corporations (SWCs) and the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) besides the Food Corporation of India which as the buffer stock organisation has to have substantial storage capacity of its own. While the owned capacity of the F.C.I, is almost wholly used for stocking of foodgrains procured by it, only about 50—60 per cent of the capacity of the S.W.Cs and the C.W.C. is generally taken by foodgrains and the rest by other agricultural commodities. The storage capacity owned by the marketing cooperatives, which is at the market level, is generally used for their own trading purposes or on behalf of their members and for stocking of fertilizers and other commodities which they deal in. The storage programme envisaged for the S.W.Cs., C.W.C. and the F.C.I, during the Sixth Plan period is based on a realistic assessment of the storage requirement of procurement operations for a buffer stock of 15 million tonnes, in conjunction with the needs of the public distribution system and demands on storage of other agricultural commodities and inputs. A larger programme of construction, though justified, is not permitted by the constraint of resources. Consequently recourse will continue to be taken to hired and CAP storage during the Plan period.

9.78 To promote scientific storage at the farm level among the small and marginal farmers, subsidy will be given to them under the Integrated Rural Development programme for storage bins. In some States, special promotional stall has also been appointed to demonstrate to the farmers proper storage and handling practices, besides the 17 'Save Grain Campaign' teams which are fimcdoning in close collaboration with Slate Governments.

9.79 An outlay of Rs. 259 crores has been provided m die Sixth Plan for creating additional 76.60 lakh tonnes of storage capacity by C.W.C., S.W.Cs and F.C.I, and tor the strengthening of Indian Grain Storage Institute, Hapur and Farm level Ssorage. Another 55 lakh tonnes of storage capacity would be created during the Plan period by the Cooperatives and under the Rural Godowns scheme, the financial provision for which has been reflected in the outlays ioi Cooperation and Rural Development. Besides, another million tonne capacity is expected to be added in the private sector under the A.RDC assisted scheme. Agency-wise targets of construction of additional storage capacity are as under:

Table 9.4 Additional Storage Capacity
(lakh tonnes)

Agency Capacity
(1) (2)
Food Corporation of India 35-60 (excluding spill-over works of 10 lakh tonnes to rext Plan)
Central Warehousing Corporation 16-00
State Warehousing Corporations 25-00
Cooperatives 35-00
Rural Godowns Scheme 20-00
Total 131-60

AGRICULTURAL PROCESSING AND MARKETING

9.80 The motivation to produce more finally comes from the prices that the farmer is able to get for his produce. Production gluts leading to depression in prices received by the farmer have in the past frequently led to set-back in production in succeeding years. This has been more so in the case of perishable commodities like onions, potatoes, sugarcane, etc, where, for want of adequate preservation and processing facilities, the farmer has been wholly exposed to exploitative trading forces, without the consumer benefiting in any way. A marketing system which protects the interests of both producers and consumers is, therefore, the backbone of agricultural development. It must have tfuee essential elements:

(i) a suitable structure of support prices for various agricultural commodities adjusted from tune to time m the hghi: of cost of production so as to ensure fair reiurn to the farmers; (ii) adequate arrangements for procurement of agricultural produce on support prices if the prices fall below that level; and (iii) a well spread-out and regulated infrastructure of marketing which will ensure fair price to the producer in open market conditions and help eliminate non-functional marketing margins of inter-mediaries.

9.81 Reference has already been made in the Chapter on Economic Policies in regard to the commitment of the Plan to the fixation of remunerative support prices for various commodities. Over the years, the number of commodities covered under support prices has been considerably enlarged. It is proposed during the Sixth Plan to keep reviewing from time to time the need for inclusion of more commodities, both perishable and non-perishable, in the support price structure. In recommending the support prices, the Agriculture Prices Commission will take into account the cost of production so that the prices recommended are such as are remunerative to the farmer.

9.82 The principal public agencies involved in support price operations (procurement) on behalf of the Government are the Food Corporation of India, Cotton Corporation of India, Jute Corporation of India and the Cooperatives with NAFED as their apex organisation. Besides, some State Governments have also been procuring agricultural produce, particularly food-grains, on support prices, cither departmentally or through their own Civil Supplies Corporations. Necessary financial support will be given to these agencies during the Plan period so that they arc well equipped to undertake these operations as and when called upon 10 do so. The Storage facilities, both with the FCl as well ,as the Central and State Government Corporations, will be considerably augmented during the Plan period, the details of which have befcn given elsewhere in the Chapter, to enable them to effectively handle procurement and distribution operations.

9.83 National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) has been playing a useful role in stabilising market prices of perishable commodities like onions and potatoes in principal producing areas by strategic market interventions at times on its own and sometimes as an agency of the Goveinment. Their role in the procurement of soybean has also been noteworthy. It is proposed during the Plan period to put the procurement role of NAFED in such commodities on a stable footing and for that purpose to strengthen its capital base so that it is ab!e to undertake these operations on the necessary scale.

9.84 An adequate amount of cold storage and processin" facilities is critical for perishable commodities. It has been considered desirable that these facilities may be increasingly provided in the cooperative sector so that these are owned by the tarmeia themselves and operated to their benefit. Considerable expansion is, therefore, envisaged in the cooperative cold storage and processing capacities. Jn the North-Eastern Region, where the cooperative structure is weak, the marketing and processing of fruits anc ^egl-iaaies is proposed to be done through a corporation 'o be established in the Public Sector. In Jammu and Kashmir, a corporation for the marketing of fruits has recently been established which will be givea ihe required financial backing during the Plan period to expand its activities.

9.85 There are at present 4452 regulated markets ia the country, comprising 1906 principal markets and 2546 sub-market yards. In addition, there are about 22,000 'hats' or 'shandies', which for a great majority of farmers in India, particularly the small producers constitute the focal points 'for disposal of [arm produce as well as sale and purchase centres for non-agricuitural products. A number of steps have been taken over tlie last thirty 3'ears, aimed at regulating the marketing practices, standardising weights and measures, developing suitable infrastructure facilities in assembling markets, introducing quality standards through "Agmark" certification, etc. Though the legal framework has been provided through Agricultural Produce Markets Act in most States, the progress in the development of markets and in the en-torceme:it of the Act lias, however, been very uneven. For want of proper enforcement of the Act, the actual trading practices and the various deductions and charges that a producer-seller has to pay still continue to remain unchanged in a large number of markets in many States. This is particularly so where the department or wing for agricultural marketing and/or the State Agricuiutral Marketing Board is not equipped with the necessary machinery for acquisition of land, and planning and supervising the development of markets, and for enforcing the market regulations. The main thrust, therefore, of the Sixth Plan will be on (a) further expansion of the regulated markets system in terms both of more markets and commodities to be brought within the scope of regulations; (b) strengthening and streamlining the arrangements for encforcement/and inspections, to ensure a regulated system of open auctions, trading practices and margins of inter-mediaries (commission agents); and (c) development of rural markets and shandies and estab'ishment of rural markets in areas where such facility is not available within a reasonable distance.

9.86 In expanding the regulated markets system, particular emphasis will be given to bringing within the fold of regulation as many of the primary markets as feasible, so as to confer the benefit of regulation on them. Development and establishment of new rural markets on a sufficiently wide-spread basis is of particular relevance to the small producer who for want of a viabie marketable surplus is unable to go to the market town and is, therefore, obliged to sell his produce at lower rates to the local traders. Assistance will be provided under a Central Sector Scheme for the development of terminal markets, markets in command areas of irrigation projects and rural markets. Recourse will also be taken to an increased extent to institutional finance from A.R.D.C. and commercial banks for the development of infra-structural facilities in the markets.

EXPORT MARKETING

9.87 One of the important objectives of the Sixth Plan is to increase production of export-oriented agricultural and agro-based commodities so as to double our income through foreign exchange earnings. This we have to do, out of necessity, to earn the much needed foreign exchange to meet the import bills. Our entire capacity of monitoring international trends in agricultural trade will have to be greatly improved. Ad-hoc arrangements in the export and import of agricultural commodities should give way to well-planned and nationally relevant thrusts. We must plan and produce agricultural commodities for export rather than exporting what is available in excess in the country. Care must be taken not to export goods and commodities such as raw forest products, animal feeds, etc. which are best utilised for promoting village level enterprise and value added products. The table below indicates export targets visualised for the selected agricultural commodities for the Sixth Plan.

Table 9.5 Export projections of selected agricultural Commodities for the Sixth Five Year Plan

Sl.No. Commodity Unit Export projections 1984-85
(0) (1) (2) (3)
1 Rice Lakh tonnes 30
2 Sugar 000'tonnes 600 to 1000
3 Cotton Lakh bales of 170 Kgs. each 3
4 Oil seeds (HPS groundnut etc.) 000' tonnes 160
5 Castor Oil 000' tonnes 90
6 Tobacco Million Kgs. 105
7 Spices 000' tonnes 185
8 Cashew 000' tonnes 45
9 Tea Million Kgs. 260
10 Coffee 000' tonnes 94-1
11 Cardamom Tonnes 4100
12 Marine products 000' tonnes 150 to 160

•Possibility of exporting larger quantities will be kept under re/iew depending on domestic output and consumption.

9.88 To achieve these export targets, we have to back our efforts with a well thought of strategy and also to generate investment. In the international market, there is intensive competition both in terms of quality and prices. There are various other inhibiting factors like tariff and non-tariff barriers in the importing countries. Effort requirement to generate substantial additional exports will thus have to be much greater than what is needed for increasing production. Another important fact to be noted is that the exports of agricultural commodities have not received the same degree of promotional effort as the industrial products. This is in spite of the fact that most of the commodities exported are produced by small farmers, who, in fact, need much greater support than well organised industries and business houses. It is also worth noting that small amount has been spent during the last two-three decades on research and development of the agricultural commodities which have export potential as compared to the large sums spent in industrial sectors. Finally, in the export marketing effort also, agricultural commodities have been left far behind. The fact that export of agricultural commodities has continued and even shown some increase does not mean that without adequate effort and investment the same trend will continue in future. A number of countries have now emerged exporters of agricultural commodities and some of them are making rapid progress. The modern technology on post harvest handling, pro-cessing and packaging has been adopted in a number of developing countries, the area in which we are far behind. Cost of packaging in India is so high that most of our products are out of reach of the domestic consumers and cannot compete in the international market. A large potential for the development of agro-based industries has remained unexploited.

9.89 Some of the traditional items like tea and coffee have made good progress and further promotional efforts would yield rich dividends. It has become necessary to identify new areas where the growth rate can be much higher. In this regard items like rice, cotton, vegetables, fish and fish products, eggs, meat, processed foods and minor spices can be mentioned. In some of these areas we are yet to make a mark as potential exporters. It should be our endeavour to give an export orientation to agriculture after ensuring that the basic needs of our population for various food items are fully met. Full advantage needs to be taken of growing opportunities for international agricultural trade. For this purpose it will be necessary to strengthen arrangements for transport and shipping in addition to packaging and forwarding. In short, in order to have exportable surpluses, we seed to adopt aggressive policies to induce suitable investments in production, storage, transport and other marketing infrastructure. Stability of supply, quality of produce and price competitiveness will determine our success in becoming an important country in international agricultural trade.

AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS

9.90 For meaningful formulation of the Agricultural Plan the role of agricultural statistics cannot be overemphasised. Out of the total reported area of 304 million hectares, estimates for 4 per cent of the area are based on complete enumeration, 9.3 per cent on sample surveys and the remaining 5.3 per cent on conventional methods. In regard to foodgrains, 94.5 per cent of the production ot cereals and 73 per cent of the production of pulses are based on crop estimation surveys. As for commercial crops, these percentages are y9 for jute, 94 each for sugarcane and greundnut and 75 for cotton. The areas of fruits and vegetables, irrigation, livestock, milk, fish and forestry products leave much to be desired in the collection of reliable statistics. Even in the case of foodgrains and commercial crops there is great scope for improvement, especially in respect of sample surveys and use of crop cutting experiments.

9.91 Under the Sixth Plan efforts will be directed towards (a) collection of land utilisation statistics for non-reporting areas in the North-Eastern Region; (b) coverage of Soybean and sunflower as also major pulses in the field of forecast crops; (c) availability of more reliable statistics on important fruits and vegetables; (d) collection of statistics on production of major livestock products on the basis of sampling techniques already developed; (e) streamlining the arrangements lor collecting statistics on inland fish production on the basis of methodology recommended to the States; (f) evolving a unified system of conducting sample surveys for collection of statistics on marine fish production by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Cochin and the concerned States; and (g) setting up of statistical units equipped with qualified/ trained staff lor collection of forestry statistics in different States and ensuring proper co-ordination among various field agencies entrusted with tills responsibility. The Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute and National Sample Survey Organisation would examine these recommendations for early implementation under the Sixth Plan. Necessary financial and technical support could be provided, if considered necessary.

9.92 Further, the on-going centrally sponsored schemes of (i) timely reporting of estimates of area and production of principal crops; (ii) improvement of crop statistics; (iii) establishment of an agency for collection of agricultural statistics on complete enumeration basis in the States of Kerala, Orissa and West Bengal; and (iv) the Central schemes for improvement of irrigation statistics, agro-economic research and farm management studies would be implemented with greater vigour and proper supervisory support. The Agricultural Census operations, another important continuing central scheme, would need whole time guidance and supervision.

PUBLIC POLICIES

9.93 The activities of the Government in the field of agricultural research in the promotion of appropriate technology and in the provision of inputs and services are essentially in the nature of assistance provided to an individual farmer or to fairly specific categories of farmers. There are, however, certain other elements in the agricultural policy package which are more wide ranging in their motivation and in their impact. One such element is the policy on land reiorms which is based not merely on the requirements of production but on larger considerations of distributive justice. Another element is the policy on agricultural prices which affects land use, production and income distribution in a profound way. A third element is the approach of the Government on mitigating and coping with disasters like droughts and floods In what follows the approach of the Sixth Plan with regard to these general elements in the policy package is described.

LAND REFORMS

9.94 Land is the primary resource on which agriculture is based. The pattern of ownership of this asset has to be just and rational if we are to secure growth with social justice. The objectives of the land reforms policy over the successive Plans have been to remove such impediments to agricultural development as arise from the agrarian structure inherited from the past aad to eliminate exploitation and social injustice within the agrarian system so as to ensure equality of tenurial status and opportunity to all. The main elements of the land reforms policy have been five-fold, r/z., (i) abolition of intermediary tenures; (ii) tenancy reforms comprising regulation of rent, security of tenures and conferment of ownership rights on tenants; (iii) ceiling on land holdings and distribution of surplus land; (iv) consolidation of holdings; and (v) compilation and updating of land records. Intermediary tenures have by and large been abolished all over the country through the abolition of zamindari, jagirdari, inams etc., as a result of which, about 20 million cultivators are estimated to have come into direct contact with the State. Legislative measures have been taken for providing to the tenants security of tenure and for regulating rates of rent payable by them. The maximum rates of rent have been fixed at levels not exceeding 1/4th to lj5th of the gross produce in all the States except in Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area), Har-yana and Punjab. However, in regard to the conferment of ownership rights on cultivating tenants, the existing legislation in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Punjab still falls short of the accepted national policy. In West Bengal, while all under-raiyats have been brought directly ia relationship with the State, this does not include Bar-gadars (share-croppers) though they have been protected against eviction at will.

9.95 Laws on ceiling of agricultural land based on the national guidelines on land ceilings have been enacted and are being implemented in practically all the States of the country where land ceiling is relevant, i.e., except Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram where land is generally held by the community. However, the progress of taking over and distribution of ceiling surplus land has been tardy. Out of about 15.74 lakh hectares declared surplus in different States, as in March, 1980 only about 9.56 lakh hectares have been taken possession of by the States and about 6.79 lakh hectares distributed. Distribution of ceiling surplus land has benefited nearly 11.54 lakh landless persons, of whom 6.13 lakh beneficiaries belong to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. However, not much effort seems to have been made to assist the allottees to develop the land, as would be evident from the fact that the centrally sponsored scheme of assistance to assignees of ceiling-surplus land has not been fully made use of. The implementation of the ceiling laws has been often hampered by slow disposal of appeals and revision filed by land-owners against the orders of the revenue authorities. The State Governments have been advised to restrict the number of appeals and revisions against orders of the land reform agencies ro a total of two and also to strengthen the appellate machinery dealing with such reform cases at all levels. In most of the States now only one appeal and one revision is allowed. Steps have also been taken for the reduction of the permissible time for the filing of appeal and revision petitions, and in some States the administrative machinery dealing with land reform cases has been strengthened and additional Tribunals constituted. Besides the distribution of ceiling surplus land, 2.1 million acres of Government waste land were distributed during 1975-78 to the landless, majority of whom belong to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections.

9.96 The national policy on land reforms right from its inception has continued to press the need for consolidation of holding. Most of the States in the country have enacted legislation to undertake consolidation of holdings. It is estimated that by now. nearly 45 million hectares of land, i.e., about 1/4th of the consolidable land has been consolidated all over the country. However, the implementation has been extremely patchy and sporadic. Only in Punjab, Har-yana and Western Uttar Pradesh. the work is complete. Even a beginning has not been made in the Southern States and Rajasthan. In the Eastern States, some work has begun only in Orissa and Bihar.

9.97 It has been recognised that updating of land records is essential not only for implementation of land reforms but niso for access to agricultural credit which relies heavily on title to land. The sta^s of land records varies from State to State. While in some States the records are fairlv up-to-date, in some States, specially in the Eastern Region where Zamin-dari System operated earlier, there was little relationship between entries in the records and the realities in the field. A systematic programme of compilation and correction of land records had, therefore, been undertaken all over the country to reflect up-to-date position about ownership and the rights of the tenants, share-croppers and other holders. Though considerable work has been done. much groiwid still remains to be covered io respect of this programme. Constraint of resources and organisational inadequacies have been some of the limiting factors.

9.98 Conferment of ownership rights on home-stead tenants who belong to the poor sections of the rural community has been one of the objectives of the land reform policy. Security of tenure and ownership rights have been conferred on home-stead tenants in all States. There has been a separate Plan scheme under the Minimum Needs Programme for provision of house-sites to the landless in rural areas since 1971, under which 7.7 million house-sites have so far been allotted to landless families in rural areas.

9.99 The land reforms policy, outlined above, which has been under implementation, is a comprehensive one and has been nationally accepted. If the progress of land reforms has been less than satisfactory, it has not been due to flaws in policy but to indifferent implementation. Often, the necessary determination has been lacking to effectively undertake action, particularly in the matter of implementation of ceiling laws, consolidation of holdings and in not vigorously pursuing concealed tenancies and having them vested with tenancy/occupancy rights as enjoined under the law. The main s^ategv of land reforms under the Sixth Five Year Plan, therefore, would be to ensure effective implementation of the already accepted policies.

9.100 The implementation of various elements of this policy, more specifically the following, would be taken up during the Sixth Plan period on a time-bound basis;

  1. States which do not have legislative provisions for conferment of ownership rights on all tenants except for specified exempted categories (serving defence personnel, minors, disables, etc.) shall introduce appropriate legislative measures to do so within a period of one year, i.e., by 1981-82.
  2. The programme of taking possession and distribution of ceiling-surplus lands would be completed within a period of 2 years, i.e., by 1982-83. Priority in allotment of surplus land would be given to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes among the landless.
  3. A systematic programme would be taken up for compilation/updating of land records, to be phased for completion within a period of 5 years, i.e., 1980—85. In States where the backlog is heavy, aerial survey techniques may be employed for expeditious survey operations. Each cultivator would be given a pass book indicating hie status/title to land, description of the land (areas, class, etc.) along with a copy of the khasra map and such other details as are considered necessary. Appropriate - revision wil] be made in ihe revenue laws to confer legal status on this document as proof of title and rights in land.
  4. Programme of consolidation of holdings , would be taken up by all States, phased for completion in 10 years, with priority to be given to command areas of irrigation projects where it should be completed in 3 to 5 years. Legislative measures for preventing fresh fragmentation of holdings after consolidation) below a minimum size would also be considered.
  5. The programme for the provision of house-sites to the landless will be completed.

9.101 Apart from these, certam other measures will be necessary. Necessary action would be taken to bring before the Parliament Land Reforms Acts, not yet included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution, for immediate inclusion in the said schedule and the same would be done in the case of future Acts without delay, so that these laws are protected from challenge in courts. Revenue machinery would be strengthened appropriately in each State to ensure effective implementation of land reform laws, more specifically the ^nancy and ceiling laws. Greater initiative will need to be taken by the State Governments to force the pace of development of Bhoodan lands, particularly such lands as are available in compact blocks.

9.102 In many States, the choice for using available water in the command areas of irrigation system for either or both the crops lies with the farmer. In many command areas of new irrigation projects, i.e., Tawa, Rajasthan Canal, Mahi, Kadania, etc., fear of being hit by the ceiling law has been found to be one of the inhibiting factors for full utilisation of irrigation waters. It apepars necessary to end this situation of 'laissez faire'. The ceiling laws should be automatically brought into force, in accordance with the stipulated water utilisation pattern of a particular irrigation system, so that the use of irrigation resources built at considerable cost is not withheld at the choice of individuals.

9.103 The centrally sponsored scheme of assistance to allottees of ceiling-surplus land, which was till now applicable only to areas other than where special programmes of SFDA, IRD ,etc. were in operation, will be contmued, to cover the whole country in conjunction with assistance available from the IRD programme. The State Governments will be required to work out a specific programme of development of allotted lands so that the funds available under the scheme are meaningfully employed.

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