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India is predominantly an agricultural country. Different forms of agriculture are practiced in the country which depends upon a variety of physical, environmental and socio-economic conditions. The major challenges faced by the agricultural sector in India varies according to agro-ecological and historical experiences of its different regions making them region specific. Yet there are certain problems which are common and range from physical constraints to institutional hindrances. The following are the major challenges in the agricultural sector in India –
a) Environmental factors – Indian agriculture is largely dependent on monsoon. Climatic uncertainties like droughts and floods readily result in crop failure and production fluctuations. Soil erosion in various parts of India has caused loss of valuable agricultural land.
b) Economical factors – Dearth of capital is a perennial problem for Indian agriculture. Majority of Indian farmers have uneconomic farm sizes which result in subsistence level of production. The inputs of modern agriculture are also very expensive. This has led to small and marginal farmers avail loans from various institutions and money lenders. With poor loan repayment capacity, they are stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty. Along with a dearth in the capital, exploitative type of land tenure system is also practiced in India. Lack of proper implementation of land reform programmes in many areas has caused inequality in the distribution pattern of land and has resulted in poor productivity and agricultural backwardness. Increasing pressure of population on a fixed amount of agricultural land has also caused fragmentation of holdings and low productivity.
c) Social factors – Wasteful agricultural practices like shifting cultivation destroy the functional capability of agricultural land. Traditional techniques also affect agricultural productivity in India. Also, there is massive underemployment in the agricultural sector. Economically viable work is unavailable in the rural areas beyond the cropping season.
The government has undertaken various programmes to correct or combat these problems and if implemented properly will help in addressing the above issues.
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Group discussionNCERT - Contemporary India-II