Answer :

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 problems in the agricultural sector in India –


a) Environmental factors – Several natural causes that has resulted in the decrease of agricultural production in India include


• Dependence on monsoon


• Natural calamities like flood and drought


• Degradation of land fertility


• Lack of irrigation facilities


b) Economical factors – the following are the economic reasons adversely affecting agriculture in India –


• Small and fragmented land holdings reducing productivity of land and decreasing profits for farmers.


• Lack of agricultural credits from established places often force farmers to lend money from money lenders who exploit the situation by charging high rates of interests. Along with a dearth in the capital, exploitative type of land tenure system is also practiced in India.


• The lack of funds affects the availability of proper seeds and equipment required for farming which in turn reduces agricultural output.


• Owing to lack of proper irrigation facilities, Indian agriculture is solely dependent on the vagaries of monsoon in the country. The timely and adequately distributed rainfall during the monsoon months in the country aid the farmers to continue their agricultural activities. Lack of rainfall can lead to drought, while excessive rainfall can lead to floods, both of the situations being harmful for agricultural activities.


• Degradation of land fertility through excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides also affects agricultural output.


• 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.


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. Along with these problems the illiteracy levels are high among farmers causing difficulty in understanding modern farming techniques.


The government has undertaken various programmes to correct or combat these problems.


a) Proper implementation of land reform programmes to solve the problems created by small landholdings.


b) Provision of agricultural inputs to marginal and landless farmers including subsidies and support prices.


c) Dry farming techniques are being strengthened in the country to reduce dependency on monsoon and irrigation.


d) Increase in literacy levels of farmers to enable them to understand the implementation and importance of new technologies in agriculture.


e) Promotion of alternative employment methods including strengthening of rural cottage industries to reduce the pressure on agriculture as the only source of employment in rural areas.


f) Policies like MSPs, the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme to safeguard the interest of farmers.


g) Promotion of organic farming methods to reduce soil degradation through use of fertilizers.


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