India is an agricultural country. About seventy percent of our population depends on agriculture. One-third of our National income comes from agriculture. Our economy is based on agriculture. The development of agriculture has much to do with the economic welfare of our country.
Our agriculture remained under developed for a long time. We did not produce enough food for our people. Our country had to buy food-grains from other countries, but the things are changing now. India is producing more food-grains than its needs. Some food-grains are being sent to other countries. Great improvements have been made in. agriculture through our five year plans. Green Revolution has been brought about in the agricultural field. Now our country is self-sufficient in food-grains. It is now in a position to export surplus food-grains and some other agricultural products to other countries.
Now India ranks first in the world in the production of tea and groundnuts. It ranks second in the world in the production of rice, sugarcane, jute and oil seeds. Till recent past before independence our agriculture depended on rains. As a result our agriculture produce was very small. In case the monsoons were good, we got a good harvest and in case the monsoons were not good, the crops failed and there was famine in some parts of the country. After the independence our Government made plans for the development of its agriculture.
Dams were constructed across many of the main rivers and canals were dug out to provide water for the irrigation of the land. Tube-wells and pump-sets were provided to the farmers to irrigate the fields, where canal water could not reach. The use of better seeds, fertilizers and new techniques in agriculture, has brought about a revolution called the Green Revolution in agriculture. Our agriculture produce has increased manifolds, but the progress is still hot sufficient. Our population is growing at a fast rate. Every year we have" millions of new mouths to be feeded. We must check this fast growing population.
In the past irrigation facilities were not sufficient. Farmers depended mainly on rain water for irrigation. Canals and tube-wells were very few. Under the five year plans our Government has built dams on many of the rivers. Bhakra-Nangal Project, Damodar Valley Project, Hirakud Dam, Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Krishna Sagar Dam and Mettur Dam are some of these dams. Water is stored in big lakes and reservoirs for generating electricity for our industries and agriculture. Water of the dams is being taken by canals to distant lands for irrigation. Tube-wells and pumping sets have been supplied to the farmers. Now more land is irrigated and better crops are produced.
Our land was loosing its fertility being put to cultivation continuously for years together. Cattle dung which is the best form of manure, was being used as fuel. The use of manures and fertilizers helps to restore the fertility of the soil. Our Government has set up fertilizer plants at Nangal, Sindri, Trombay, Gorakhpur, Kamrup and Neyveli. Many new fertilizer factories are being built. Some chemical fertilizers are being imported from other countries. The Government is supplying sufficient fertilizers to the farmers. The use of these "chemical fertilizers has increased our agriculture produce manifolds.
Our farmers were using the primitive methods of agriculture. -For years they have been sowing the seeds produced by themselves. These seeds were not quality seeds and the yield was low. Now high yielding varities from Government farms are being supplied to the farmers. These improved and better seeds have considerably raised our farm produce.
The area of the land under cultivation has been decreasing year after year. More and more land is required for building houses, factories, roads and other buildings. Therefore the area of the land under cultivation is decreasing. To meet this shortage more and more barren, waste and kullar land should be reclaimed and brought under plough. Our Government is reclaiming more waste land and it is-being brought under cultivation, by using proper chemicals and irrigation facilities.
Insects and diseases cause great harm to the crops. The crops must be protected against pests and insects to get proper yield. The Government is supplying pesticides and insecticides to the farmers at subsidized rates. The use of pesticides and insecticides has increased the quantity and quality of agriculture produce.
The soil has been loosing its fertility by the sowing of the same crops year after year. The rotation of crops is a good method to get better yield from the land. By changing the crop pattern the land remains fertile and produces better crops. The farmers have been taken up crop rotation.
Our farmers have been using old methods and old implements for farming. Our farmers have been using wooden plough for centuries. It could not plough the land quite deep. Now iron ploughs are being used. These ploughs can till the land deeper and prepare the field for sowing in lesser time. Banks and cooperative societies have given loans to farmers at low rate of interest. The farmers have bought new implements, fertilizers, improved seeds and farm machinery with these loans. A large number of farmers now use tractors for ploughing, sowing and reaping the crops. They have bought new implements for farming. The farming has become more easy and convenient. This has given a forward push to the agriculture production in our country.
Now the Government is trying to educate the farmers. Agriculture colleges and universities have been set up. They give all type of knowledge regarding agricultural science to the young farm students. These colleges and universities organize orientation courses for the farmers. These courses train the people in modern techniques and methods of farming. The Doordarshan and Aakashvani are also educating the farmers regarding the new techniques in farming. They have started special programmers like Krishl Darshan and Kheti Ki Baten exclusively for the farmers.
The Government is trying to help the farmers in many ways. It has set up agencies like the Food Corporation of •India to purchase the farm produce directly from the farmers at Government rates so that the farmers may not be fleeced by the middlemen.
Thus we see that every effort is being made to develop our agriculture and boost the agriculture production. We should not rest here. We should continue our efforts to develop our agriculture still further.