As you know, we run extensive and exhaustive program for ESSAY every year, it is only natural that we provide the review of this year’s paper too.
Section – A
1)Farming has lost the ability to be a source of sustenance for majority of farmers in India.
Review– It sounds like more of a general studies question rather than an essay. Nonetheless, it is probably one of the easiest one to attempt and everybody knows the data and perspective already.
Why farming has never been an economic-enterprise in India :-
68% of India is drought-prone.
All of India is at the mercy of Monsoon and El-Nino.
Agriculturally India is classified as “Paddy Culture” and more scientifically as “Intensive subsistence tillage” – what that implies is that Indian farmers do farming for sustenance and the nature of PADDY CULTURE requires huge amount of labour. Contrary to popular perception, application of heavy machinery in this kind of farming system will essentially reduce the output per acre ( there will be no transplantation etc)
And when 68% may undergo drought in a given year and when 60% people draw their livelihood from it and when if we attain 4% growth in agriculture and call it bumper crop (Inflation rate is more than this, the limits of agricultural growth), essentially tells us that agriculture can not and will not be able to bring people out of vicious circle of poverty. And if we account the level of land degradation, salinization, and fragmentation (due to rise in population number), the issue becomes acute.
In sum, farming was never a profitable enterprise, and now with global warming, climate change it lost its edge as a means of livelihood too.
Moreover, India is a water stressed country too (Covered in may of our articles), so water-intensive agriculture also giving rise to water-wars (Karnataka-Tamilnadu sugarcane farmer issue etc) (Part of our GS test series question too)
It is not that , India does not need agriculture, but India needs less number of people in it ( only 3% American feed the whole population, Norway has only 4% of cultivable land yet it is prosperous and same goes for Singapore and Japan too). We need agriculture for food-security but we don’t have enough alternative employment as well, thus our farmers upon migration to urban land becomes a laborer or takes up any job thrown at him. He is in crisis, and the slogan of Jay Jawan and Jay Kisan seems fading now, given that fact that the farmers of India are loosing everywhere, and out of desperation driven to end their lives at time.(Use data on farmer suicide as well)
Last year, this was a major issue (Latur issues and many other issues) and after analyzing various prospects, and especially after looking at a particular picture, we at UPSCTREE decided to give an essay on the topic last year – The topic was
“ Changing Landscape of rural India”
This picture was the backdrop on which this essay was framed- The article is –Click Here
If we remember correctly, thehindu and other newspapers ran many editorial on this topic and you must show the rural to urban migration and the above data to prove the point that Farming is indeed, in a general sense, lost its edge as a means of livelihood. Many other issues such as rural indebtedness, feminization of agriculture etc also forms core of the essay and must be discussed as well. The core of the suggestions are – removing disguised employment/ de-peopling agriculture, climate-smart agriculture, organic farming, land-reforms and consolidation (more than 80% in India are small and marginal farmers), crop-diversification etc- You can also use Swaminathan Report on agriculture to suggest a way forward (although the report suggest the same thing which you already know)
Of course, the analysis is not exhaustive but a glimpse only. Hope this helps.