4th Five Year Plan
[ Home ]
<< Back to Index
Next >

1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || 10 || 11 || 12 || 13 || 14 || 15 || 16 || 17 || 18 || 19 || 20 || 21 || 22 || 23

Chapter 7:

The eight years between the commencement of the Third Plan and the Fourth have been years of great significance for Indian agriculture. This is particuly true of the 'after half of the period. It has been marked by near disaster and mrch achievement more importantly, it has heid out great promise for the future The farmer responded favourably to a combination of good prices, high-yielding seeds and adequate fertilisers. He took t:' improved farm practicss as readily as to non -traditional farm input Grornd water was put to intensive use Institutional credit was sought to be expanded. In viewof the urgency of the need, it was decided to direct state effort in the first instance to those ;ireas which were best endowed for food production. This was the basis of what has come to be known as the new strategy of agricultural development.

Evolution of Agricultural Strategy

7.2. The first stage of the new strategy pertained to the Intensive Agricultural District Programme. It was smarted in 1960-61 in three districts and was subsequently extended by stages to another thirteen. While the performance varied, it clearly demonstrated bosh the value of the "package" approach and 'he advantage cf concentrating effort in specific aress. In 1964-65 and subsequent years, a modified version of the same approach was extended to several other parts of the country in the form of the Intensive Agricultural Area Programme. The main concern, of the Programme was with specific crops and the extension staff employed was on 2 reduced scale.

7.3. While both the Intensive Agricultural District and Intensive Agricultural Area Programmes were concerned v/ith the promotion of intensive agriculture, they operated within the limitations set by existing crop varieties which had relatively low response to ferdliers. A major change occurred with the in'rodi'ction of the high-yielding varieties. Hybridisation techniques for maize and millets had been initiated as early as 1960- Hybrid seeds began to be wideiy adopted by 1963. In whe, a beginning of great importance was made m 1963-64 by trying out the Maxican dwarf varieties on a selected basis. Paddy seeds of exotic varieties such as Tr-ichung Native-1 were introduced in 1965. The propagation of various high-yielding varieties over fairly large areas was taken up as a full fledged programme from Kharif 1966 onwards. By 1967-68, 6.04 million hcctaies were brought within the purview of this programme. On the eve of th" Fourth Plan, the coverage estimated was 9.2 million hectares.

7.4. The highyielding varieties programme has so far been taken up for five crops, namely, wheat, paddy, bajra, maize and jowar. Among these crops, the 'nest striking success has been achieved in v.hcat. in sone of the dwarf varieties, a yield of 5 to jionses per hectare has bee;1 recorded in farmers' fields as against a normal yield of about 2 tonnes in irrigated areas. Similar, though not as specta-rishr. increases have been achieved for jowar, bajra ;;nd maize. Paddy has proved more difficult. ADT- a variety propagated in Tanjore district has given a, average yield of four to five tonnes of paddy hectare. On the other hand, certain exotic varieties of paddy when initially introduced, ran in;o trouble on account of their susceptibility to perios and bacterial diseases. There was also a certain amount of consumer resistance. To overcome these dimcuities, research in rice breeding was intensified. India Coordinated Project of Rice Research has recently evolved and released a few varieties cf considerable premise.

7.5. The rsew strategy is concerned not only with hiyher yieid but with greater intensity of cropping. Entirely new crop rotations have been made possible by [he development cf short duration varieties of p':.ddy, maize, jowar and bajra suited to different agro-climatic conditions. Among other crops included in the rotations are barley, ragi, oilseeds, potato aild vegetables. The few multi-cropping programme was taken up in 1967-68. It is provisionally estimated that, by the end of 1968-69, about 6 million Iicc[ares was covered by this programme.

7.6. In recent years, new emphasis has come to be attached to the role of agricultural technology as a major input of agricultural production. A number of steps have been taken to facilitate organisation and development of agricultural research. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research was reorganised in 1965. To it were transferred the research institutes which had been previously administered by the Union Department of Agriculture either directly or through the various Commodity Committees. An important step was the establishment of agricultural universities which are conceived as combining the functions cf education, research ard extension education. Nine agricultural universities have so far been set up. Another development of importance is the organisation of all-India coordinated research projects. Thirty-eight such projects have 'o far been taken up by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. They constitute a significant advance towa'ds the planning of agricultural research on a national basis.

7.7. In view of the importance assumed by inputs and services such as improved Seeds, chemical fertilisers, plant protection, implements ard machinery, irrigation facilities and agricultural credit, several new public institutions were promoted and provided with funds to lend support to agricultural prodrction programmes. Among these institutions vikas the National Seeds Corporation which was set up in 1963 with responsibilities in ihe field of seed production, particularly the foundation stock of Mph-yie'ding varieties. Starting with 1965.. fifteen poTo-ind'.'s'r^es corporations have been established h different States. They are ioinf ventures of the Central and SWe Governments charged with the prirnirv obiect of supplying and servicing agricultural machinery. For promoting programmes for production, marketing, processing and storage of agricultural produce through cooperative societies, another public agency, the Nation Co-operative Development Corporation, was set vy on a statutory basis in 1963. In the same year the Agricultural Refinance Corporation was established to nr-'-vide refinancing facilities to land develop-nent banks and commercial banks for financing schemes of agricultural development.

7.8. As a result of various measures taken, there was significant increase in the use of agricultural inputs and the volume of cooperative credit as will be seen from the table below :

Table.1 Progress in the Use of Agricultural Inputs

sl.no. tem unit 1960-61. 1968-69
(0) (1) (2) (3) 4)
chemical fertilisers
1 nitrogenous (N) '000 tunnes 210 1145
2 phospbatic (P.0) '000 lonn.es 70 391
3 potass'c (KsOt '000 tonnes 26 1.60
4 plant protection '000 hectares 6500 40000
implements and machinery
5 tractors nos HOOl 91 roo
6 power tillers nos 20000
7 pump setselectric '000 "os 191 ''.8'
8 pup sets—diesd '000 "os 230 650
lounas dvanced throitfli copppralive
9 shor and medium term Rs. crores '203 400
10 long term. Rs. crores 12 17.0

7.9. The importance .of guaranteed minin price' an incentive to agricultural producwis given pointed recognition in the new strategy. A policy of support prices for foodgrains came to "capted thoughout the country in 1964. In the s"bsequenl: year, the Agricultural Prices Commission was set up to advise Government from time to time on appropriate price policies for agricultural ron-imodities. In the same year was also established the Food Corpor?tion of India which, for the first , sought to provide in all-India machinery for pa.nchas? of foodgrains. The purchase could fake place in different, contexts, including procurement of shortage and price support in times of the drought yearrs of 1965-66 and 1966-67. ihe policy of prices sported remaired mostly inc-nerativp on account of the prevailing high prices.1967-68, following a bumper wheit crop, pur-chf-e operations were undertaken on a large scale in Puniab Harvana under the auspices of the rporation and the Punjab Cooperative Marke Federation. These purchases were generally on the basis of procurement prices which were appreciably above the minimum support prices. Hoy/ever, in some markets in IJttar Prades in the absence of adequate machinery for purchase, the fm'e.rs failed to get procurement prices for their produce Jute was another commodity for which prices were fixed, bi't these failed to be eHective on recount of inadeouate purchase organistion in the field. Statutory price controls on cotton were lifted dunne 1967-68 and minimum support prices were fixed at a level higher than previous floor prices. Durine 1968-69 this policy was continued.

Review of Agricultural Production

7.10. Agricultural production has followed an erratic trend. After relative stagnation in the first three years of the Third Plan, there was a marked increase in 1964-65 when the output of practically crops reached new record levels. The aggregate index of production in this year was 159.4 (1949-50= 100) about 12 per cent higher than in 1960-61. The subsequent two years witnessed a precipitous fall of production on account of unprecedented drought, in 1965-66. food grains production fell by 20 per cent- The index of aggregate output was lower by about a sixth. In 1966-67. while there was a marginal recovery in output of foodgrains and some commercial crops, the overall index was still somewhat below the level achieved in 1965-66. Thereafter, there was a marked and welcome spurt in sOTicultural production. The foodgrain output in 1967-68 reached 95.1 million tonnes. The production of other important crops also recovered frona the abnormally low level of 1965-66 but, in many cases, they did not reach the levels achieved in 1964-65. Altogether, the index of production in 1967-68 was estimated to be 161.0 i.e. about 1 per cew higher than in 1964-65. During 1968-69, foodgrains production registered a slight decline of per cent over the previous year on account of somewhat adverse weaiher conditions. The production cf oth.r important crops, except sugarc:ine and potato, was also iower. The aggregate index for 1968-69 came down to 158.7.

7.11. The following table indicates the rates of growth for various crops for 1949-50 to 1968-69.

Table 2 : All India Compouds Rates of growth of Agricultural production
Area under Crops and Agricultural Productivity during 1949-50 to 1968-69.
(per cent per annuam)

Sl.No. crop production area productivity
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4)
1 rice 3.02 1 22 1.78
2 jowar 2 30 0.86 1,42
3 bajra 2.36 1.14 1.21
4 maize 3.88 2.79 1,05
5 ragi 1.88 0,36 1.51
6 wheat 4 20 2.26 1.90
7 barley ( -)0.12 (-)0.74 0 62
8 releals 3.00 1 17 182
9 gram 1.77 0.77 0.99
10 pulses 1.16 1 26 (-)9.10
11 fondgrains 2.79 1 19 1 6.5
12 groundnut 3,51 3.45 0.06
13 sesainum . (-)0.34 0.60 (-)0.93
14 rapesecd and mustard 3.34 2.36 0.95
15 oil.seeds 2 86 2.31 0 53
16 cotton 3.93 1.91 1.98
17 jute 2.29 2.03 0.27
18 fibres 3.49 1.94 1 52
19 tea 1.97 0.69 1.27
20 coffee 5.96 2.32 3.56
21 sugarcane 3.97 2.74 1.20
22 tobacco 2.55 1.37 1.17
23 non-foodgrains 3.18 2 19 0.97
24 all-crops 2.92 1.37 1.53

7.12. Among foodgrains, there were significant variations in the performance of individual crop3. The output of rice, wheat and maize have grown appreciably faster than of millets. On the other ba;id. the output of pulses, which are of particular iinpcnance from the nutritional view point, has increased only about less than half as fast as that of cereals. What is more disturbing is the decline iis the average output per hectare of pulses.

7.13. The output of commercial crops, as distinguished from rate of yiejd, has generally grown faster the in that of foodgrains. The trend growth rate of production in cotton was 3.93 per cent a year. sugarcane 3.97 per cent and groundnut 3.51 per Lent, and rape and mustard 3.34 per cent. Oi'sesds other than groundnut, rape and mustard ps ai'o iute and tobacco grew at a relatively slow r;ne The faster expansion of commercial crops production was derived largely from inc ease in areas. With the exception of cotton, the output per hectare of those crops has grown much slower than of cereals.

7.14. Subject to the obvious limitations which appiy to any short-term analysis of production trends, the following table indicates compound growth rates for production, area and productivity of al! crops during the various Plan psriods :

Table 3 : Compound Rates of Increase and Production, Area and Productivity dfferent Plan Periods for all Crops
(per cent per annum)

Sl. No. plan period production area productivity
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4)
1 first plan (1951-52 to 1955-56) 4.1 2.6 1.4
2 second plan (1956-57 to 1960-61) 3.1 1.3 1.8
3 third plan (1961-62 to 1964-65) 3.3 0.6 2.7

Note : The above estimates are calculated for the First Plan for the triennium ending 1951-52 to triennium ending 1956-57 and the Second Plan for triennium ending 1956-57 to triennium ending 1961-62 and for the Third Plan triennium during 1961-62 to 1964-65 (actuals).

Aggregate agricultural production rose at an average" of 2.92 per cent per annum, foodgrains at 2.79 per cent and non-foodgrains crops at 3.18 per cent. Somewhat over half of the trend increase in total crop production was derived from higher yields per hectare. The remainder represents the contribution of area growth, estimated at about 1.37 per cent per annum. The rate of yield improvement was much faster for foodgrain crops (1.65 per cent per annum) than for non-foodgrain crops (0.97 per cent per annum). Judging by the relative movement of area and production in the last few years, there would appear to be a marked deceleration in area growth There are indications that the rate of yield improvement in foodgrains has accelerated significantly. For the commercial crops, there does not yet seem to be a comparable improvement. This would show that, even before the introduction of high-yielding varieties, the productivity of agriculture had consistently improved over each Plan period. It is the growth in area which has declined.

7.15. While the variations in growth performance of different crops in the past have been significant, the variations in the growth rates achieved in different regions were even more striking. Statewise compound growth rates up to the end of 1968-69 have not so far been computed. The following table, however, shows State compound growth rates of agricultural production, area and productivity from 1952-53 to 1964-65 :

Table 4 : State-wise Compuond Growth Rates of Agricultural Production, Area under Crops and
Agricultural Productivity (During 1952-53 to 1964-65.
(per cent per annum)

Sl. No. state production area productivity
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4)
1 Punjab 4.56 1.90 2.61
2 Gujarat 4.55 0.45 4.09
3 Tami! Nadu 4.17 1.10 3.04
4 Mysore 3.54 0,81 2 71
5 Bihar 2.97 0.7! 2,25
6 Maharashtra 2.93 0 44 2.45
7 Rajaslhan 2.74 2.85 0.11
8 Andhra Pradesh 2.71 0.26 2.45
9 Madhya Pradesh 2.49 1.28 1.21
10 Orissa 2.48 0.81 1.66
11 Kerala 2.27 1.30 0.96
12 West Bengal 1 .94 0.59 1.34
13 Uttar Fradesli 1.66 0.72 0.94
14 Assam 1.17 1.25 (—)0.08
15 All-India 3.01 1 21 1.7

Note : Figures for Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland not available. Figures for Punjab relate to erstwhile Punjab.

It would be seen that a number of States in particular Punjab, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, recorded increases in production appreciably higher than the national average. Significantly the rate of yield improvement in several states was also higher in comparison with the all-India average. In some districts in Punjab and Tamil Nadu, production increased by as much as 7 per cent a year and several districts spread all over the country recorded increases in production of about 5 per cent per annum.


7.16. In the agricultural sector, the Fourth Plan has two main objectives. The first objective is to provide the conditions necessary for a sustained increase of about 5 per cent per annum over the next decade. The second objective is to enable as large a section of the rural population as possible. including the small cultivator, the farmer in dry areas and the agricultural labourer, to participate in development and share its benefits. Accordingly. the priority programmes of development in agriculture fall broadly into two categories, namely, those which aim at maximising production and those which aim at remedying imbalances.

7.17. The creation of conditions nece-.sary for a five per cent agricultural growth is basic to the approach of the Fourth Piai. The crucial position of agriculture and the extreme urgency of achieving rapid growth in production have been brought home, more than ever before, by the experience of recent years. The pace of development in the agricultural sector i'e';s a limit to the growth of industry, of exports, and of the economy as a whole and constitutes a major condition for achieving economic and social sfabiliiy and improving the levels of living and nutrition for the mass of people. The success of the Fourth Plan will, therefore, be judged, above al'i. by performance in agriculture.

Targets of Production

7.18. The specific targets of production corresponding to the overall objectives of agricultural growth have to be related to the demand likely to be generated by the projected growth of per capita income and consumption as well as the expected growth of population. An important consideration in detenninirg the targets is the objective of eliminating imports of foodgrains on corcessiwal terms. in the case of long staple cotton which will continue to be imported for some time more, the aim is to ens'^'e that imports of other agricultural commodities should be reduced as soon as possible. At the same time the targets have been determined after the consideration of the technical and economic feasibility of expanding production in the course of the next five years. While a detailed commodity-wise Statement is given at Annexure I, a few selected targets for foodgrains and major commercial crops together with comparative figures of estimated base-level are indicated below :

Table 5 :Selected Targets of Crop Production

sl.no. item unit base level fourth plan target
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4)
1 foodgrains million tonnes 98 129
2 jute mill. bales 6.2 7.4
3 cotton mi!l. bales 6 8
4 oilseeds mill. tonnes 8.5 10.5
5 sugarcane (gur) mill. tonnes 12 15

Strategy of Production

7.19. The rate of increase in production of food-grains and major commercial crops envisaged iu much higher than that accomplished in the past. Hence it is necessary to spell out, in some details, the strategy for realising the production targets. This strategy places very little reliance on bringing additional land under cultivation. The potentially arable area in the country is estimated at about 175 million hectares. of this, nearly 85 per cent is under cultivation. Thus there is a virtual exhaustion of uncommitted land resources. In the Fourth Plan, it is anticipated that the addition of the net sown area will be onjy about one million hectares which is the target of land reclamation. In this confext, the strategy of production is primarily dependent on intensive agriculture and consists of the fol'owi"g main elements :

  1. coordinated research in respect of all important crops;
  2. continued expansion of irrigation faciiiiies ard recrie-ntation of irrigation practices so as to ensure optimum and integrated rse of ground and surface water;
  3. imprvement in the utilisation of existing irrigation pote'KiRl through special programmes;
  4. expansion in the supply of fertilisers, plant protection material, farm machinery and credit;
  5. full exploitation of the possibilities of raising yields provided by the new seed varieties in the case of cereals; /
  6. intensive efforts in selected suitable areas for raising the yield levels of major commercial crops;
  7. measures to increase intensity of cropping;and
  8. improvement in the agricultural marketing system in the interests of the producer along with assurance of minimum prices for major agricultural commodities.

7.20. For achieving the targeted level of cereals production, the high-yielding varieties programme envisaged in the Fourth Plan is as under :

Table 6 :Targets of High- Yielding Varieties Programmes
(million hectares)

sl. no group base level (!968-69) cumulative level (1973-74) additional target
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4)
1 paddy 2.6 10.1 7.5
2 wheat 4.8 7.7 2.9
3 maize 0.4 1.2 0.8
4 jowar 0.7 3.2 2.5
5 bajra 0.7 2.8 2.1
6 total 9.2 25 0 15 8

The other development programmes which will help in achieving the production targets of both fo.id-grains and commercial crops are of the following order :

Table-7 Target of other Selected Development Programmes


additional target (million hectares)
(0) (1) (2)
1 multiple cropping 9.0
2 soi! conservati Oil 5.6
3 land reclamation 1.0
4 major and medium irrigation (utilisation) 3.9
minor irrigation
5 new area 3.2
6 replacement of depreciated area 1.6
7 supplemental irrigation/stabilisation 2.4

The above mentioned dimersions of the various programmes have been arrived at on the basis of a careful assessment of ths scope in each State. The State targets, in turn have been sought to be built up on the basis of potential in various districts and hence represent a feasible set of programmes.

7.21. Success in the achievement of foodgrains target is principally Jinked with the success of high-yielding; varieties and multiple cropping programmes. In support of these, there will be schemes f major and major irrigation, including large-scale energisation of pumpsets through rural electrification and integrated use of ground and surface water;supply 'of inputs for plant nutrition and protection, and 'if machinery for farm operations; reorganisation of credit, short, medium and long; and stren the of the rural infrastructure in ether 'importan1 ways including more village roads, better marketing facilities and adequate storage. There also he agricultural research, extension and education including farmers' education and field demonstration. Substantial allocations have been made s 0 the more strategic financial and other institutions, old and new connected with these programmes. Some of the relevant institutions are: cooperative banks; credit societies, marketing societies and National Cooperative Development Corporation (for credit, marketing, processing and storage); the Agriculture Refinance Corporation, land development banks and Rural Electrification Corporation (for Sand reclamation, soil conservation, minor irrigation and energisation of pumpsets); agricultural credit corporations; agro-industries corporations (in connection with agricultural machinery); Food Corporation and Fertiliser Credit Guarantee Corporation (for food and fertiliser, as also storage); the Central Warehousing Corporation and State Ware ('for storage). Assured of by research and know the credit, inputs, services and other the farme'- can be trusted to achieve in the next few years the level of production envisaged in the Plan.

Financial Outlays

7.22. A statement showing public sector outlays tor agriculture and allied programmes is given as Annexure III. Most of the programmes are within the purview of State Governments. Thus, cut of un aggregate outlay, of Rs. 2728 crores in the public sector, programmes of the order of Rs. 1426 crores are in the State Plan Sector. Moreover a number of programmes in the Central Sector such as agricultural research and agricultural education arc designed to provide the necessary infrastructure for different schemes in the State Plans or to improve the efficiency of the corresponding sectoral programmes in the State sector. Further, the entire provision of Rs. 324 crores to support financial institutions is intended exclusively for programmes to be implemented in the States. In brief, care has been taken to ensure the provisions made for Central and Centrally sponsored schemes in the Agricultural sector go to fill the crucial gaps in the Stale Plans.

7.23. Besides direct Plan outlays, it is contemplated that investment in agriculture will flow from other sources, both institutional and private. On the institutional side, it is expected that the operation of land development banks will be considerably expanded. A similar expansion is envisaged for the Agricultural Refinance Corporation and the agro-industries corporations. In addition, agricultural credit corporations are proposed to be set up in States where cooperative credit agencies are weak. It is also contemplated that a new credit guarantee corporation will come into operation to facilitate flow of finance for distribution of fertilisers and allied inputs. Commercial banks are expected increasingly to cater to the agricultural sector and provide tinance both for investment and production. As a result of the availabiliy of funds from these institutional sources as also a progressive shift towards self-financing by the medium and large farmers, it is expected that in the Fourth Plan, in addition to public sector outlay, private invesment of the order of Rs. 1600 crores will be made in agriculture.

Agricultural Research and Education

7.24. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research, which is the apex organisation for sponsoring, coordinating and directing agricultural research and education in the country, has been re-organised in recent years. Since. 1965, steps have been taken to place all the Central research institutions and those under the Commodity Committees under K.AR. The Council now has 25 research insititutes or research stations and eight soil conservation reseurch and training centres under it. In the Fourth Plan, the Council will be further strengthened and will be placed in possession of adequate funds. A sum of Rs. 85 crores has been provided in the Central sector of the Plan for agricultural research and education. Action is also contemplated to enable 1CAR to raise additional funds under the Agricultural Produce Cess Act.

7.25. Application of science and technology to agriculture being the key-note of the strategy for the Fourth Plan, agricultural research has been accorded an important place in the Plan. A provision of Rs. 55 crores has been made in the Central sector of the Plan for agricultural research. This is exclusive of the provisions made for agricultural research in various State Plans. It is contemplated that the principal agencies involved in the research programme will be the central research institutes, agricultural universities and, to a limited extent, research stations run by agricultural departments in some States. From the point of view of organisation of agricultural research, care will be necessary, to ensure that there is no overlapping of effort or proliferation of institutions. Existing research substations will, as far as possible, be tied up with agricultural universities where these have been established. No new central research institutes will ordinarily be sought to be set up in the jurisdiction of agricultural universities. Similarly, in States which have already set up agricultural universities, it will be necessary to ensure that, apart from leaching, research is also transferred to the university from the State Department of Agriculture.

7.26. An important feature of agricultural research will be the All-India coordinated research projects. These call for a inulddisciplinary approach as well as iniec-institutionul cooperation. Plant breeders, geneticists, agronomists, agricultural chemists and plant protection scientists are required to work in close collaboration so as to ensure that the disciplines have a combind impact. Again, each project envisages research scientists in the central and State institutes and agricultural universities working as a team with a project coordinator, appointed by ICAR, acting as a research leader fostering cooperation and coordination of reesarch carried out by various participating institutions. The system also provides a built in mechanism for continuous assessment of achievements and impediments in the form of an annual workshop, attended by participating scientists.

7.27. The idea of a coordinated research project was tried out as early as 1957 when a coordinated maize breeding scheme was initiated. Since 1965, a systematic effort has been made to formulate other coordinated projects. On the eve of the Fourth Plan, 38 projects had been sanctioned und 32 projects were in operation. These projects will necessarily spill over to the Fourth Plan. In addition, it is contemplated that 44 new All-India co-ordinated research projects will be taken up. A total provision of Rs. 34.70 crorcs has been included in the Fourth Plan by way of spill-over as well as for new projects.

7.28. In a later section of this chapter, an indication will be given of the specitic cropwise problems to which agricultural research will be sought to be directed. The scope of coordinated research projects would be widened so as to cover all important food and commercial crops and to take care of the various problems coming in the wake of the in irod uc-tion of high-yielding varieties. Research on pulses did not get enough emphasis in the past. This will be under taken for the special benefit of the rainfed areas. Emphasis will be laid on research in dry farming. Its details are given in a subsequent section of this chapter. Research will also be directed to the problems of plant protection consequent on the use of the high-yielding varieties. Widespread use of the new varieties will bring with it a new order of demands on account of depletion of various nutrients in the soil. Problems connected with the soil structure, including that of maintenance and the .continued ability to produce high-yields will call for wide-ranging research on the use of plant har-mones as well as the study of soil and crop chemistry. Research will have to be harnessed to problems of post-harvest technology such as threshing, drying, storage and processing.

7.29. A panel on irrigated farming was set up recently to review in the light of long-term scientific and technological considerations, the programmes which are already in operation, and to identify the main areas in which further research or investigation in needed for the formulation of long-term policies in regard to different aspects of farming in irrigated and rainfall areas. The panel has made a number of recommendations. Among the problems dealt with are those pertaining to humid areas such as Kerala, Assam, Tripura and Naga-land. The panel has also suggested work on breeding of varieties which can be harvested before incidence of floods which are a recurring feature in some of the areas of North-East India. Another identified problem area relates to eight million hectares of land which are inundated by sea water, the development of techniques for the use of sea water as well as the assessment of the economics of the use of de-salinated water need to be studied in this context. These and other aspects indicated by the panel have been taken cognizance of and requisite funds provided in the Plan.

7.30. One significant area of research will relate to soil, plant and water relationship. Studies already made reveal a high response to correct timing of water application. There is considerable room for further stud es of plant evaporation/transpiration ratios and the economies of improved water management. Other connected fields of research are problems of reconciling agricultural needs and engineering practices. Among the important developments envisaged are the establishment of a water technology centre at IARI and a Central Soil Salinity Research Institute at Kamal.

7.31. In the sphere of agricultural education, the nine agricultural universities already set up will be strengthened. Some of these universities have started making notable contributions to agricultural education and research. A number of them, however, continue to suffer from inadequate facilities. In the Fourth Plan, efforts will be made to rectify these deficiencies. In addition, six new universities are likely to be established. A sum of Rs. 21.5 crores has been allocated in the Fourth Flan to enable ICAR to assist agricultural universities in regard to specified developmental items. For the balance, it is contemplated that the agricultural universities will be assisted by the concerned States from the State Plans.

7.32. During the Fourth Plan period, while funds have been allocated to agricultural universities as also lor strengthening post-graduate and undergraduate colleges, it will be necessary to ensure that educational planning broadly conforms to the likely demand for trained agricultural manpower. This caution has become essential in view of the fact that, in recent years, there has been a large expansion in the number of agricultural veterinary and agricultural engineering colleges with the result that, in respect of certain categories such as agricultural engineers and veterinaries the supply has outstripped available demand. In order to make optimal use of existing facilities, it is contemplated that ICAR will take requisite measures so as to ensure maximum inter-institutional cooperation and avoidance of additions to underutilised capacity. Steps would have to be taken to improve the; standard of agricultural colleges that have mushroomed in some States. In certain cases, such colleges may be converted info farmers' training institutions. Where it is not feasible to take such remedial measuers, these may have to be closed down.

Farmers' Training and Education

7.33. A special scheme of farmers' training was introduced on a pilot basis in 1966-67 in five districts. The three components of the scheme were (i) functional literacy, (ii) farm broadcasts, and (niğ farmers' training. The intention was to try out arrangements for intensive training and information in selected districts having potential for optimal use. Later on, the scheme was extended so as increase die number of farmers' training centres to 25 in 1967-68 and 50 in 1968-69. A recent evaluation, however, showed that only 27 centres were functioning effectively.

7.34. In the Fourth Plan, farmers' education and training is sought to be given a new orientation consistent with the requirements of a complex and technology-based production programme. The principal element is a programme of national demonstrations which has been included in the Fourth Plan with an outlay of Rs. 2.45 crores; Tills programme envisages organisation of demonstrations in 100 selected High-yielding Varieties Programme districts at the rate of 15 per district. These demonstrations are to be carried out in each district under a team of four subject-matter specialists in soils, agronomy, plan protection and agricultural engineering. The demonstrations will seek to establish the production potentiality of each unit area of land per year through multiple cropping supported by a package of improved be conducted by the State agricultural extension personnel. Other components of the farmers' education programme in the Fourth Plan relate to dissemination of agr -cultural informamtion through audio-visual aids and formation of farmers' discussion groups. The exchange programme of farmers wilt also be enlarged.

Material Inputs

7.35. Adequate and timely availability of agricultural inputs is a key factor, and measures which have a bearing on this have to be executed in an integrated manner. Firstly efforts will be made to ensure adequate supplies through indigenous production supplemented, where necessary, by imports. Secondly, through appropriate measure in all the sectors—public, private and co-operative--a widespread network of retail distributors will be sought to be established so that fertiliser aad other inputs are within the easy reach of the farmer. Thirdly, action will be taken to facilitate distribution by providing adequate credit 10 cooperative and private distributing agencies. Among other steps to this end, a Fertiliser Credit Guarantee Corporation is proposed to be set up as a subsidiary of the Researve Bank for guaranteeing distribution credit for chemical fertilisers and other approved agricultural inputs. Finally, attention will bo paid by provision of storage facilities both at the wholesale and retail points. While these measures will aim at substantially stepping up the consumption of chemical fertilisers, seeds and plant protection material, a distinct change will be made in present policy in so far as no subsidy wilt be available for such inputs except for backward and inaccessible areas and, to a limited extent, for certain export-oriented crops.

Improved Seeds

7.36. In the context of intensive agriculture, particularly the HVP programme, quality seeds are the basis of other developments. Special attention will therefore be devoted to multiplication and distribution of improved seeds. The existing seeds.production and distribution arrangements have been .subjected to a detailed scrutiny by the Seed Review Team which reported in 1968. A number of shortcomings have come to light. These include nonavailability of quality breeders stock in adequate quantities as well as insufficiency of and lack of appropriate storage facilities on seed farms. The seed mulliplcation programme has not always yielded stock of the requisite purity. There have also been short-comings in regard to the processing of seeds and the distribution arrangements. The recommendations made by the Seed Review Team aiming at remedying some of these defects.

7.37. It is intended to cover nearly 72 million hectares under improved seeds—about 25 million hectares under HVP, 15 million hectares under multiple cropping and about 8 million hectares in assured rainfall areas and 24 million hectares in dry cultivated areas. For the accomplishment of Ins programme, the following may be regarded as the main components:

  1. Continuous supply of breeder stock
  2. Adequate arrangements for production of improved seeds
  3. Arrangements for seeds processing and storage
  4. Seed certification

Each of these aspects will be given requisite attention.

7.38. As far as the breeders seed is concerned, it will be sought to be produced in adequate quantities with the help of 1CAR and the National Seeds Corporation. About 140 hectares will be required for this purpose in a number of research stations. Foundation seeds of the high-yielding varieties are intended to be produced by the National Seeds Corporation and selected agricultural universities. For production of certified seed a number of agencies will be involved, including Stati: Seed Farms, Central Government Seed Farms, private seed producers and Seed Producers' Cooperatives. The establishment of State Government seed farms was taken up as early as in the First Plan. The Seed Review Team has broughtout a number of deficiencies in these farms regarding the size of the farms, availability of irrigation facilities and storage arrangements. In the Fourth Plan, provisions have been made in the State Plans for im--irovement and rationalisation of these farms. In addition to the seed farms established by State Governments, the Central Government has established large, sized farmsi for reclamation of land, Recently, the focus of their activities has been shifted to production of seeds. So far six farms have been set up. In the Fourth Plan, two more farms are proposed to be established. In the private sector, [he seed industry has made distinct progress. It is expected that, in coming years, an enlarged role will be played by private seed producers. Finally, a beginning has been made in the organisation of-seed producers' co-operative through a scheme sponsored by National Cooperative Development Corporation. So far, eleven cooperatives have come into operation. It is contemplated that about 30 cooperatives will be set up in the Fourth Plan period.

7.39. In the sphere of seed production, an important project in the Fourth Plan period will be ihe Terai Seed Development Project. Under it, the production of quality seeds of high yielding varieties will be taken up over an area of 16000 hectares with double cropping. It is estimated that about 56000 tonnes of quality seeds per annum of HYP wheat, rice maize, sorghum and pearl millets would be available on completion of this project in 1973.

7.40. In the absence of proper storage, seed is likely to lose germination quality thereby resulting in pour plant population. This problem has become s.cute with the introduction of short-duration varieties whose grains tend to sprout at maturity during the wet season. In this context it is proposed to establish suitable seed godowns during the Plan period. Another essential ancillary is seed processing. It is estimated that about 350 processing plains each with a capacity of 1000 tonnes ojE seeds over two seasons would be required by the end of the Plan period. About 100 plants have already been set up. Installation of the remaining plants will be encouraged in the public, private and cooperative sectors.

7.41. Seed certification with its essential elements of field inspection of crops for varietal purity, proper isolation distance and supervision at harvesting, has been generally lacking so far. In the Fourth Plan, a suitable seed certification machinery would be brought into being. Even though the Seeds Act was passed in 1966, certain sections of the Act have been brought into operation only with efl'ect from October, 1969. A Central Seeds Committee has been set up under the Act.'Seed testing laboratories will be organised and suitable training arrangements made for personnel in charge of the administration of the Seeds Act.

7.42. The outlook for the Fourth Plan is generally one of adequacy of seed supply. In fact, a small quantity of seed is already being exported horn the country. The crux of the problem in coming years will lie in ensuring quality. There is room for considerable concern about maintenance of breeders stock with a high genetic purity. The same concern applies to foundation seed and eventually certified seed. The hybrids in particular present a relatively serious problem. This is on account of the seed producing process which requires high level skill. The recent development of composites will perhaps help in this regard. However, quality maintenance of seeds needs to be given high priority by the National Seeds Corporation and the Stale Governments.

Fertilisers and Manures

7.43. A significant increase in fertiliser consumption is a crucial element in the agricultural strategy. It is necessary to get the optimum yield out of the new cereal varieties which are highly responsive to increased dosage of fertilisation. Chemical fertilisers are also envisaged as an important factor in the package programmes for development of commercial crops. High cropping intensity visualised under the multiple cropping programme also pre-supposes a high level of the use of plant nutrients. Finally, increased use of fertiliser is contemplated in dry farming in the form of foliar spraying.

7.44. In the Draft Fourth Plan, a target of consumption of 3.7 million tonnes of N, 1.8 million tonnes of PaOc and 1.1 million tonnes of KaO was indicated. This target has been reconsidered in the light of the latest available data on fertiliser response and other factors. A revised target has been fixed at 3.2 million tonnes of N, 1.4 million tonnes of P^Os and 0.9 million tonnes of KaO. Considering that the consumption in the last year (1968-69 is estimated at 1.1 million tonnes of N, 0.39 million tonnes of PaO; and 0.16 million lonnes of KaO, even the revised Fourth Plan target will require more than trebling the pre-Plan level of fertiliser consumption.

7.45. While, during 1966-67 and 1967-68, there was a sharp upward trend in fertiliser consumption, there has in 1968-69 been some deceleration. The main factors inhibiting increase in fertiliser use are essentially those on the demand side. The measures contemplated in the Fourth Plan to stimulate demand and facilitate supply of fertilisers are improvement and extension of soil-testing facilities, increased use of soil conditioners, intensification of extension and sales promotion, increase in the number of retail points, and increased availability of distribution credit. Measures such as increase in the supply of production credit are also expected to make for enhanced fertiliser consumption.

7.46. Increase in consumption of fertiliser is partly linked to the willingness of the farmers to step up the dosage per hectare towards the optimum level. One of the crucial aids is availability of advice on characteristics of soil. In this context the growth in demand for ferfilser is dependent on the development of soil-testing facilities. At the end of 1968-69, there were 65 soil-testing laboratories all over the country with a total annual capacity of handling 1.08 million samples. It is estimated that, currently, only about 46 per cent of the available capacity is being utilised. Apart from under-utilisation, other areas of concern in this regard relate to the faulty manner of drawing the samples and consequently poor quality of soil analysis and lack of effective follow-up action by the extension agency. It will be necessary to take measures to rectify these shortcomings and also expand the number of soil-testing laboratories, some of them mobile.

7.47: Among the factors accounting for low crop yields in many of the areas are soil acidity and soil alkalinity. To remedy these deficiencies, application of soil amendments such as lime, gypsum and basic slag are generally recommended. Based on available information, areas prone to acidity and alkalinity have been mapped out and some progress has been made in popularising the use of soil conditioners. Many State Plans include provisions for this programme.

7.48. One of the major tasks is intensification of -agricultural extension and sales promotion arrangements so as to step up fertiliser consumption. The scope for effort in this direction is evidenced by the large gap that continues to exist between the recommended dosage and the actual application of fertiliser even in areas covered by HYP. Apart from concerted action by the Stale extension agencies to organise demonstrations on a priority basis, there is both need and room for energetic measures by the fertiliser industry. Recently. the manufacturers have been given the freedom ro market their entire product subject to the proviso that Government has the option to acquire up to 30 per cent of their production at negotiated prices. In fact, the Central fertiliser pool authorities are not exercising this option. Substantially, therefore, the manufacturers now possess both the freedom and the responsibility for sale promotion. A number of them have taken various measures such as organisation of "demonstrations and publication of publicity literature. Some have introduced soil testing and training of dealers. It will be necessary for the industry to undertake more vigorous action. Il i and also contemplated that the Government and the industry will jointly set up a Fertiliser Promotion Council as an autonomous body to strengthen and coordinate sales promotion arrangements,

7.49. One of the factors influencing fertiliser consumption is the availability of fertilisers within easy reach of the farmer. Recently, Government has amended the fertiliser control order so as to substitute mere registration for licensing of fertiliser dealers. While expansion in the number of retailers is likely to be facilitated by this step, it will be equally necessary to ensure that the retail points are widely dispersed so as to include coverage of villages away from the rail heads. This is particularly urgent in view of the fact that the number (if cooperative retail depots, in recent years, has declined from over 48,000 to nearly 40,000 as a result of the policy of cooperatives to rationalise their distribution system in the context of competition from private trade.

7.50. Apart from a significant expansion in the quantitative consumption of chemical fertilisers, attention will have to be given to certain qualitative aspects relating to balanced use of fertilisers. From the agronomic point of view, the proportion of PaO; and K;;0 in relation to N must be much higher than is currently consumed. Unfortunately, in recent years, the consumption of PgO; and KaO has been particularly lagging behind the targetted programme. It will be necessary to take measures which are pointedly directed to towards accelerating the consumption of phosphafic and potassic fertilisers. These include popularisation of fertiliser, mixtures and complex fertilisers and stocking of these- fertilisers by the dealers. Other measures would include demonstrations directed towards these fertilisers and a more effective soil testing programme bringing out deficiencies of phosphorous in certain areas of Kerala, Mysore, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra. eastern Madhya Pradesh. Orissa, Bihar and Southern G'ujarat and deficiencies of potash in certain pockets of Orissa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Guja-raf, Maharashtra and western Rajasthan.

7.51. A programme of setting up mechanical compost plants for the manufacture of good quality organic manure out of urban waste is envisaged in the Plan. To start with, three to four plants of more than one type will be set up on a pilot basis with a view to evaluating the suitability of various types. In addition, efforts will need to be made 10 try out modern methods of chemical treatment of the sewage effluents. The possibility of drying the effluents prior lo applcation will be sought to be explored so as to reduce the space required for sewage treatment. The green manure programme would be included in the intensive rotations which are being developed.

Plant Protection

7.52. In the new agricultural technology, plant protection has acquired an added significance. This is due to both technical and financial reasons. In the case of high-yielding varieties, conditions which are conductive to the growth of the plant population are also favourable for weeds, pests and diseases. Moreover, the high-yielding varieties necessarily c"(ai| a high cost of cultivation and hence ,1 cultivator can ill-afford to lose his crop. If full benefit is to be derived from the costly inputs, plant protection measures in various forms such as seed treatment, weed control and post-sowing prophylactic treatment, mus'i be made an integral part of cultural practices.

7 53. Seed treatment is the first crucial stage of plant protection. Dressing the seed with chemicals before sowing protects the seed from seed and soil-borne diseases and is essential for increase of plant population which is responsible for^the yield potential of the new varieties. In view of its importance, seed treatment is proposed to be given priority in relation to the projected target of 26 million hectares.

7.54. Weed control is another important aspect of plant protection. Such control through manual labour has obviously limitations in high density crops. Hence there is need for increased stress on chemical weed control measures. Since 1964, co-ordinated control trials on paddy have been conducted with satisfactory results. The Plan envisages a target of 2 million hectares for weed control.

7.55. Post-sowing hectares prophylactic treatment constitutes the main plank of the plant pro-teccion programme. In the Fourth Plan, a target of 34 million hectares is envisaged for this purpose. In order to be effective, this programme will- require two main supporting measures. The first relates lo organisation of a surveillance and warning system. The second one concerns intensive research on determination of the most effective chemical control measures for various pests and diseases. It is intended to give attention to both these aspects in the Plan.

7.56. Besides seed treatment, weed control and prophylactic spraying, other measures envisaged relate 10 rat control and control of epidemics. For anti-rat operations, a target of 10 million hectares is envisaged. For all the plant protection programmes taken together, it is contemplated that about 80 million (gross) hectares will be covered by the end of the Plan.

7.57. Effective adoption of plant protection measures on the part of the cultivators is often inhibited by two among other factors, namely, lack of technical skill in the use of pesticides an dineffective-ness of indvidual operations. In this context, 'the Plan envisages Strengthening of the official plant protection services and expansion of training facilities. Steps will also be taken to strengthen the agro-aviation arrangements both in the public and the private sector. In the endemic areas, repeated aerial spraying is envisaged for eradication of pesfs and diseases. Such spraying is proposed to be financed by the Centre while the cost of the material used will be bome by the States.

7.58. Unlike chemical fertlisers, the plant protection material is still largely distributed by official agencies. It is estimated that, at present about 50 per cent is handled by Government personnel. Cooperatives and panchayats account for about 25 per cent and the balance is retailed by private dealers and manufacturers. It is estimated that by 1973-74 the annual consumption of pesticides should go up to 66.000 metric tonnes of technical grade material as against the present annual consumption of 40,000 metric tonnes. If this is to be accomplished vigorous action by the industry. Government and the cooperative organisations will be necessary.

Agricultural Implements and Machinery

7.59. Since the commencemnet of the Third Plan, a number of steps have been taken to develop improved agricultural implements. While a measure of success was achieved, parts of the programme continue to suffer from a variety of shortcomings such as lack of suitable designs, high cost of manufacture and lack of adequate facilities for sale and repair. These problems will receive attention through intensification of research in agricultural engineering, and improvement of arrangements for fabrication and distribution of implements. Considering that there are nearly 70 million draught bullocks the scope for improved animal drawn equipment is enormous and their contribution to productivity can be significant. It is estimated that animal drawn seed drills and planters can save up to 40 per cent:of the time compared with broadcast sowing. Hence stress will continue to be laid on the programme for animal drawn implements and hand tools.

7.60. As regards power operated farm machinery, the approach is influenced by the new context in which efficiency of agriculture is linked to adequate supply of power for making optimum use of inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and irrigation and for facilitating completion of critical farm operations within the short periods available between crop seasons. Under a system of intensive cropping, the interval between two crops may be as little as three weeks. Early planting, which can have a visible impact on the yield, better land levelling and better tillage and accurate placement of seed and fertilisers are other features of new technology placing additional demands upon agricultural machinery. It is con' templated that a selective process of farm mechanisation will help to shift labour to more labour intensive agriculture activities and hence seek to avoid large-scale displacement of labour while adding to productivity.

7.61. There is substantial demand for modern .machinery. For tractors, the accumulated demand now pending is of the order of 80,000. By 1973-74, the annual demand of tractors would be well over one lakh. Efforts will be made to increase the indigenous capacity for manufacture of tractor. For facilitating creation of additional capacity, the wheeled tractor industry has been de-licensed. The power tiller industry has also been de-licensed for a similar reason. To the extent possible, the gap between demand and indigenous supply will be met by imports.

7.62. Programmes of training in the use of machines as well as of testing and popularisation ot agricultural machinery and implements will be given further attention. The facilities available at the Central Tractor Training Centres, Budni and Hissar will be expanded. A third training centre will be established in one of the regions not covered by the present ones. The Central Agricultural Machinery Testing Station at Budni will be expind-ed with two to three sub-centres for carrying out trial, testing and evaluation of a wide range of more sophisticated machinery. Programmes of demonstration for equipment like seed-cum-ferti-liscr 'drills, planters and power threshers, taken up during the Third Plan have facilitated their popularisation. Trial, evaluation and testing of new equipment needed for crop production programmes will be intensified.

7.63: Among the institutional arrangement for agricultural implements and machinery, the most significant element is represented by agro-industries corporations. Such corporations have been set up in 15 States as Joint ventures of the Central and State Governments. They are responsible for organising distribution of tractors, agricultural equipment and spare parfs and for setting up centres for hiring, servicing and repairing of agricultural machinery. For enabling farmers with meagre resources to acquire costly equipment, these corporations will fake up sale of equipment and machinery on hire purchase basis. In regard to custom service tor agricultural machinery, the activities of the agro-industries corporations would be supplemented by other agencies such as cooperatives organised by trained .technicians as well as agricultural marketing cooperatives.

Minor Irrigation

7.64. In the Fourth Plan, there will be conside-rabia emphasis on minor irrigation. The programme will comprise projects for compact area development and for the integrated use of surface and ground water resources through wells, tubewells and pumpscts. Further details are included in the chapta' on Irrigation and Flood Control.

Soil Conservation and Land Reclamation

7.65. In the Fourth Plan, it is proposed to adopt an "area saturation" approach so as to treat all types of land on a complete water-shed basis. Programmes of soil conservation will be preceded by standard soil survey for the identification of priority areas within the watershed by means of interpretation of aerial photographs. Priority will be given to areas which have a greater potential for production. While responsive areas in high rainfall zones will need intensive efforts in disposal of surplus wafer, in the low rainfall and drought-prone zones measures will aim at conservation of moisture. To achieve this. basinwise master plans will be prepared to include afforestation, pasture development, terracing and bunding of cultivated land, gully control and follow-up practices, to be coordinated among the concerned agencies. In ravine lands emphasis will be on the treatment and protection of agriculturally productive table lands as well as on the stabilisation of marginal lands. Pilot projects are proposed to be taken up over 8000 hectares to evolve an economically feasible methodology of reclamation of shallow ravines. In the reclamation of saline, alkaline and water-logged areas work will be taken up on easily reclamable lands as justified by economic and practical considerations. A similar pilot approach will be adopted in areas given to shifting cultivation, particularly in the north-eastern region.

7.66. In the State sector, an area of 5.39 million hectares of agricultural land and 0.45 million hectares of non-agricultural land will come under soil conservation measures such as bunding, levelling, terracing, ravine reclamation, grass land development and protective afforestation. Some Stales, notably Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal, have not vet enacted soil conservation laws. The existing legislation would also require amendments for a proper implementation of the watershed approach.

7.67. The major programme under the Centrally sponsored sector is the scheme of soil conservation in the catchments of river valley projects. During the Third Plan, the work was initiated in 13 pro-•ects. It has been revealed from the sedimentation surveys that in a large number of projects, the pctual rate of siltation is higher than that assumed at the time of construction. This implies reduction of the effective life of the storaee in addition to encroachment on lives storage. The programme of soil conservation will be continued so as to cover the critical areas in tTh" catchments of major projects. An area of 0.60 million hectares, comprising 0.26 million hectares of agricultural land and 0.34 million hectares of non-agricultural land. will be covered by this scheme. The Centrally sponsored proeramme is required to be supported by a matching pro-oramme of soil conservation in less vulnerable and more productive areas. Up to the end of 1968-69, nearly 7 lakhs hectares were treated at a cost of Rs. 23 crores. It is proposed to lake up 8 additional projects and cover 5 lakhs hectares during the Plan period.

7.68. Emphasis will be laid on soil surveys in the commands of irrigation projects for better soil and water management and identifying problem areas. A special project of soil surveys will be taken up in the five original T.A.D.P. districts. The Central organisation wilf be strengthened for helping the States to draw up detailed plans. A Resources Inventory Unit established at the Centre during 1966-67 is proposed to be strengthened to collect and collate data in respect of natural resources for agricultural development and prepare base-maps to help effective planning. A new cell in the Central organisation will help the States to draw up master plans of soil conservation in river valley projects.

7.69. While the main advances in agricultural production must come from increase in yields, expansion of area under cultivation can make some contribution, more specially for provinding land to the landless. During the Third Plan period, an area of 1.9 million hectares was reclaimed. A survey of wastelands suggest that an estimated area of 2.2 million hectares is available for reclamatien and cultivation during the Fourth Plan. Of this, land reclamation will be carried out over one million hectares.

High-yielding Varieties Programme

7.70. The high-yielding varieties programme, is of crucial importance. Out of an increase of 31 million tonnes of foodgrains projected for the Plan, 21 million tonnes is attributed to this programme. This is expected to be achieved largely by the extension of the programme from a base level of 9.2 million hectares in 1968-69 to 25 million hectares in 1973-74.

7.71. Tn the initial stages, the high-yielding varieties programme encountered a variety of organisational and operational difficulties concerning identification of the areas to be involved, multiplication of the requisite quantities seeds, provision of credit and timely arrangements for plant protection. Since a very considerable expansion of the programme is envisaged, it is proposed that requisite advance action should be taken so as to conform to the main guidelines that have emerged from experience. The action to be taken will be partly in the sphere of agricultural research. As already indicated, while a varietal break-up in wheat and millets is already in evidence, research in paddy varieties has not yet reached that stage. For the success of the programme, it will be necessary to ensure that the breeders maintain a continuous supply of superior genetic material.

7.72. For obtaining optimum results from the high-yielding varieties programme, the main thrust of effort will be in the sphere of extension. The new varieties require more refined and precise cultural practices concerning preparation of seed bed and methods of sowing. Perhaps the most significant aspect relates to controlled irrigations so that water is supplied at critical periods of plant growth. Experiments already made show that four irrigations applied at crown root, flowering, milk and dough stages of development areas efficient in terms of yield as six irrigations applied indiscriminately. This irrigation efficiency which is basic to the success of high-yielding varieties programme has to be developed as part of the requisite cultural practices. There has to be a corresponding change in the practices of the canal irrigation authorities so as to help water management.

Multiple Cropping

7.73 The importance of cropping intensity was often emphasised in the past and a measure of success was achieved. By 1964-65, out of 137.9 million hectares of net sown areas, 20.2 million 'hectares were sown more than once. However, in the absence of short duration varieties, cropping intensity could not be made a focal point of agricultural strategy. During recent years, this barrier is being overcome and techniques of inter-cropping and relay-cropping are being developed. A series of new multiple cropping cycles have been evolved and tested. These are likely to have a significant bearing on future development.

7.74. For the Fourth Plan. the target is to expand the multiple cropping programme so as to cover an aditional 9 million hectares. For the success of this programme, changes in irrigation practices, to which a reference has already been made, will be necessary. The implementation of the programme will be under taken in the light of the following guide-lines;

  1. Crops grown in succession should not be susceptible to the same diseases and pesfs:
  2. There should be a leguminous crop in Vhe rotation so that biological nitrogen fixa. tion is promoted;
  3. Crops grown one after the other should have different rooting patterns so that one crop takes nutrients from the upper layer of the soil while the other taps the lower areas;
  4. Cultivation of short duration varieties bo as to make fuller use of moisture available from late rains.

Under the national demonstrations prossrammff. several new crop rotations have ^hown a gtenincant jncreasc in total production per unit of time. Traddition to short duration varietes of paddy, maize, jowar, bajra and wheat, barley, ragi, oilseeds, potatoes and vegetables have also been brought into crop rotations. As this programme of multiple cropping progress it will offer a potential for increase in production comparable to that provided by the high-yielding varieties programme.

Agricultural Credit

7.75. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in institutionalising rural crcdii. At present, over 30 per cent of the borrowings by cultivators are from institutional sources. A substantial step-up in the institutional credit will be necessary as the programmes of intensive agriculture, involving use of costly material and labour inputs, will require massive credit support. The All India Rural Credit Review Committee (1969) has estimated that the short term production credit requirements in 1978-74 will be of ihe order of Rs. 2000 crores. The estimates for medium and long term credit, which are for the whole of the Plan period, are Rs. 500 crores and Rs. 1500 crores respectively,

7.76 Cooperatives will continue to be the principal agencies for agricultural credit. It is estimated that cooperative short-term and medium-term credit will expand from the present level of Rs. 450 crores per annum to Rs. 750 crores in the final year of the Fourth Plan. As regards long-term credit, 'the land development banks wliich have made significant progress in recent years, are well organised to handle loan operations of over Rs. 1000 crores over the Plan period. However, on the basis of financial resources now in sight, a target of Rs. 700 crores has been fixed for the time being. The detailed programmes relating to cooperative credit institutions are spelt out in the chapter on Cooperation.

7.77. While, as in the past, cooperatives will have to be strengthened and treated as the principal agency for agricultural credit, the approach in the Fourth Plan will be to ensure that agricultural production is not inhibited by the weakness of the cooperatives. In areas where the cooperative credit structure is weak, there will be a special effort to provide alternative institutional sources. The policy in the Plan will be to institutionalise agricultural credit to the maximum extent possible and to reduce direct loaninc by 'Government to the minimum. Among the alternative agencies will be agricultural credit corporations, to be set up under a law enacted by Parliament in States where cooperative credit structure is unequal lo the task of providing adequate agricultural credit. The agro-industries corporations are also expected to finance investment through hire purchase of agricultural machinery and pumpsets.

7.78. In the sphere of agricultural credit, one of the most significant institutions is the Agricultural Refinance Corporation. Started in 19'63, the Corporation has expanded its activities considerably in recent years. Up to the end of 1968-69, the Corporation lia'c! sanctioned 233 schemes involving a total outlay of Rs. 182 crores, of which the Corporation's commitment is Rs. 156 crores. The focus of its financing has rightly been on schemes of minor irrigation which were as many as 125 out of the total of 233. Lately, the Corporation has endeavoured lo diversify the scope of its refinancing portfolio so as to include schemes for poultry, dairying, fisheries and even construction of storages.

7.79. Some aspects of the working of the Corporation have to be noted here even though these are essentially related to the characteristics of the institutions which borrow from the Corporation and of the projects submitted to it for sanction. The relatively undeveloped state of the land development banks in certain States has led to uneven levels of loaning from this institution to different States, This needs to be rectified by improving the structure of long-term cooperative credit in those States as also by persuading commercial banks to participate more in this context than they arc doing at present. Secondly, the disbursements of the Corporation lag behind the sanctions on account, among other reasons, of delays in project formulation, appraisal and approval. These again represent a series of bottlenecks which need to be removed. These measures are all the more necessary because, ir the Fourth Plan. it is contemplated that the Agricultural Refinance Corporation will provide refinance of the order of Rs. 200 crores.

7.80. For meeting the gap in agricultural credit, the potentialities of commercial banks have to be fully mobilised. Following social control, commercial banks had shown an increasing interest in the agricultural sector. The volume of direct agricultural finance outstanding from commercial banks increased from Rs. 5 crores during 1966-67 to Rs. 53 crores in 1968-69. In 1968, a consortium of commercial banks set up Agricultural Finance Corporation with the object of coordinatin": activities of 'the constituent banks and rendering them consultancy services.

7.81. Consequent on nationalisation it is expected that the nationalised banks will take further measures to increase their finances for agricultural production and investment. Certain steps have already been taken in this regard. Each district in the country has been allotted to one bank called the 'lend' bank. Tt is the duty of the lead bank to survey the resources and potential for banking development in that district and offer advice to small borrowers—farmers particularly—and assist the other primary lending agencies and maintain liaison with G'overnment and quasi-government agencies. Trielead bank will also assume a major role in the development of banking in that district though it will not have a monopoly in the banking business in that district.

7.82. Various scheduled banks are now embarking on a massive programme of branch expansion with emphasis on unbanked towns or centres. This tempo will be kept up throughout the Plan so that the banking facility is brought as near to the villager as possible. The banks will thus attempt to cafer directly to the needs of the individual farmers. They arc already setting up some mobile units to increase (heir coverage of villages from their existing branches. Direct lending to farmers is expected to increase to Rs. 400 crores by the end of the Fourth Ptan from the commercial banks as against Rs 53.59 crore? at the end of June 1969.

7.83. The various institutional agencies catering to the requirements of rural credit will have to function in an integrated and coordinated manner. In view of the large variety of conditions, it will be necessary to make detailed plans for the development of credit and banking in the rural sector on {he basis of local conditions. There is, therefore, a iğecd for an area approach on the basis of the district as the unit. This would mean the preparation of credit plan for the district :ind integrating the pkm with other development activities. Within this credit plan, the cooperative sector and the commercial banks will have to work in close coordination.

Agricultural Marketing

7.84. As already stated, one of the key elements in the agricultural strategy of the Fourth Pk'n is 10 aim at improvement of agricultural marketing .system in the interest of the producer. The objective rs to see that imperfections in the marketing system do not act as a constraints on agricultural production. One of the measures proposed for development of the marketing infra-structure is the expansion of the system of regulated markets. At the beginning of the Third Plan, legislation for establishment of such markets was in force in 9 States. Since then, 4 other States have enacted the Agricultural Produce Markets Act. In the Fourth Plan, the remaining States, namely, Assam, Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir, are expected to place the legislation on t and e statBte book. On the eve of the Fourth Plan, the number of regulated markets and sub-market yards-was 1616. About 2100 markets and sub-market yards are yet to be brought under regula-tioa. This task will be pursued in the Fourth Plan period.

7.85. Apart from covering more markets bv regulation, it will be necessary" to expand facilities by way of market yards and other ancillaries in various markets. A recent study has shown that in certain areas such as Punjab, during the post-harvest season of 1968-69, market arrivals increased by 150 per cent over the average of last three years' corresponding period. The capacity for market yards proved to be inadequate for these large arri-vuis and considerable market transactions beg.in to be conducted outside the market yards thus leading to malpractices. In this context, efforts will be necessary for strengthening and restructuring the market committees with regards to their resources and functions. A beginning has already been made by some market committees to obtain bank I'inance for improvement of marketing facilities. It will he necessary to enable a large number of market committees to resort to such institutional finance and thereby help in development of the market yards and in the provision of ancillary services, such as market intelligence. Some of the well developed market committees are also expected to make their contribution to the development of feeder roads for which a beginning has been made in a few rural areas. Finally, it will be necessary to evolve a suitable State level machinery for supervising and coordinating the work of regulated market committees. In tills context, several States are con-temolaring action to constitute State Agricultural Marketing Boards on the lines of these functioning in Punjab and Haryana.

7.86. Another significant programme for improvement of the marketing system relates to expansion of facilities for grading of agricultural produce. At present. there are about 450 grading units operated by various agencies, such as regulated markets. cooperative societies, and central and Stale warehouses. Despite the progress made in recent years. the overall share of grading in the total trade of agricultural produce still continues to be negligible, that is, around 1 per cent or so of the total value of (he agricultural produce marketed. Hence, there is a very considerable scope for expansion of grading facilities. Tn the Fourth Plan, a programme of another 600 grading units is envisaged. A pilot crore for classing of lint with a view to helping life farmers in determination of the quality of lint and thus enabling them to market cotton in the term of lint, as against kapas at present, v/ill be established at Surat. In addition, denionsfration-cum-grading pilot units will also be taken up for ceriajn agricultural commodities.

7.87. To facilitate agricultural exports, compulsory quality control and grading under Agmark whrh is in operation in respect of 34 agricultural commodities, will be continued. Tn addition, pre-shipment inspection and quality control under Ag-mark is proposed to be extended to 10 new com-"odirics. The laboratory facilities for testing the purity and quality of the produce, existing at Bombay, Cochin, Jamnagar and Madras, will be further expanded. New laboratories are also proposed to be set up at Tuticorin, Mangalore and Alleppey during the Fourth Plan. Another important scheme in the Fourth Plan relates to Central AgiTiark Research and Training Institute which will be set up to help in the adoption of technological improvements in the marketing of perishable products like fruits and vegetables. This Institute will also undertake trial and demonstration of new equipment for cleaning, grading, packing, transport and storage and impart training in the commercial use of new techniques.

Agriculture Pricing

7.88. As already indicated in para 7.9. the policy of minimum prices as an incentive to agricultural production, has been given a pointed recognition in recent years. Although the new technology offers a prospect of bigger returns to the producers, their cultivation costs are higher and hence the special significance of under-pinning the production effort by assured minimu mprices. It may be added that, while in the past a large portion of the costs of cultivation were imputed, for the new 'technology an increasing proportion of the costs are necessarily cash costs. Tf the minimum support prices are 10 be effective in facilitating agricultural production. certain aspects of implementation stressed by the Foodgrains Policy Committee (1966) are particularly relevant. These aspects are :

  1. The announcement of prices should be made well before the sowing season;
  2. In order that the guaranteed minimum support prices may help in creating a favourable climate for long-term investment, the prices should be fairly stable over a long period;
  3. Government should provide wide publicity to the minimum support prices and to the effect that it will be prepared to purchase all the quantities offered to it at those prices;
  4. Adequate arrangements would be made at important markets for making purchases at the support prices whenever the need arises.

7.89. A policy of minimum support prices for main agricultural commodities, viz.. foodgrains, sugar-cane, jute and cotton, has already been accepted. However, in the past, the effectiveness of this policy has varied considerably depending on the adequacy of the relevant purchasing machinery, such as the Food Corporation of India, the State Trading Corporation and the cooperative market-in? organisations. Tn the Fourth Plan, efforts will be made to strengthen public and cooperative agencies so as to ensure that the purchase operations do in fact benefit the primary producers. As regards jute, a separate corporation is proposed to be set up as soon as possible. Until such a corporation is established, the responsibility for pric.e ;:uppoit purchase operations will continue to rest with ihc State Trading Corporation. In .regard to cotton, proposals are being worked out for establishing a suitable public agency which will also be entrusted with the responsibility for import of. cotton. As regards oil seeds, certain proposals for stabilisation of prices including buffer stock of oil seeds are under consideration.

Storage and Warehousing

7 90. The Fourth Plan programme of storage is based on an integrated view of the requirements 'Of storage for various purposes, namely, storage of buffer stocks and operational stocks of foodgrains by the Food Corporation of India, provision of warehousing facilities for the producers and th3 'rade the Central and State Warehousing Corporations, and the requirements of storage facilities on the part of cooperatives for both the' distribution of agricultural inputs and the marketing of agricultural produce. The total financial requirement for .the entire progremme has been estimated at Rs. 151 crores, of which a part will be met by the Agricultural Refinance Corporation and commercial hanks while the balance has been provided in the State and Central Plans. .

7.91. On the eve of the Fourth Plan, the storage capacity in possession of the Union Department of Food. the Food Corporation of India. State Governments, the Central Warehousing Corporation. State Warehousing Corporations and Cooperatives was as under :

Table 8 : Storage Capacity 1968-69

Sl.No. . agency owned hired total.
  (1) (2) (3) (4)
1 Food Department and Food Corporation of India 2.62 1.26- 3.88
2 State Governments 1.40 1.26 2.66
3 Central Warehousing Corporation 0.65 0.31 0.96
4 State Warehousing Corporations 0.23 0.60 0.83
5 Cooperatives 2.60 2.60
6 Total 7.50 3.43 103

7.92. For storing focdgrains, the total owned capacity at the beginning of the Fourth Plan was nearly 4.51 million tonnes. The effective storage capacity available after providing for operational purposes works out 4.0 million tonnes. A part of this capacity will continue to be utilised for storage of operational stocks. About 1.5 million tonnes can be deemed to be available for storage of buffer stock. On this basis, an additional effctive capacity of 3.4 million tonnes would be necessary to provide for a buffer stock of 5 million tonnes. For this purpose, a capital outlay of Rs. 73 crores would be necessary. This is expected to be financed partly by governmental loans and partly by loans raised by the Food Corporation from the banking sources. A sum of Rs. 2 crores has been separately provided for about 200.000 tonnes of additional storage facilities; which will be required for storing fertiliser at pWs and other strategic points.

7.93. With regard to the expansion of warehousing facilities, the Fourth Plan contains an outlay of Rs. 12 crores for the Central Warehousing Corporation. A part of this outlay will be utilised by the CorporoHon for contributing to the equity capita] of State Warehousing Corporations. In addition. Siatc Plans include a provision of about Rs. 6 crores for State Warehousing Corporations. It is envisaged that the additional capacity to be put up by the Central-and State Warehousing Corporations wil be.of the order of 1 million tonnes. In the cooperative sector, the programme of construction of storage has so.far been financed entirely by the Plan funds. In the Fourth Plan, the cooperatives will have recourse to banks with refinancing facflities from the Agricultural Refinance Corporation. On this basis, the provision made under the State Plans for cooperative storage is intended to be used essentially as margin money. Cooperatives will establish about 2 million tonnes of additional storage capacity.

7.94. A countrywide 'Save Grain Campaign' was launched in 1965 for the propagation of clieap and effective methods of insect and rodent control among various private agencies storing foodgrains for consumption, seed and sale purposes. Steps were (aken to amend Wheat Roller Flour Mills (Licensing and Control) Order to provide for better storage in tile roller flour mills. State Governments were also requested by the Government of India to make suitable amendments in the relevant Foodgrains Dealers' Licensing Orders to make it obligatory on the part of the traders to undertake suitable measures for the avoidance of wastage of foodgrains while in storage. Most of the Stales have already made the necessary amendments. It is proposer to affect the necessary legal change in the remaining States during the Fourth Plan period. To intensify the campaign further, it is proposed to train the traders, millers and cooperatives in scientific methods of foodgrains storage and (o popularise cheap and effective post control techniques.

7.95. Research and training are essential for the deveolpmcnt of scientific storage. These activities being undertaken by a number of organisations such as the Indian Grain Storage Centre, Hapur Central Food Technological Research institue, Mysore. Specific area in which research and training are proposed to be strengthened relate to the requirements of material for storage construction, its cost and management. The Central Warehousing Corporation has already introduced extension services for the promotion of scientific storage among stocking of agricultural producer in the private sector. It is proposed to extend this activity through (he State Warehousing Corporations.

7.96. A recent development of some promise relates to introduction of metal storage bins at farm level for the protection of grains from rodents and insects. A pilot scheme has been taken up for the purpose. Under this scheme, metal bins will be supplied to the farmers on instalment basis and (hey will be rendered technical help for installation and maintenance of such bins. Apart from this pilot scheme, in certain areas, such as Punjab, over 10.000 metal storage bins have been introduced at the farm level largely at the initiative of the farmers themselves. It will be necessary to review the operation of these bins before the programme is taken up on large scale.

Agricultural Administration and Statistics

7.97. The agricultural administrative system was reviewed by a Working Group in 1963. The Group reported that "unsatisfactory administrative and organisational arrangement was, by far, the most important single factor responsible for inadequate progress in the sphere of agricultural production". Since then, attempts have been made to revamp agricultural administration. At the national level, cioscr administrative coordination has been sought (o be achieved between the different Ministries concerned with Agricultural production. The Union Dcpiirn'nei'il of Agriculture has been reorganised and strengthened. Also. at the Centre, a Cabinet Committee on Food. Agriculture and Rural Development has been constituted to deal with policy issues. At the State level, the Working Group on Inter Department- and Institutional Coordination for Agriculture Production (1963) had recommend-"'.l that the responsibility for administrative coordination should "be placed on a senior officer functioning as Secretary-cuin-Agricultiin;! Production Commissioner. Several States have already implemented this suggestion.

7.98. A further aspect of administration, which has (o be worked out in the Fourth Plan. relates to the relationship between the agricultural universities and the State departments of agriculture. Except in one or two States no effective liaison appears to have developed so far between agricultural universities and the extension personnel of the State Departments, It will be necessary to take measures to demarcate the functions and responsibilities between the agriculture universities and the State departments of agriculture, animal husbandry. and fisheries and to promote functional collaboration. It is contemplated that, while agricultural universities, besides being in charge of teaching and research, will also deal with extension education, the task of extension to the farmers will be handled primarily by the extension personnel with the State Governments. To the extent that agricultural universities succeed in bringing the latest research findings to the extension agency of the departments of agriculture in the States and feed back field problems to the research stations and laboratories, the objective of meaningful coordination based upon an active link between the university and the State department of agriculture will move nearer accomplishment.

7.99. Agricultural statistics are an important tool for agricultural administration and planning. Efforts have, therefore, been continuously nude to improve the quality, content and coverage of agricultural statistics, particularly those relating to area and production of crops. At present, the estimates of acreage under crops are compiled on the basis of complete field to field enumeration by the primary reponiiiig agencits in all the Slates except West Bengal, Orjssa and Kerala, where the crop acce-agcs are estimated by the method of random sample surveys. Statistics of yield of principal crops in all the States are based on the method of random s;ğmple crop cutting surveys. While the existing system of collecting data on area and production is quite comprehensive, experience has shown that there is a scope for further improvement in the following directions :

  1. Reduction in time lag in the availability of the estimates of area and production;
  2. Strengthening of supervision over area enumeration and yield estimation work done by primary reporting agencies;
  3. Providing objective advance estimates of production of crops for policy and administration purposes.

7.100. In order to effect the required improvements suitable measures are proposed to be taken under the Fourth Plan. A Centrally sponsored scheme for timely reporting of estimates of area and production of crops has already been formulated. This scheme is already being implemented in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mysore and Bihar, and is proposed to be extended to other States. This scheme envisages the collection of data relating to areas under high yielding and other improved varieties of crops, and also yield rates for irrigated and unirrigated areas separately.

[ Home ]
^^ Top
Next >
Back to Index