The Indian agriculture sector is leading the revival of the economy. A vast majority of the population is dependent on farming in India. Amid COVID lockdown across India, agriculture sector remained unaffected as farmers were permitted to harvest during Rabi season.
India reported record wheat harvest amid lockdown. Further, preliminary data from the Agricultural Ministry confirmed that paddy has been sown in 12 million hectares across India. Cultivation area of paddy increased by more than 1.00% on year on year basis. In addition, India received 14% more rain than the past year benefiting the sector as most farmlands in the country depend on the monsoon because of the lack of Irrigation.
Key to Prosperity of the Country
Agriculture contributes to about 17% of the total GDP of India. Schemes like the PM Kisan and PM Garib Kalyan Yojna helped farmers during cultivation and harvest. Further, 11% increase in wages owing to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) added to farmers income. These factors significantly contributed to increased output of farmers backing the economy’s revival.
Agriculture Sector Shining Despite Gloomy Economic Outlook
Despite the nationwide lockdown, the agriculture sector had a growth of 5.9% compared to the whole Indian economy growing only by 3.9%. Pradeep Kashyap, the founder of MART, said that, understanding the role of agriculture is very important, especially when the manufacturing and service sectors have taken a hit. For the past few years, farmers have been suffering from lousy storage facilities leading to crop wastage. Even though productivity and rainfall look good for now, it is essential to tackle that side of the problem.
Recovery Post COVID-19
Pressure for growth cannot fall on agriculture alone. But, farmer welfare and agriculture sectors importance cannot be ignored. Various initiatives started by the Government help in making agricultural credit available to farmers. For example, concessional credit at low interest is given through credit cards under the PM Kisan Scheme. However, many farmers remain unaware of such schemes and it is necessary to educate the farmers in rural areas in India. Providing accessible and easy credit to farmers is essential for the revival of the economy.
Agriculture remains the backbone of India’s economy. The contribution of the agriculture sector during and post lockdown will help India recover from COVID’s economic impact.