Nation’s agriculture sector performance ‘most alarming’

Panaji: The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has termed as “most alarming” the current performance of the nation’s agriculture sector.

“The agricultural sector is the largest employer in India’s economy but contributes to a declining share of its GDP (17 per cent in 2013-14). The contribution of agriculture and its share to the economy is falling and the percentage of people dependent on agriculture is growing to around 50 per cent, which is alarming. The debt to asset ratio is very high for poor people and they are more indebted in comparison to the assets they are holding,” said P C Mohan, a member of National Statistical Commission (NSC).

The two-day national seminar of the NSSO was held for the first time in the state at the Goa University on the survey results relating to subjects on land and livestock holdings, debt and investment and situation assessment survey of agricultural households covered during NSS 70th round (January 2013-December 2013) and NSS 71st round (January 2014-June 2014) on social consumption on health and education.

The survey states that “low productivity in agriculture and allied sector has adversely affected employment and income generation among the agricultural households.” It states that poor rural infrastructure and low level of investment are the major reasons for the slow growth of agricultural sector in the states.

With an estimate of 48 per cent of the 400.90 million persons belonging to the agricultural households reported to be farmers, the non- agricultural enterprises were principal sources of income for about 11 per cent of the agricultural households and the share of farmers among the male and female members of the agricultural households was about 58 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively.

The survey shows that among the agricultural households having less than 0.01 hectare land, about 56 per cent reported wage/salary as their principal source of income and another 23 per cent reported livestock as their source of income. Majority of the agricultural households which possessed more than 0.40 hectare land reported cultivation as their income source.

The declining share of agriculture in the overall economy is a consequence of higher rate of growth of the non-agricultural sectors. However, it is the duty of policy makers to ensure that the declining contribution of agriculture to GDP is halted, the survey states.

The average monthly income per agricultural household during the agricultural year July 2012-June 2013 was Rs 6,426. However, it was Rs 6,642 and Rs 6,249 during July 2012-December 2012 and between January 2013 and June 2013, respectively.

The survey revealed that around 52 per cent of the agricultural households in rural India were estimated to be indebted and the average amount of outstanding loan per agricultural household was estimated at Rs 47,000.

The All-India Debt and Investment Survey (AIDIS), one of the components of NSSO, states that around 52 per cent of the estimated 90.2 million agricultural households in rural India reported outstanding loans.

Source: The Navhind Times

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