Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Number of Agricultural Workers increases by 29 Million in A Decade

As per Census conducted by Registrar General of India, the total number of agricultural workers in the country comprising cultivators and agricultural labourers increased from 234.1 million (127.3 million cultivators and 106.8 million agricultural labourers) in 2001 to 263.0 million (118.7 million cultivators and 144.3 million agricultural labourers) in 2011. 

As per Agriculture Census 2010-11, about 85% of the operational holdings accounting for about 44% of the total operated area in the country are held by small and marginal farmers. 

The India Rural Development Report 2012/13, mentions, inter-alia, that while the small farmers have proven to be more efficient than large farmers in using land and resources, but the holdings are often too small to generate sufficient income to support a family. 

The report further highlights that the smallholder farmers suffer serious disadvantages in marketing and distribution due to smaller outputs, fragmented holdings & distance from markets.

 In order to improve the viability of small holder farmers, the Twelfth Plan Document puts special focus on building capacity that encourages group formation and collective effort by small, marginal and women farmers. Further, it stresses on leveraging private investment and on policies that make markets more efficient and competitive. 

Government has taken several steps to revitalize agriculture sector and improve the conditions of farming community on sustainable basis by increasing investment, improving farm practices, creating rural infrastructure and ensuring timely delivery of credit, technology and other inputs. 

Various Programmes/Schemes for the development of agriculture sector including diversification to high yielding crops are implemented in a decentralized manner with flexibility to State Governments to formulate and implement appropriate projects to suit their specific requirements. 

Further, Government fixes the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of various agricultural commodities with a view to ensure that farmers get remunerative returns for their produce. 

This information was given today by Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Shri Tariq Anwar in a written reply to Rajya Sabha questions. 

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