Agriculture has always been the mainstay of our economy and social system yet the government has shown a marked tendency to ignore this sector. It had anticipated a growth rate in excess of 8.4% last year, with agriculture growing at 4%. But its hopes were belied and agricultural growth is not expected to exceed 2.5% in the current year. Yet we see that the hospitality sector, transport, communications, financial services, insurance and real estate trade have been clocking 9-to-11% growth.
The 11th Five Year Plan had pegged the agricultural growth rate at an average 4% per annum but the actual achievement during the Plan period was 3.3% per annum. Every day 2,000 farmers turn their back on farming and every half an hour a desperate farmer commits suicide.
Agriculture is crucial to India both in terms of employment and food security. The country claims to have achieved 7.94% growth over the last Five Year Plan period, yet our ‘economist’ Prime Minister has no compunction in pointing out that 6.5 Crore children are currently victims of malnutrition, referring to this sad fact as a matter of ‘national shame’.