Category Archives: Indian Agriculture

INTERESTING FACTS & QUOTES EPISODE-23

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Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was a famous English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. He was born in Motihari, Bihar, India on 25th June 1903 of all the places.

Very few are lucky to be a Mozart the world famous composer of classical era who found passion for music at the age of three. The way to tell you’ve found a passionate work is when it doesn’t feel like work.

 Around 30% Americans get less than seven hours of sleep per night, and among single mothers, this rises up to 47%.

 India is one of the world’s most flood prone countries with 113 million (11 crore) people exposed to floods. According to a UN report India’s average annual economic loss due to disasters is estimated to be around $9.8 billion, out of which more than $7billion loss is due to floods.

 Talisman is an object, typically, an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers, and brings good luck.

 In a country with a median age of below 30, where, a million people enter the work force every month, sudden demonetizing can be devastating.

 Even after a full scale up, a fully, financially, digitized economy, like Sweden, still conducts, about 20% of its money transaction in cash.

England: Running a palace is becoming tougher and tougher. It seems that London’s Buckingham Palace is in urgent need of essential repairs, mainly in the plumbing department.     However, a number of British taxpayers—over 85,000 of them, who have signed a petition to that effect- are reluctant to foot  the bill for the job.

 Drawbridge—is a bridge that can be lifted so that ships can pass.

 For far too long, emerging economies such as India have been at the mercy of a supplier’s cartel. It’s therefore time now to change the rules of the game—this is especially in the context of oil.

 China and India are the second and third largest oil importers respectively. When they negotiate together their combined influence in the oil market will help them get a good deal. But will it ever happen?

 The global market of merchandise exports today is approximately $15 trillion. Share of India in these exports is only 1.6% compared to that of 12% of China.

 References to Bihar regions like Magadha, Mithila and Vaishali can be found in ancient texts and epics. The world’s first known republic was established in Vaishali in 6th century BC.

The ‘Umbrella Movement’ was a political movement that emerged during the Hong Kong democracy protests of 2014. Its name arose from the use of umbrellas as a tool for passive resistance to the Hong Kong Police’s use of pepper spray to disperse the crowd during a 79-day occupation of the city demanding more transparent elections, which was sparked by the decision of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress (NPCSC) on 31 August, 2014 that prescribed a selective pre-screening of candidates for the 2017 election of Hong Kong’s chief executive.

 Soil and water are not commodities, but life-making material.

The element composition of the human body is 72% water and 12% earth.

 Since most of our rivers are forest fed, the best way to resuscitate them is with more vegetation. But the organic content of soil has fallen drastically and the rapid pace of desertification is alarming.

 Soil depletion in this country is so acute that nearly 25% of the Indian agricultural land will not be cultivable in the next 3-5 years.

 In 40 years time, it is estimated that over 60% of our land will be uncultivable.

 The only way to increase organic content of our soil is through tree cultivation and animal waste. If we destroy that our capability to generate food, will be heading towards a disaster.

 Due to lack of vegetation and indiscriminate urban expansion, we are witnessing alarming cycles of food and drought. In the last 12 years, nearly three lakh farmers have committed suicide.

  There are many reforms that India could carry out to become more competitive in manufacturing. These would involve changing its cumbersome labour laws, cutting corporate taxes to levels seen in East Asian countries and improving the transportation networks.

 Bullet train in India is likely to cost $17 billion which is a third of India’s annual defence budget.

India was famous for having many sick industries but no sick industrialist. But I guess the trend is changing now with Mallaya and Nirav Modi in spotlight in the U.K.

 Bengaluru, once a city of 2,500 lakes, boasted of an efficient storm water drainage system of interconnected lakes. If one lake overflowed water would automatically flow into another lake. But with increasing encroachment and solid wastes blocking the channels, floodwater cannot flow to the next water body. Drawing similarities are Hyderabad that has reported extinction of 375 lakes, and Delhi where 274 of 611 water bodies have dried up due to neglect and exploitation.

Not a single Indian city has drainage system that can promptly evacuate intense monsoon rainfalls that occur over short time periods.

 A large part of BMC (Bombay Muncipal Corporation) revenue amounting to Rs 61,000 crore is locked up in fixed deposits and are not being deployed for civic amenities.

 Almost all Indian cities are water-scarce in dry seasons and prone to severe flooding during monsoons. Cities like Delhi, that witness floods every monsoon, are also, some of the most water-stressed cities of the world.

Singapore, a monsoon country, has for the most part, solved urban drainage and water scarcity problems by installing a proper functional drainage system and collection of rainwater harvest.

 When a poor man gets government money, it’s called subsidy, when a rich man gets it, it’s called incentive.

 GST replaced 17 state and central taxes to make India one common market.

 Vidur the royal counsellor in Mahabharat, tells the king that he should sacrifice a person for the sake of a village and a village for the sake of a nation.

 The National Mental Health Survey 2016 published by NIMHANS recently showed that 13.7% of Indians are likely to have some mental illness during their lifetime.

INTERESTING QUOTES & LINES.

 The worst form of democracy is a million times better than an ideal form of dictatorship.

 Muslims are Islam’s biggest enemy—says Hasan Suroor, London based journalist.

 All labour is precious but some are more precious than others: “Believe me, the man who earns his bread by the sweat of his brow, eats oftener a sweetener morsel, however coarse, than he who procures it by the labour of his brains—Washington Irving, American author.

 Buddha said that the past is—already gone and the future is not yet here; there is only one moment when you can be fully alive, and that is the present moment.

 If one’s mind is agitated, one’s breathing will not be calm.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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ARTICLE: LIVELIHOOD SECURITY IN RURAL INDIA – CHALLENGES

Copyright@shravan charity mission


    Livelihood is the means by which a person or household makes a decent living over a period of time. ‘Livelihood Security’ has been defined differently by various institutions, entities, and scholars. In a broad sense, it implies dignity, in a secure and just society. Being able to withstand stresses of death, disease, natural disasters or even economic slumps.

    It means adequate and sustainable access to income and resources to meet basic needs. Including adequate access to food, potable water, health facilities, educational opportunities, housing and time for community participation and social integration. As said by W. Somerset Maugham, ‘There is nothing so degrading as the constant anxiety about one’s means of livelihood.’

    Swaminathan (1991) has defined sustainable livelihood security as, ‘livelihood options that are ecologically secure, economically efficient and socially equitable in order to underscore three aspects- ecology, economics and equity.’

    In simple terms, job and income are the most critical components of ‘Livelihoods.’

CHALLENGES IN FRONT OF INDIA

    With 60% of India’s population employed in the agriculture sector, that contributes only 15% to India’s currently sulking GDP, challenges of livelihood security in India are getting more and more complex each day. Farm based jobs have remained stagnant due to structural changes in the Indian economy. The share of primary sector in GDP has progressively declined from 26% to 15% between 1998 and 2013. While, the share of the rural population, which was dependent on this sector, has reduced only marginally. This means India’s development models have to be robust enough to deliver dignity of life and sustainability of livelihoods at a scale. And in a pluralistic context that cannot be compared to any other country in the world.

FRAGMENTED LAND HOLDINGS

    India is a land of small farmers. According to Agri-Census 2000-01. Out of around 120 million total land households in the country, there are an estimated 98 million small and marginal holdings. The average size of small holdings is 1.4 ha which has squared down from 2.3 ha in 1971-72. The small holding character of Indian agriculture is much more prominent today than ever before. Though from efficiency point of view, small holdings are equal or better than large holdings. Poverty for small holding farmers is much higher than other farmers as small holdings do not raise enough agricultural income, so as to lift the marginal and small farm households above poverty level.

LOW LEVEL OF FORMAL EDUCATION:

    Education and skills are important for improving farming practices, investment and productivity. The low level of farmers’ education limits public dissemination of knowledge. The NSSO Farmers’ survey shows that awareness about bio-fertilizers, minimum support prices and WTO is associated with education levels.

    The literacy rate and mean years of education for unorganized farm workers is 53.4% compared to national average literacy of 74%.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION:

    Access to finance is critical for empowerment of rural communities. Though various initiatives have been taken by the Government and civil society organizations to mobilize the poor into self help groups (SHGs) and provide micro credit, much needs to be achieved. And as per the NSSO 59th round results:

  • 4% of farmer households are financially excluded from both formal and informal sources.
  • Overall, 73% of farmer households have no access to formal sources of credit.

GLOBALIZATION CHALLENGES:

    Increasing globalization has added to the problems faced by the small holding agriculture. The policies of huge subsidies and protection policies by developed countries have negative effects on small holding farmers in developing countries.

INSUFFICIENT CAPACITY BUILDING OF BENEFICIARIES:

    Out of the estimated 70 million rural below poverty line (BPL) households, 45 million households still need to be organized into SHGs. A significant number of these households are extremely vulnerable. In the absence of aggregate institutions for the poor, such as SHG federations, the poor households could not access higher order support services for productivity enhancement, marketing linkage, risk management among others. Most of the SHGs remain crowded in low productivity and primary sector activities.

POOR ABSORPTION OF TECHNOLOGY:

    ICT can play a significant role in taking best livelihood practices to the rural poor. However, absorption of technology remains poor in the countryside primarily due to lack of basic IT infrastructure, poor penetration of the internet and lack of awareness. Though mobile penetration has been robust, rural internet penetration has been estimated at just 6.7% in December 2013. There is a huge scope for open source software technology suitable for low resource settings especially for the under privileged communities.

WOMEN’S OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND:

    There are 400 million women who constitute 33% of the total population of India as per Census of India 2011. Land, in a rural agrarian economy is the source of food security, income and credit power. On the other hand, Indian agriculture is being progressively feminized with women doing the bulk of work. While 63% of India’s rural male work force is engaged in agriculture, the figure is as high as 79% for women. Women are increasingly engaging in pre-production, production and post-production activities abandoning the taboo associated with women ploughing the fields. Average farm labour by women in rural production is 55-66% of the total labour.

    In contrast to the large proportion of farm labour contributed by women, only 9.3% of rural women actually own land. In most of the landless and semi-landless families, women and children suffer from acute poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy. 83% of women engaged in agriculture don’t own the land. Since women don’t own land, they are not recognized as ‘farmers’ in Indian agricultural policy even though they are working on it full time- thus labour on their own land.

    HUMAN RESOURCES:

There is extreme dearth of qualified professionals willing to work in livelihood programs. Though management graduates can develop competency to handle livelihood projects. They are generally wired towards running businesses rather than managing livelihood issues which are connected with heterogeneous stakeholders and participants. Therefore, a special thrust to entice skilled professionals to work in this field will be a key challenge for the Government.

    So, it still remains a big challenge for India to uplift the marginal rural poor.

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

ARTICLE: THE FOOD-TASTE DIVIDE OF INDIA- SOMEONE’S DELICACY IS SOMEONE’S NIGHTMARE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

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    Like language and religion, taste of food also divides India. It may not sound absurd, if I chime in on a lighter note that meals divide, desserts synergize and only spirits unite. Because, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, North-East to Rajasthan it is the same old story, as Indian taste buds nicely know, how to differ since yore. In fact, the division starts from the time of cooking. Indian meals are cooked in various types of aromatic cooking oils and treated to some of the most pungent and tangy herbs and masalas, the combination of which may change by the number of colonies you may have in your city. So while there may be some affinity for the food-basket by locality, area, region or even a race, in the Indian kitchen. There is nothing too patriotic about the great Indian cuisine on a PAN India basis, as it is too vast to stand as one and united- and this does create a kind of dissonance in the Indian society. Yet, some local Indian dishes, processed food and street food have gone worldwide, and in return some foreign cuisine, fast-food and fusion food have adopted India.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

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4Historically speaking. Indian cuisine has a 5,000-year old history, of various groups and cultures in the subcontinent. Leading to diversity of flavours and regional cuisines found in modern day India. Also, given the range of diversity in soil type, climate and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian food-taste is also heavily influenced by seasonality, religious and cultural choices and traditions.

INDIAN FOOD PYRAMID: LOCAL, REGIONAL AND THE NATIONAL PLATTER

    Cuisines seldom have precise geographical divides. Instead they mostly have local and regional lovers for life that provides taste security within the customary food security. For, when a north Indian lands in the heart of South India he might get food blues, as he is insured by the latter but not by the former—taste security. For a delicacy of one, might be the nightmare of another.

    Indian food pyramid largely rests on water, cereals, vegetables, fruits, sea-food, milk, curd, meat and poultry. Mother earth offers raw ingredients, after which ethnicity takes over to process to individual tastes and delights.

 

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SOMEONE’S DELICACY COULD BE SOMEONE’S NIGHTMARE

The popular southern delicacy combos of Idli-Vada-Dosa-Uttahapam dipped in tangy Rasam or Sambhar served in Banana leaf with delicious coconut chutney might not gel well with a person from J&K, as all are not, the likes of foodies. The much hyped Butter-ChickenNaan, Chawal-Chole and Rajma-Chawal combo of north might leave a Tamilian half stuffed, and the sweet Gujarati Thali might find a Bihari running for his salt. Or a Kerala mutton curry cooked in coconut oil might even prompt a Muslim from U.P to give up non-veg altogether. And, last but not the least the taste of a raw fish from Andamans, a delicacy, might leave a fish-veteran from Bengal starved.

    Given that, there exists a difference between eating to ones delight than gobble and swallow just to survive. But the art of survival does teach you to create your own short-menu out of the spread.

HOW INDIA UNITES WITH A DIVERSE KITCHEN

    Mobility teaches the art of survival, when, one is forced to pick and choose a dish closest to the palate out of the unknown assortment in an alien kitchen. This has led to broad banding of taste through certain likeable dishes. While the base of Indian palate has remained within the confines of Dal-Chawal-Roti-Paratha-Sabzi-Saag-Kadi-Rajma-Chole-Meat-Chicken-Milk-Curd-Yogurt-Street food and Snacks. The variants of these have only created the diversity in the Indian kitchens.

    But in this regard a lot of hand holding has been done to broad base the food-taste pyramid of India. Mainly to homogenise the taste buds and to that extent some generic nomenclatures have become almost national food icons. Just to name a few: Tandoori chicken, Butter-chicken, Biryani, Keema, Kebab, Rogan-Josh, Korma, Chole-bature, Matar-Paneer, Poori, Papad, Dhokla, Bisi-bele-bath, Kachori, Samosa,Vada-paav, Batata-vada, the famous Indian Chaat, Pakora, Pooha, Daal-Baati, Gol Gappe and Pani-Puri, and from the Punjabi cuisine Paratha, stuffed Paratha especially in breakfast, Roti-made out of corn flour and Sarson-Da-Saag and Dal-Makhani and from the North-East Fried Rice, Noodles, Chilly chicken, Manchurian, Thupka-noodle soup and momos that have travelled places and become the hallmark and symbol of Indianness. And, not to forget the vast spread of Indian sweets that has always been a great leveler in terms Indian synergy. The South can of course boast of Dosa, Idli, Vada, Sambhar, Rasam and Uthapam.

BUT WHAT UNITES THE FOOD-TASTE BUDS OF CHILDREN AND THE YOUTH OF INDIA?

    Beyond the dividing spread of the Indian cuisine lies the unifying umbrella of some of the big food banners of India and abroad that have served the Indian populace for a long period of time now. To be more upright some are even serving the third generation now. Perhaps, they stole the Indian taste buds when they were young- ‘catch them- young’ as they phrased.

    Today, Domino’s Pizza India makes and sells four lakh pizzas a day or more than 12 crore pizzas a year and that speaks of the new food craze. Foreign beverages in India are serving the third generation with unified formulation. Indian Chinese largely a fusion cuisine is available across India. Burgers are available at any nook and corner and so are Maggi noodles. Tailor made Momos are even retailed out of handcarts in Delhi. Halidram’s Bhujia Peanuts and Namkeen are available in any market as an evening snack. Potato chips and wafers of MCcain or any other, could be any child’s preference. And why forget the tasty chocolates, yoghurt and morning oats and cornflakes that children prefer over any other Indian breakfast. Not to forget the all-tasty basket of biscuits from Britannia or any other brand with hot tea. Of course one can’t forget Amul and Mother dairy for their Yogurt and milk as an add-on to any Indian breakfast; for there is no North, South, East and West divide about these branded food products as they come with one taste or max a tweaked variant.

    And how quietly and neatly they have sneaked into the Indian kitchen space. Easy to make, easy to serve and easy to preserve.

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

Article: SMALL TRACTORS-POWER TILLERS- THE LIKELY TOTEMPOLE OF NEXT GREEN REVOLUTION OF INDIA

Copyright@shravancharitymission

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SULKING INDIAN AGRICULTURE

Agriculture remains the mainstay of India, even when it doesn’t contribute sufficiently to the Indian GDP. Around 65% of Indian population depends directly on agriculture when it only accounts for 22% of the GDP. But Indian agriculture now needs to undergo a paradigm shift to feed double the mouths since the last green revolution. Further, farm mechanization, agri-inputs, cropping patterns and seed varieties need to be refurbished to suit new agri challenges such as continuous soil erosion, depleting ground water levels, alarming farm labour situation and sparse market linkages. And this calls for a major overhaul on the production side of agriculture. To tackle issues such as, increase in farm produce and better farm economics, which brings us to the moot point of need based farm mechanization.

ISSUES AT HAND

India which is 17% of the world population. But it still cultivates with either the draught animals, which are inefficient and expensive to maintain or by high horsepower tractors owned by large farmers, which are few in numbers. So the daunting question is, when more than 80 percent of the Indian farmers are small and marginal why they are not in a position to purchase tractors below hp (horsepower) 22. Is it because of the government policies that are blocking the smooth transition from draught animals to small tractors and power tillers? and what is more baffling is:

  • Small farmers don’t have a requirement of large tractors. With the amount of land they hold a tractor of 25 hp engine or more is not needed in small and medium farm size. Especially, when statistics for power availability for various agricultural operations, which is an indicator of mechanization has increased from 0.3 kilowatt per hectare in 1971-72 to 1.4 kilowatt per hectare in 2003-04.
  • Even though government puts in subsidies on tractors, farmers don’t get their free will to choose, as large manufacturers step-in to sell their own brands at the behest of Government. So if we are talking of free markets why this nudging?

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HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Tractors in India were imported initially in 1960s mainly from the US and European countries, prime being the erstwhile Soviet Union. Since these countries historically had large holdings, these machines too were manufactured in the range of medium and high horsepower to suit their own land holding sizes.

Thus, started the of lasting culture of medium and high horsepower tractors in India. Even when our land holding size way back in 1960s was far less than the European and American standards and in the range of around 3 hectares.

This as a beginning was understandable but somewhere down the line a course correction was required, which didn’t happen. Presumably, because the entire technology was new, and we were devoid of the basic sense of change or even the skill to adapt. Small was not beautiful then. A similar trend we had in the auto sector where in you had those bulky fuel guzzlers. But then the auto industry caught the imagination of their customers which farm mechanization industry didn’t.

IMPORT AND MANUFACTURING HISTORY

In the year 1961-62, first time around 880 tractors were assembled from kits purchased from British and German firms. Imports stopped in 1977 but industry’s extended honeymoon with these manufacturers continued as hand holding was required to build sufficient production bandwidth. Although, India got independence in 1947 and the socialist leaning government’s five-year plans of 1950s and 1960s aggressively promoted farm mechanizations, our production of tractors was sluggish. But by late 1980s tractor production moved upwards to 140,000 units per year, yet the prevalence rate was just 2 tractors per 1,000 farmers.

ECONOMIC REFORMS AND FAO PERSPECTIVE

Post economic reforms in 1991, with the steady pace of change, the production of tractors increased to 270,000 units per annum. And in early 2000, India overtook the US as the world’s largest producer of four-wheel tractors. FAO estimated in 1999. Of the total agricultural area in India, less than 50% was under mechanized land preparation. Thereby, indicating large opportunities still existed, and projected this in favour of small machines. Steadily growing, India in 2013 produced 619,000 tractors accounting for 29% of world’s production. And, India currently has 16 domestic and 4 multinational corporations manufacturing tractors.

SOLITARY EFFORT OF 20 HP– Swaraj story:

India had approached the erstwhile Soviet Union in the mid 1960s for R&D and manufacturing support to develop a 20 hp tractor, but they refused. This project was later taken up by Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) under the council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

CMERI put together a team. They started by studying tractors of other makes that were in the market. Their first prototype was ready in May 1967 but when it was taken for trial it collapsed. Learning from the failure, they developed a second prototype, testing of which was done in October 1968, which proved satisfactory. Independent field trials later at other institutes were also successful. The tractor was called Swaraj. This Company was later promoted by Punjab State Industrial Corporation and turned out to be a blue chip company.

Besides Swaraj no other company tried to delve into 20 hp category for a long time. Until the solo effort was followed by a Delhi based company SAS Motors Ltd that has launched tractor in 15-24 hp category.

LAND HOLDING VS TRACTOR HORSEPOWER MISMATCH?

In 1960s the average land holding size was around 3 hectares (7.4 acres) and in 2010-11 it declined to 1.15ha (at an average level), which is below 3 acres on a more prevalent terminology. And, with these vital statistics, both growth and technological up gradation should have been in the low horse-power segment or in the power tiller segment. But that is clearly not the case. On the contrary both growth and technological up-gradation has been in the medium and high horsepower tractors, apparently because of foreign influence. Where, more likely the low horsepower range of tractors were discouraged because of low margins and high overheads of large manufacturing corporations and also the fatigue and capital cost of introducing a new genre.

For small and marginal farmers, low priced, small tractors of 15-24 hp was required. This generic need was highlighted as early as 1970 when (NCA )National Commission on Agriculture was set up.

At the turn of the century, India had around 2.67 million tractors, which was more than NCA projections. But category wise the number were skewed. As around 1.47 million tractors were in the 31-40 hp category, 0.65 million were in > 40 hp category and 0.68 million were in < 30 hp category. And only a part of 0.68 million tractors below 30 hp comprised of small tractors for which NCA had projected a figure of over 2 million. This large gap is surprising and reveals the callous approach of the government towards small farmers. One can perhaps safely derive that non availability made them go for higher hp tractors thereby spoiling their farm economics. And the quantity of power tillers sold was merely seventy thousand.

But then who was responsible for throwing NCA’s calculation, off balance? Well, no one can pin pointedly say who. But yes, to a certain extent the agricultural community as a whole, together with the Indian tractor industry, can be questioned on this. Instead of small tractors they came up with medium and heavy tractors, which benefited only the large farmers, and as a result tractors got concentrated only in a few states which benefitted from the green revolution such as Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh (See table: some benefit)

Some benefit
Tractor sales over the last five years
States Tractors sales during last five years Area under cultivation
(‘000 hectares)
UP 290,513 17,986
MP 144,049 22,111
Punjab 121,903 4,033
Rajasthan 95,450 20,971
Haryana 89,346 3,711
Gujarat 76,439 10,293
Bihar 72,467 10,743
AP 68,994 14,461
Maharashtra 66,876 20,925
Karnataka 43,163 12,322
Tamil Nadu 38,852 7,474
Orissa 14,473 5,296
Other states 65,210 15,181
Total 1,188,735 165,507
Sources: Economic Survey 2003-04 & Indian At A Glance 2004

We all agree mechanization is an unavoidable farming tool. For, productivity has to increase along with cost and economics, and that alone is sustainable in the long run. But looking at the perfunctory approach of the government, the big question would be whether farmers should go in for small tractors or still rely of animal power. It may therefore not be out of place to mention relevant statistics of animal power.

STATISTICS ON ANIMAL POWER

– India’s 83 million draught animals carry more than 5 times the freight and four times the passenger traffic carried by railways, in terms of originating traffic.

– Draught animal power contributes 30000 megawatt of power.

– It saves 24 million tonnes of diesel per year, worth more than Rs 33,000 crore.

– Draught animals cultivate about 65% of India’s total cultivable land area

– The present value of draught animals (Rs 50,000-1,00,000/pair) is Rs 2,07,500 crore even on a very conservative estimate.

– It would take 8.3 million tractors to replace draught animal power. This would cost Rs 32,490 crore; so then why is this segment not growing?

– Draught animals provide dung worth Rs 5,000 crore annually. Five million tonnes of firewood will be needed to substitute this.

The crisis around the farmer’s traditional tiller- the draught animal is continuously growing. Even though farmers still rely on draught animals their importance is being undermined by tractors.

According to an NCA report, man can provide a power equivalent to 0.07 hp, a woman 0.05 hp, a bullock/buffalo 0.40 hp, a camel 1 hp and a tractor at least 14 hp. In 1951, the farm power available was just 0.25 kilowatt per ha (KW/ha) of which 97 percent came from draught animals. This has now gone up by almost 6 times to 1.40 KW/ha and the corresponding increase in food grain by four times, and so an optimum, farm mechanization, is the need of the hour.

Farm mechanization is also important from the aspect that 65% of our cultivable area consists of dry farming or rain fed farming where the window of soil bed preparation is very small and if we are unable to do seedbed preparation and sowing in a timely manner, given the receding soil moisture, yields will drastically reduce.

However, 70% percent farmers still use draught animals where they can easily be upgraded to small farm mechanization tools. Such as small hp tractors or power tillers, but for this to happen; government policies should start focusing on the needs of the small farmer.

COMPARISON BETWEEN DRAUGHT ANIMALS AND TRACTOR

Draught animals and tractors are complementary sources of power on Indian farms, and will continue like that for many more years, to meet the ever burgeoning demand of power and of increased production and productivity. A report of 1987 says that a 35 hp tractor can prepare a seed-bed and sow 0.2 (ha) in one hour at Rs 270-300 per ha. Bullocks for the same operation require the entire day at Rs 300 per ha. The problem is draught animals have to be fed throughout the year but their optimal use is restricted to around three months in a year.

INDIAN AGRI DISCONNECT

  • Tractors in India are out of reach for the majority of the farmers. The cheapest being Rs 1.8 lakh almost as much as a new car.
  • Barely 2% of the 115 million farmers own a tractor according to the 1995-96 agriculture, census. Yet they cultivate almost 1/3rd of the countries arable land. This itself highlights the efficient toughness of farm mechanization.
  • Most farmers possessing tractors are rich and own large land holdings. Rate of ploughing is Rs 200-250/hr or Rs 2-2500/hectare
  • But small farmers are unable to reap such benefits. For them a low priced, small tractor of 15-24 HP would be ideal. This need was recognized as early as 1970 when the National Commission on Agriculture (NCA) was set up. After a 5 year study, NCA submitted a long report in 1976, which also recommended the type and quantity of tractors India should have by 2000: 2.08 million tractors and power tillers (a farm machine, with two wheels, to till the soil) below 15HP, 0.12 million medium tractors of 35 HP & 80,000 65 HP tractors, which taken together would total 2.28 million
  • This policy argued that 2.08 million tractors and power tillers below 15 hp were needed for small and medium farmers. Besides, they are also considered more suitable for paddy cultivation — the country’s dominant food grain crop — than medium (25-40 hp) and heavy (above 40 hp) tractors.

ALL TIME PANACEA FOR SULKING INDIAN AGRICULTURE IS FARM MECHANIZATION OF THE RIGHT KIND:

  • To graduate from animal tilling to mechanized tilling and that to by small tractors, power tillers and other economical high precision equipments commensurate with land holding size of small and medium farmers, keeping in mind their farm economics.
  • An option less farmer has to buy a 35 hp category tractor that costs around 5 lacs with bank loan at a high rate of interest, even if he doesn’t require this product. This should be substituted by small tractors or even power tillers.
  • GOI provides a subsidy of 25% limited up to 30,000 tractors. Wherein also, the farmer is cajoled to buy certain brands and this needs to stop forthwith, as user of the product should alone be the decider by any diktat of consumerism.
  • Tractors available in the range of 25-40 hp use advance western technologies, which may not be required for small holdings and this makes the product expensive. In fact what is needed is a below 25 hp tractor or a power tiller that is gender friendly and useful for ‘nuclear farming’ just as a nuclear family. The cost of such tractors will bring down the farmers cost by 50%. As against his investments and maintenance in a pair of bullocks, which requires to be fed and taken care of even when it is not generating any revenue, and also serves best only for a time span of 5-6 years.
  • Farmers need to come out of the clutches of debt to make agriculture more exploring, exciting, remunerative, and even status oriented. This can happen only if simple and cheap technologies are used in conjunction and proportion to their earnings. According to 59th survey by NSSO (January-December 2003) out of 89.35 million farmer households, 43.42 million (48.6%) were reported to be in debt. But in a similar survey in 1991 only showed 26% were in debt.

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ARTICLE- INDIAN AGRI’S CHINK IN THE ARMOUR

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    If the 2011 agri census had its way. It would huff, puff and jostle the policy makers to have a hard look at the stressed agri scenario of India. That is entering from the back doors of gradual reduction in operating land holding size. It may sound primordial. Yet the tremors are only getting closer to the feet, slowly and steadily.

    Let’s take a close look at some of the key statistics thrown up by agriculture census of 2011. Which are rather alarming. More for those who thrive on agriculture and considering the fact that the census takes place every five years. What will emerge in the next one, could only be a heart broken anticipation coming true.

LAND HOLDING PATTERN UNDER STRESS

    The total no of operational holding has increased from 129.22 million hectares (ha) in 2005-06 to 138.35 million ha in 2010-11, showing an increase of 7.06%. This may sound good.

    The operated area has also increased to 159.59 million ha in 2010-11 from 158.32 million ha in 2005-06. A marginal increase of only 0.80%.

    But the average operational size of land holding which was 1.23 ha in 2005-06 has declined to 1.15 ha in 2010-11, at an all India level. Which is below 3 acres on a more prevalent terminology. What it might be in the census of 2015-16 could be anyone’s wild guess. All in all, this shift will only bring about economic stress. That will perforce change the farming paraphernalia of an Indian farmer. But are we ready for it is the moot question?

    From the veritable census report in the table below one finds. The small and marginal <2 ha operational area has gone up from 41.14% to 44.58%. While both semi medium, medium and large holding have come down. And the average operational size of holding in <2 ha class has gone up from 83.29% to 85.01%. Now this should at least ring bells if not alarm bells. Further the table also conveys:

REDUCTION SWING IN SIZE OF LAND HOLDINGS
CENSUS-2005-06 CENSUS- 2010-11
SMALL AND MARGINAL < 2HA
AVEARAGE OPERATED SIZE OF HOLDING 83.29% 85.01%
OPERATED AREA 41.14% 44.58%
SEMI MEDIUM AND MEDIUM 2.00 HA-10HA
AVERAGE OPERATED SIZE OF HOLDING 15.85% 14.29%
OPERATED AREA 47.05% 44.88%
LARGE HOLDING > 10.00HA    
AVERAGE OPERATED SIZE OF HOLDING 0.85% 0.70%
OPERATED AREA 11.82% 10.59%

1012

    Major farm productivity is going to come from <2 ha holdings. Therefore, the methodology of agriculture production changes from heavy and medium to mini and micro farm equipment. Which is a capital cost change for the industry. Distribution and marketing too will have to retract and align to the scattered farm production. That is helter-skelter logistics and smaller heaps to carry and deliver.

THE NEW PAGE IN FARM MECHANIZATION

    Reduction in the size of average operational land holding by 6.50% over the last five years ending 2011. Together with the trending future and historical past, has not gone on deaf years with major Farm mechanization companies. As they too, over the years, have added, scaled down variants of lower horse power (HP) tractors in their stable. That is from 60 to 45 to 35 to 25 and now to even 16 (HP). Yet the break-even points of these machines are spilling on to the kuccha village roads or the tarmac roads where they carry passengers, work in brick-kiln and get into seasonal transport jobs to make two ends meet.

    Also mere reduction of HP will not be sufficient in bringing about farmer profitability. The present average land holding size denotes–Like a nuclear family have nuclear farming. But this nuclear farming will be viable only with tilling machines in the range of 3 to 7 HP along with allied paraphernalia. Machines that even a lady can operate and that are self-sustainable, in terms of cost by the income of the farm alone. And do not escrow with other seasonal side operations to break even. Therefore, it is not far when the early birds of the industry will arrive in this segment.

    As a concerned friend of the farmers. I feel the Government of India needs to take a pragmatic view of the ensuing scenario, and work out a complete package for the new trendsetting ‘nuclear farming.’ Which I feel is a new skill set. And I say this for the following reason.

    For etching a full time farming career from a farm of less than 3 acres would mean performing most farm activities yourself. Or in the company of your spouse, and this would require small farm machines for all activities to match that. Especially, when the net farming profitability per acre stands around twenty five to thirty thousand rupees per annum per acre. That too on irrigated land.

    Indian agriculture has been slow but steady in catching signals of change. Perhaps, it is waiting for a point when push comes to shove. But this time it needs to be proactive. And it has the capability to imbibe change. Where, the GOI must facilitate with appropriate policies.

By Kamlesh Tripathi- Ex: General Manager, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.; Head Operations, Mahindra Shubh Labh Services Ltd.; Head-Agri-Business & Head Engines for Gensets, Escorts Ltd.; Vice President, Reliance Retail; Head of Marketing & Sales, SAS Motors; (WRITER AND AUTHOR).

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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