India is an agricultural country. Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy. The most striking characteristic of the economic life in India is the overwhelming preponderance of agriculture represented by the fact that three out of every four person in the country is devoted to agriculture. Agriculture provides practically all the food grains consumed in the country, and yields larger quantities of raw materials like cotton, jute, oil-seeds, etc. for the principal manufacturing industries.
The need for agricultural improvement is imperative from many points of view. It will lead to an improvement in the economic condition of the masses and raise their standard of living. It will ensure adequate food supply for the population of the country. The effects of improved agriculture on industry are no less important. The increased purchasing power of the rural masses will provide a large home market for absorbing the products of the home manufacturer. Improvement in agriculture will necessarily imply a growing mechanization of its process and may be expected to bring into existence large manufacturing establishments to produce agricultural tools and machinery.
Although agriculture is practically the only national industry in India, it is conducted under the unsatisfactory conditions and the average yield per acre of the different crops is consequently much lower than in countries where agriculture is better organized. One of the obvious causes of low productivity in India is the uncertain character of the rainfall. Apart from shortage and abnormal distribution of rainfall there are other causes such as floods, hail storms, frosts and other vagaries of climate, which have an injurious effect on crops. Irrigation supplies a partial corrective to deficiency of rainfall. Much damage is also caused by wild animals, rats, locusts and other pests. Various agricultural departments have addressed themselves with some success to the tasks of devising and popularizing remedies against them. Inefficient tillage, old implements and the under-equipment of the agriculturist further account for the low yield. The passive sub-division and fragmentation of land leads to the low yield. The accessive sub-division and fragmentation of land leads to the low yield. It is universally recognised that it is highly important to improve the productivity of land in India, and further that proper care of the soil and the application of adequate quantities of improved manure are the only means of improving the yield.
Modern age is the age of science. Science has created a great change in every walk of our life. It has become a means of progress and prosperity. We see that industries are flourishing very rapidly on the liens of scientific improvement. Therefore scientific means should be introduced in agriculture in order to get more yield. Science has provided new and rapid means of irrigation, good manures and improved seeds and new tools and implements for the betterment of agriculture in our country. These days science is wedded to every industry including agriculture and cottage industries. It has brought about a great change in the present world.
There are many reasons why our agriculture cannot afford to depend exclusively on rainfall and why it is necessary to provide the agriculture with suitable irrigation facilities. There are many parts like Rajputana which are practically rainless, so that cultivation is impossible except by artificial irrigation which is mainly scientific in character. There are three main kinds of irrigation means in India—wells, tanks and canals. Tube-wells and other improvements are especially promoted by the engineering section of the agricultural department. The scientific measures are increasing the scope of irrigation. Tanks and canals are being especially encouraged by the Government of India. Storage works, canals are being constructed by building dams across the valley to store the rain water during the monsoon.’ After independence we find a great change in the irrigation methods. Our Government has been trying hard in this sphere of agriculture. Large amount of money has been sanctioned for irrigation facilities under the Five Year Plans. Bhakra Dam Project has changed the condition of agriculture.
It is no exaggeration to say that efficient agriculture depends on the qualities of the man behind the plough more than anything else. Our ignorant peasants do not want to get improved seeds. They sow their old seeds. Our cooperative societies and agriculture departments have tried their best to introduce new and good seeds and it has been experimented that these improved seeds yield good grains in good quantity. Thus the attention of our uneducated farmers should be attracted towards these new and good seeds prepared by scientific experiments.
The application of manure and fertilizers is a vital factors in increasing the yield from the soil especially in view of the intense pressure on the land and the fall in world prices of agricultural production. The Indian cultivator has to learn much from the Chinese and the Japanese cultivator with regard to the manufacture of composts. Deep pits should be used for this purpose. Green manure should be given in larger quantity. The value of leguminous crops should be realised by the Indian farmers. Ammonium sulphate and other kinds of manure prepared by scientific means are in vogue these days. That is why the production is increasing. Agricultural department and associations and co-operative societies should combine their activities in the work of popularising the use of improved implements. Science has stepped into the sphere of cattle-breeding. Cattle are the most important part of the livestock possessed by the farmer. They should be improved through scientific breeding. The veterinary department is making certain reforms in dairy farming and in the cattle-breeding.
The salvation of the Indian peasant lies in adopting intensive methods of cultivation. This involves more expenditure on implements and irrigation, efficient cultivation, careful selection of seed, a better system of rotation of crops on scientific basis and adequate manuring. Thus it is only science through which lies the progress of agriculture and the salvation of Indian peasants.