Monsoon is the lifeline of Indian Agriculture. In the light of this statement discuss ways to ensure food and farmer’s income security in case of a weak monsson.(250 words)

Mentor’s Comment

  1. Discuss monsoon’s importance for Indian Agriculture.
  2. Give precautionary steps that should be taken to ensure food and income security.
  3. Conclude on optimistic way to reduce the dependence on monsoon.

The Indian agriculture is considered a gamble against monsoon because agricultural activities
over almost all parts of India are very much dependent upon the monsoon rainfall. In fact,
monsoon is the axis around which the India economy revolves. 

Monsoon critical for agriculture in India-
1. The monsoon is the lifeblood for India’s farm-dependent $2 trillion economy, as at least
half the farmlands are rain-fed.
2. The country gets about 70% of annual rainfall in the June-September monsoon season,
making it crucial for an estimated 263 million farmers.
3. About 800 million people live in villages and depend on agriculture, which accounts for
about 15% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and a failed monsoon can have a
rippling effect on the country’s growth and economy.
4. Whereas, a normal to above-normal and well-distributed monsoon boosts farm output and
farmers’ income, thereby increasing the demand for consumer and automotive products
in rural markets.

Impact of Monsoon on the Indian Economy
1. The monsoon has a direct impact on the country’s agricultural GDP. The planting of key
kharif, or summer, crops like rice, sugar cane, pulses and oilseeds begins with the arrival
of monsoon rains in June.
2. Summer crops account for almost half of India’s food output and a delayed or poor
monsoon means supply issues and acceleration in food inflation, a key metric which
influences Reserve Bank of India’s decision on interest rates.
3. A deficit monsoon could also lead to a drought-like situation, thereby affecting the rural
household incomes, consumption and economic growth.
4. A poor monsoon not only leads to weak demand for fast-moving consumer goods, two-
wheelers, tractors and rural housing sectors but also increases the imports of essential
food staples and forces the government to take measures like farm loan waivers, thereby
putting pressure on finances. 
5. Most of the Indian power project installed on the Perennial Rivers. If monsoon fails, it
would lower the water levels that have detrimental effects on the power generation as
well as irrigation facilities.
6. Weak Monsoon is strongly correlated with receding water table which has worsened the
farmer distress.

To ensure food and farmer’s income security in case of a weak monsson requires comprehensive
and broad approach as with climate change monsoon variability is bound to increase which need
holistic transformation which include-

1. Development Initiatives- Some recent initiatives like fasal bima yojana, krishi sichani
yojana, promotion to micro/drip irrigation, Organic farming etc need to be expedited
especially to small and marginal farmers.
2. Interlinking of river is a strong initiative with high potential to raise farm income, but
require time bound implementation. Eg Godavari-Krishna River.
3. Making agriculture Climate resilient which includes enhanced carbon sink in soils,
precise weather forecasts, access to market intelligence for timely decision making by
farming community and efficient water, energy and input use. Eg-NICRA
4. There is a need for capacity development in frontier areas to bridge the knowledge gap
(linking with Skill India).
5. Promotion of weather-resistant crop varieties like flood and salinity resistant rice and
drought-resistant pulses should be promoted and further improved. Likewise short-cycle
crops of particular region which can withstand heat and ripen before heavy rains should
be given due recognition. Eg Narendra 97 is a good example of a short cycle paddy crop
grown in Uttar Pradesh that can deal with intense heat and ripens in a shorter period than
the commonly cultivated paddy. 
6. Promotion to Agro-forestry and Mixed cropping like growing paddy with pulses, millets
and vegetables should be promoted to ensure food security in case one of the crops fail
due to drought or floods.
7. Promotion to agriculture allied sectors like Animal husbandry, Fisheries, Apiculture etc.

The need of hour is to use best technologies and services to boost production, income and reduce
climate risks, it will also contribute to Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
Therefore, a realistic evaluation of constraints and opportunities is critical for improvising
ecological, technological, social and economic factors affecting farming community.

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