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India Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
More than half of the working Indians work in agriculture. In recent years, the industry has been plagued by prolonged drought and falling producer prices. Many farmers are indebted and find it difficult to support their families. Farmer protests against agricultural policy are common.
More than half of India's surface is used for some form of cultivation. However, a large part of the earth is rather lean due to erosion (soil destruction) and salinization. It is a result of many years of severe population pressure. Extending the cultivated area to a greater extent is hardly possible. Increased production must instead be achieved through more efficient cultivation methods. The shortage of land has led to increased competition between those who want to grow food products for domestic consumption and those who want to grow for export.
Wheat and rice are the most important crops. India is a major producer of sugar (mostly for domestic use) and tea (including the famous Darjeeling tea) as well as jute. Other important products are cotton, oilseeds, coffee, tobacco, rubber, spices and potatoes.
Despite extensive expansion of the irrigation, more than half of the agricultural land is still dependent on monsoon rains. If the rain fails for a year, the crops will deteriorate drastically. This has led to growing differences between the population's level of living in areas with irrigation (mainly northwestern India and around the major river delta) and rain-dependent areas.
Still, most of agriculture is practiced mainly in the form of self-sustaining. Most of the land is owned by small farmers. Only 4 percent of the farmers have more than ten hectares, just over 30 percent of the units are less than two hectares. Almost one third of rural households own no land at all.
Disputed agricultural policy
Really successful land reforms have only really been implemented in the states of West Bengal and Kerala. There, but also to an increasing extent elsewhere, the rapid migration into the cities leads to farmers selling their plots to neighbors, which thus gain larger land and can conduct more efficient farming. More and more farmers are also using new technologies such as computers and the Internet. The so-called green revolution of the 1960s has, for India's part, meant that the country is now not only self-sufficient in cereals but also receives a surplus.
India is investing in increased exports, but only a small part of agricultural production is sold abroad. In the early 2000s, freedom of trade in agricultural products increased. Contributions to farmers decreased, subsidies on artificial fertilizers were almost completely abolished. In their turn, this led to widespread protests - and even a wave of suicide - among poor peasants unable to support their families.
The Congress-led government (2004–2014) therefore invested in improvements for the rural population, such as increased irrigation, greater access to credit and job guarantees. The state's budget deficit rose sharply as a result of new subsidies on fuel and manure, as well as debt write-offs for the farmers.
In 2013, a law was passed on the right to food, which meant that the government undertook to buy wheat and rice at a guaranteed minimum price from the growers and then distribute it to two-thirds of the country's population at a heavily subsidized price. However, it turned out that almost 40 percent of the grain did not benefit the needy but ended up in the free market. At the same time, thanks to the guarantee price, the farmers mainly chose to invest in these crops at the expense of others who must therefore be imported. It also led to a surplus of rice and wheat which the government had trouble storing - some were exported, some were simply destroyed.
During the BJP government (2014–), the peasant population suffered a growing crisis due to falling producer prices, increased indebtedness and the most severe drought in decades. Many peasants felt let down by the government that had promised better living conditions for the rural population. When the peasants carried out large protest marches, the government promised new subsidies to agriculture through government purchases of more crops at minimum price than before. Tens of thousands of local marketplaces would also be equipped.
The Holy Zebun
In India there are about one fifth of all cattle in the world. The Indian cow, sebun, is considered sacred and therefore must not be slaughtered or eaten by pure Hindus (who are often vegetarians). Of course, nothing prevents a Hindu from selling his cow to a non-Hindu butcher.
For Westerners, the sacred cows have long emerged as a strange religious belief. But the cows actually contribute to the Indian economy in important ways: they are used as draft animals; for Hindu vegetarians, milk is an important source of protein; Coal waste is an important - albeit not so environmentally friendly - fuel; the cocoa leaves, which are taken care of by low throwers, provide for example hides and bone meal.
However, livestock management, possibly with the exception of the buffalo breeding, does not play a major role in food supply, nor does fishing, if one looks at India as a whole. However, regionally, mainly in Kerala and West Bengal, fishing is of great importance.
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FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
14.5 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
60.4 percent (2016)
Modi visits Pakistan
On his way home from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Modi makes a surprise visit to Pakistan and meets his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. It is the first time an Indian Prime Minister has been visiting Pakistan since 2004. Modi receives a cordial reception and the two gentlemen close in for a two-hour conversation. No details on what is being dealt with leak out. The opposition in both countries condemns the visit.
More death sentences for group rape
An Indian court sentenced seven men to death by hanging for group rape and murder of a Nepali woman in northern India in February 2015. An eighth perpetrator is a minor and is facing trial in a juvenile court. A ninth offender kills himself after the arrest.
Protests when the rapist is released
Big demonstrations erupt when one of the five men convicted of group rape in Delhi 2012 is released. The released person is the youngest of the perpetrators and was a minor when the crime was committed. He was sentenced to a maximum of three years in juvenile detention and has now served his sentence. The young man is placed in special housing with high security.
Emergency action against Delhi's bad air
The Supreme Court orders a series of measures to reduce air pollution in Delhi that has reached record levels. Sales of large, diesel-powered vehicles are temporarily prohibited and trucks older than ten years may not drive into the city.
Solar Alliance Formation
At the COP21 Global Climate Summit in Paris, Modi and France's President Hollande launch an international solar energy alliance. The alliance includes 120 countries that will invest in solar energy. The Delhi government is expected to invest $ 30 million in start-up capital at the Alliance headquarters in India. The alliance will raise $ 400 million in membership fees and international organizations.
Four dead in fire fighting in Kashmir
Indian soldiers kill three suspected rebels and another man when armed perpetrators attack an army posting in Indian Kashmir near the Pakistan border.
Regional parties win the elections in Bihar
The BJP loses the state elections in Bihar. A coalition of regional parties wins 178 of the 243 seats, while the BJP takes home 58 seats.
India offers loans and assistance to Africa
In a speech at the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, Modi is offering $ 10 billion in loans to Africa over the next five years as well as $ 600 million in assistance. The initiative is an attempt by India to challenge China's influence in Africa and to gather support among Africa's leaders for a permanent place for India in the UN Security Council.
Climate plan submitted to UN - India invests in solar power
In the climate plan that India submitted to the UN before the climate summit in Paris in December, promising the country to 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent in relation to GDP. The government also promises that at least 40 percent of the electricity consumed in the country will come from fossil-free fuels by 2030. Only the US and China release more greenhouse gases than India, which at the same time as the climate plan announces major investments in solar energy.
Caste-related violence in Gujarat
A large demonstration in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is degenerating as violent clashes erupt between police and protesters. The action is led by the influential caste patel, which requires more state jobs and university places to go to members of their cast. When their leader, Hardik Patel, is temporarily arrested by police, riot breaks out between patel and police as well as members of other castes. At least eight people are killed, including several police officers. The army is deployed and curfews are introduced. One fifth of Gujarat's population is patel, which dominates the state's lucrative diamond trade. Many patels are well-ordered businessmen or big farmers. However, Patel is dissatisfied that lower castes are quoted for government jobs and training places, which makes it difficult for Patel to get such jobs and more.
Trade negotiations with the EU are suspended
India is suspending negotiations with the EU on a trade agreement because the EU is imposing an import ban on 700 Indian manufactured drugs which the Union considers are not well tested enough.
Exchange of enclaves with Bangladesh
India and Bangladesh exchange control of about 160 small enclaves on either side of the border: 111 in Bangladesh and 51 in India. Most residents choose to stay where they live but change their nationality.
Peace Agreement in Nagaland
The government signs a peace agreement with a separatist group in the state of Nagaland. For over 60 years, the rebels of the National Socialist Council have been fighting for their people's group to form their own state. An armistice has been going on between the federal government and the separatist group since 1997, but there has been no political settlement.
Prisoners are executed for financing explosives
Yakub Memon, sentenced to death for funding a series of blasts in Mumbai in 1993, is executed by hanging in the Nagpur jail in Maharashtra. 257 people were killed when around twelve explosives detonated at various locations in Mumbai. The attacks were reportedly a revenge for many Muslims being killed in religiously motivated rallies between Hindus and Muslims a few months earlier. Memon is the fourth convicted prisoner to be executed in India since 2004.
Seven dead in attack on police station in Punjab
Seven people, including three civilians, are killed when three unknown perpetrators dressed in military uniforms attack a police station in Gurdaspur in the state of Punjab near the Pakistan border. Similar assaults are uncommon in Punjab. A fire fight is going on between the police and the attackers for eleven hours before the perpetrators retire. The Interior Ministry says the attackers are from Pakistan. India strengthens security along the border.
Tensions are rising between India and Pakistan
The day before the meeting between Modi and Sharif (see below), tensions between India and Pakistan increase, as India accuses the neighboring country of having killed a border guard in Kashmir, which led to an exchange of fire across the disputed border. Four civilians lose their lives in Pakistan and one woman is killed on the Indian side. Several people are injured on both sides. Pakistan also shoots down a drone that the Pakistani authorities claim is Indian, but India denies that the country sent any drone across the border.
Modi meets his Pakistani colleague
Prime Minister Modi meets his Pakistani colleague, Nawaz Sharif, at a meeting in Russia and accepts an invitation to visit Pakistan in 2016. It will be Modi's first visit to the neighboring country since he came to power. Modi and Sharif also agree to speed up the trial of the men accused of planning the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008 and to hold a high-level meeting to discuss terrorism.
The Indian Army enters Myanmar
The Indian army attacks the rebel strongholds in Myanmar (formerly Burma), after about 20 Indian soldiers were killed in ambush against an army column in the state of Manipur in the northeast. After the assault, the Indian rebels must have crossed the porous border with Myanmar, after which the Indian army followed and destroyed two rebel strongholds. Myanmar authorities were notified of the intrusion, according to Indian military sources.
Defense agreement with the United States
India and the United States enter into a 10-year framework agreement for defense cooperation. Among other things, the countries will jointly develop and manufacture defense equipment and technology.
Modi is visiting China
Prime Minister Modi visits China. The two countries enter into trade and cooperation agreements worth a total of $ 22 billion. The agreements concern collaboration in everything from industrial production and sustainable energy to natural science research and infrastructure development.
Cooperation on Iranian port
India and Iran decide to jointly develop the port of Chabahar in southeastern Iran. The agreement gives India a trade route to Afghanistan that does not go through Pakistan.
India buys French fighter aircraft
On a visit to France, Prime Minister Modi announces that India will buy 36 French-made fighter aircraft of the Rafale type. The acquisition is part of an investment in a total of 126 fighter aircraft that India will buy from France.
Indians condemn the release of the man behind the Mumbai killing
Pakistani authorities release Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi who has been detained in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi suspected of being the brain behind the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008. Lakhvi is released on bail pending trial. The decision stirs up a storm of condemnation from India, where it is believed that the release is an "insult" to the 166 victims of the attacks.
Entrepreneurs and farmers receive financial support
Modi launches MUDRA Bank, which will be able to give credit to small businesses and regulate the micro-credit institutions. Modi also promises higher compensation to farmers who lost a third or more of their harvest in unexpected rainfall that does not follow the monsoon periods.
Air quality index is introduced
Prime Minister Modi introduces an index of air quality measurement in ten of India's cities. The index will later be extended to all state capitals and cities with a population of over one million inhabitants.
Brutal rape on 74-year-old nun
Once again, India is shaken by a serious crime committed against a woman. Six men are filmed by a surveillance camera when they first rob and vandalize a monastery school in West Bengal and then rape a 74-year-old nun inside the convent itself. Demonstrations against widespread female violence are erupting in several cities. The attack follows a series of attacks against churches and other Christian institutions around India, creating insecurity among the Christian minority.
Laws on social media and the Internet are annulled
The Supreme Court rejects a law that has allowed the police to arrest people for comments they have spread on social media and other internet sites. The Court ruled that the law contravenes the country's constitution which provides for freedom of expression. The so-called "Section 66A" is considered by the Court to be too sweeping in its wording that comments that "cause irritation and discomfort" can result in imprisonment. A number of people have been convicted in accordance with Section 66A, which is now declared invalid.
Modi visits Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Modi is visiting Sri Lanka, where he has been invited by the country's new President Sirisena. During his stay in Sri Lanka, Modi also visits the Tamil-dominated Jaffna in the north, which was severely affected by the civil war between Tamils and Sinhalese in 1983–2009. He states positively to greater self-determination for the Tamils. The visit is the first by an Indian Prime Minister of almost 30 years. One purpose of the trip is to try to raise competition with China, which has major economic interests in Sri Lanka. During the trip, bilateral cooperation agreements are entered into on customs, visa and currency rules and development support. Modi later travels to Seychelles and Mauritius.
The rapist is lynched
Forty-two people are arrested in connection with an imprisoned rapist being lynched by a crowd in Nagaland. The prisoner is dragged out of prison and badly beaten on the street. He is then hung in a tree. The prisoner is a Muslim, while the crowd belongs to the tribal people to whom the rape victim belongs. Ethnic tensions are believed to be part of the motif image behind the lynching. Authorities are facing an emergency permit and are blocking the sms and internet in the state in an effort to reduce tensions.
Film about rapists stirs up emotions
The documentary film "India's Daughter" (India's Daughter), made for the British BBC, is provoking great upheaval and debate in India. The filmmaker Leslee Udwin interviews, among other things, one of the four rapists who were sentenced to death for the group rape in Delhi 2012. In the film, the rapist shows no remorse for the crime he committed, but places the entire blame on the deceased victim. A court forbids the film to be shown in India and the government opens an investigation into how the filmmaker managed to get an interview with the doomed. The film had an international premiere on Women's Day on March 8.
The government is investing in the railways
The government announces plans to invest $ 137 billion on the railroad over the next five years. The money will go towards modernizing pre-existing rail and buying fast trains. Every day, about 23 million train journeys are made in India.
Kashmir gets new government
In Jammu and Kashmir, the two victorious parties in the state elections in December 2014, BJP and PDP, manage to agree on what a new state government should look like. It is clear that both BJP and PDP should be included. It will be the first time that the Hindu BJP gains government power in the Muslim-dominated Jammu and Kashmir. New Chief Minister becomes Mufti Mohammad Sayyed.
India will have its own defense industry
Prime Minister Modi announces that India - as part of the Make in India initiative - will develop its own defense industry. The country will build seven new advanced warships and six nuclear-armed submarines. India today buys around 60 percent of its defense equipment from overseas.
AAP wins big in the Delhi elections
Ordinary People's Party (AAP) wins a landslide victory in Delhi state elections. The party gets 67 out of 70 seats in the state assembly, while the BJP takes the remaining 3 seats. The Congress Party receives no mandate at all. AAP wins the election on promises of hard-fought corruption and lower water and electricity prices for poor households. The turnout is 67 percent. Arvind Kejriwal becomes chief minister of a new state government.
Swap at the Foreign Minister post
Shortly after Obama's visit to India, Modi surprisingly kicks off his foreign minister, Sujatha Singh, and replaces her with India's ambassador to the United States, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. According to analysts, Modi has given Jaishankar the task of quickly realizing India's approach to the United States in accordance with the agreements reached between India and the United States during Obama's visit.
Obama visits India
US President Barack Obama visits India, where he, as the first US head of state, participates in the military parade on Republic Day which celebrates India's Constitution of 1950. At the visit, Obama and Modi announce that the countries have signed a pact which means that the 2008 agreement to US companies to be able to sell technology for the construction of new Indian nuclear power plants can begin to be realized. The six-year delay has been due to companies' uncertainty about the debt issue in the event of a nuclear accident in India. This dispute has now been resolved through comprehensive insurance. The two countries will also increase their defense cooperation and five-fold bilateral trade.
Presidential regime in Kashmir
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is placed under direct presidential rule since the two victorious parties in the December 2014 state elections, the BJP and the People's Democratic Party (PDP), have yet to agree on what the new government should look like.
The Planning Commission is closed down
After 65 years, the State Economic Planning Commission is closed down. Modi has criticized it for inhibiting growth through a heavy-handed Soviet model bureaucracy. The Commission is being replaced by an organization called the National Department of Transformation of India (Niti). It is intended to function more like an economic think tank, unlike the old Commission which formulated five-year plans and allocated resources to achieve set goals. All leaders of the country's states and union territories are to be included in Niti, but the actual staff is directly under the prime minister, which has led the opposition to criticize Modi for looking for increased personal power.