Food security under threat
Per capita grain production down to 1970s level
Bad news for the UPA Government. Even as inflation remains a cause of concern, news on food production front is grim.
Raising the alarm bell, sub-working group of the National Development Council (NDC) has submitted a report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pointing out that per capita foodgrain production has reached the levels of 1970s.
"It has raised valid concern for food security," the report said.
The NDC Sub-Committee On Agriculture and Working Groups headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told the PMO that in the last decade there has been a sharp deceleration in Indian agriculture with the growth rate in the sector slipping from 3.62 per cent during 1984 to 1995-96 to less than 2 per cent in the period from 1995-96 to 2004-05.
"The State-wise trends indicated that the largest slump occurred in those areas/States that are predominantly rain fed,'' the committees said.
The sub-committee, which examined various reports, like National Farmers Commission Reports; Serving Farmers & Saving Farming, Crisis to Confidence, 2006; Agricultural Renewal and several others, said: "A particular area of concern is foodgrains, whose production during X Plan was less than during IX Plan."
Driving their points home, the communication said: "Per capita annual growth of cereals has declined from 192 kg in 1991/1995 to only 174 kg in 2004-2007 and of pulses from 15 kg to 12 kg. This means that per capita foodgrains production is now at 1970s levels, raising valid concerns on food security.''
The most affected States where production has slowed down are: Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala and Assam.
The report comes as a grim warning to the Centre which is talking about introducing "second green revolution" to boost the agriculture growth to 4 per cent in the XI Plan.