indiaIndia is located in South Asia, adjoining the Indian Ocean in the south, the Bay of Bengal in the south-east and the Arabian Sea in the south-west. Due to its huge physical size and with a population of over 1.2 billion people, the country is also known as the Indian subcontinent. India is currently one of the fastest growing economic powers in the world although still faced with the problems of rapidly growing population, poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition. India’s capital is New Delhi.

Context

Context

India comprises 28 states and seven union territories. Each state and territory is divided into districts for administrative purposes. Districts are further divided into tehsils (blocks) and villages. The climate of India is tropical, subtropical, and mountainous. More humid and warm areas are in the south and the temperatures gradually fall as one goes towards northern areas. Monsoons bring rains mostly from July to September. The Himalayas Mountains and the Thar Desert have significant influence on the country’s climate.

Starting with the Green Revolution in the late 1960s, India made significant gains in its agriculture sector, successfully solving the problem of frequent famine threats, and becoming self-sufficient in feeding its growing population. The agriculture sector contributes about 18 percent to the national GDP, and employs about 50 percent of the national work force. India has both irrigated and rain-fed agriculture. Rice and wheat are its most important food and export crops, placing India as the second biggest producer of these commodities in the world. Other crops include sugarcane, vegetables, spices, coconut, oilseed, tuber crops, cotton, tea, rubber and jute. The country is among the top five largest producers of livestock and poultry. Similarly, it enjoys a fast growth in its aquaculture and “catch” fisheries. It does not mean, however, that India’s agriculture sector has been modernized. Most crop yields remain low in general, soil fertility keeps declining, irrigation infrastructure and water management are poor, dependence on increasingly unpredictable rains is high, subsistence farming is dominant due to average size of holdings being less than two hectares.  Also, marketing and post-harvest handling of produce are less than satisfactory, and government interventions through subsidies and taxation are distinct.

Key Statistics and Indicators

Indicator

Value

Year  

Agricultural land (sq km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)

1,799,630

60.52

157,923,000

53.11

0.13

2009

2009

2009

2009

2009

Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)

167.21

2009

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

17.21

118.23

8.25

3.95

2011

2010

2010

2010

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

1410

2011

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

62.75

74.35

88.41

84.10

91.79

2006

2006

2006

2006

2010

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)

71.99

10.07

2011

2011

Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population

Rural population (% of total population)

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*

1,241,491,960

411.88

852,967,051

68.70

47.89

505,280,000

272,710,000

53.97

32.48

2011

2010

2011

2011

2011

2011

2011

2011

2011

Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO

Acknowledgements

  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (December 2012)
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson (January 2013)

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