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Within the broad framework of policy, the government has undertaken a wide variety of programs in agriculture to build up the physical and information infrastructures necessary for sustained development. There are programs for the betterment of the rural population; research, education, and extension programs; irrigation development schemes; plans to increase the supply of agricultural inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides; plans to change the institutional framework of land ownership; plans to improve agricultural financing; better marketing techniques; and plans to improve technology. These programs are administered, financed, and run by the central government and by the state governments, and both levels encourage private-sector development through direct or indirect programs.
Some of the specialized programs in place in the 1990s were introduced during the Fifth Plan. Among them were the Small Farmers Development Agency, Minimum Needs Programme, Hill Area Development Programme, and Drought-Prone Areas Programme. In 1989 two other programs, the National Rural Employment Programme and the Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme, were merged into a single program called the Jawahar Employment Plan (Jawahar Rozgar Yojana; Jawahar in memory of Jawaharlal Nehru [1889-1964], India's first prime minister; rozgar
means daily employment in Hindi; and yojana
means project or plan).
The Integrated Rural Development Programme, launched in FY 1978 and extended throughout India by FY 1980, is a self-employment program intended to raise the income-generation capacity of target groups among the poor. The aim is to raise recipients above the poverty line by providing substantial opportunities for self-employment. During the seventh plan, the total expenditure under the program was Rs33.2 million (for value of the rupee--see Glossary), and Rs53.7 million of term credit was mobilized. Some 13 million new families participated, bringing total coverage under the program to more than 18 million families. These development programs have played an important role in increased agricultural production by educating farmers and providing them with financial and other inputs to increase yields. They have also alleviated some problems of the rural poor. However, further success has been limited by the lack of efficient administrative mechanisms, the limitation of resources, the magnitude of the task, and the lack of willingness to change the status quo. Many of the program results appear better on paper than the actual results in the field because of lack of implementation and poor monitoring.
Research, Education, and Extension
The central government's Department of Agricultural Research and Education was established in 1973 in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (later, the Ministry of Agriculture). The department is responsible for coordinating research and educational facilities in agriculture, animal husbandry, and fisheries. The department also provides support services to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (see Major Research Organization, ch. 6).
Higher education has also seen advances. India has twenty-eight agricultural universities, which include 164 colleges specializing in agriculture, veterinary science, agricultural engineering, home science, fisheries, dairy technology, forestry, horticulture, sericulture, food science, and food-handling technology. They are located through most of the states in India. One of them is a central university that has specialized extension colleges in the seven northeastern states. The undergraduate student enrollment in the early 1990s was around 9,600 and there was a capacity for some 4,500 graduate students (see Colleges and Universities, ch. 2).
Agricultural, animal husbandry, and forestry research is conducted under the auspices of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, central research institutes, and various commodity committees. The council had forty-six institutes in operation in 1992. India's largest such institute is the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, established in 1905 at Pusa, Bihar. Because of an earthquake at Pusa, the research institute moved to New Delhi in 1936. The institute was later accorded university status.
In addition to these agricultural research and education institutions, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research also has a large network of organizations to disseminate agricultural technology information. In the mid-1990s, there were national centers used to demonstrate new crop varieties and production technologies in forty-eight districts throughout the country. There also were seventy nationwide coordinated research projects operating at 120 centers to test specific production technologies.
Data as of September 1995