Agrarian change

Before the advent of the British, agriculture, industry and trade were well balanced in India. There flourished many crafts together with agriculture. But the British policy of ‘economic squeeze’ crushed crafts and industries of India and people were compelled to depend on agriculture. The Indian agriculture was basically traditional and primitive. Crops were cultivated for the self-consumption and they were largely dependent on animal husbandry. Gradually agriculture started to lose its importance when British started to concentrate more on commercial crops than food crops. So, they forced the farmers to grow spices, indigo, cotton, and coffee etc. These products were taken to Europe and the finished products were brought back and sold to the Indians. The agricultural lands were converted into industrial areas. At the time of independence, there were 3 types of land tenure system; zamindari, Mahalwari and ryotwari. When these systems started to exploit the farmers, there was naturally decline in the agriculture.

After the independence the traditional agricultural practices were replaced by modern technology. This new agricultural technology consisted of the use of high yielding variety of seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, extensive irrigation, and modern agricultural implements. Hence there was a boost in the production of food grains in 1967-68. This is termed as Green revolution in India. By adopting new agricultural technology, there is increase in the per hectare productivity of major cereals especially wheat and rice. This has enabled India to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains. The reforms of LPG in 1991 Opened a new challenge for agriculture. The rate of food grains declined. People concentrated more on commercial crops. The unfavourable weather conditions also added more problems. The LPG reforms opened the Indian agriculture for the new technology. Bio technically modified seeds and plants crept into India. The hybrid seeds attracted the farmers which yielded more production. But the over use of these seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides adversely affected the soil texture and caused health hazards. In this way the Indian agriculture system transformed from traditional to modern yet it is backward compared to other developed countries.