THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
B. M. Bhatia. Indian Agriculture: A Policy Perspective. New’Delhi: Sage Publications India Pvt. Ud., 1988.191 pp.Rupees (Indian) 140.00 (Hardbound Edition).
India is self-sufficient in the production of foodgrains, and in good years has substantial exportable surpluses. This is no small achievement for a country which, in the late Sixties, had to import as much as 13 percent of its requirements of foodgrains. The turnaround came as a result of the distribution of high-yielding seeds, fertilizer, modern agricultural technology, and provision of extension services. But agricultural growth has remained concentrated in the north-west of the country, which is well-endowed with infrastructures like irrigation, rural electrification, roads, markets, etc. By one estimate, these areas, which account for less than 15 percent of the total area under foodgrains cultivation in the country, have contributed as much as 56 percent of the increase in foodgrain production in the post-green· revolution period. No doubt, this has led to an increase in the regional disparities as well. Another serious imbalance in Indian agriculture has arisen because of cropwise disparities in growth, between foodgrains and non-foodgrains on the one hand, and among different foodgrains on the other. About 70 percent of the total cultivated area in the country is rain-fed, which contributes a large proportion of the total output of important crops like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, and cotton; and over 40 percent of the total food grains production of the country. But productivity in these areas is low and fluctuates according to the amount of rainfall. Dr Bhatia shows that stagnation in the agriculture sector has coincided not only with adverse weather conditions but also with adverse inputoutput price ratios, particularly between fertilizer and procurement prices of cereals.