PART IV: GUIDELINES FOR NATIONAL REPORTING TO CSD VIII RELATED TO AGRICULTURE (Agenda 21, Chapter 14)


Reporting Country: India

Signed by:

Ministry/Department: Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India

Date Reported:

Objectives

In addition to updating the attached information on agriculture that you have submitted to the earlier sessions of the CSD, please consider the following guidelines in your report:

General introduction

Please describe briefly, not exceeding a half a page, the current situation of agriculture and rural development in your country. Please include in your description the major ways of changing the sector towards sustainability. In your response, you may also wish to address gaps and challenges to the development or enhancement of sustainable agriculture and rural development in your country.

The agriculture sector has a vital place in the economic development of India as it contributes 26.4% of GDP and employees about 64% of the work force. Significant strides towards ensuring food security have been made in agriculture production. Agriculture crops production registered an annual growth rate of 2.35% during the decade of numbers. The significant improvement in agriculture productivity has helped reduce rural poverty. Though capital formation in agriculture grew at the rate of 6.05% during 1989-90 to 1994-95, its share in the total gross capital formation declined to 8.80% from 18.86% in 1980-81 (using 1993-94 prices).

Food grain production increased from 168.4 million tonnes in 1991 to an expected level of 199.4 million tonnes in 1996-97, the terminal year of the Eighth Five Year Plan. The production of commercial crops like sugarcane (296 million tonnes), oilseeds (925.2 million tonnes), cotton (12.18 million bales) was at a record level except cotton in 1998-99. The organised upland tea and coffee plantations, the extensive and often dense coastal strips of coconut trees, and the subterranean tuber and root crops characterize the variegated nature of the horticultural potential in the country. The production of flowers has emerged as a promising area of high growth in recent years, particularly for its export potential. However, due to inadequate technology and poor infrastructural support for handling, packing processing and preservation substantial post harvest losses of fruits and vegetables still characterizes the horticulture sectors.

Agriculture policy review, planning and integration programmes in the light of multifunctional aspects of agriculture (PROGRAMME AREA A)

Please indicate if your Government has established, or recently revised a national strategy or policy on sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD). If yes, please describe briefly the contents of the policy by indicating the following:

Year of the revision/establishment; Agricultural Development Strategy revised in 1999

Objectives of the policy;

Agricultural Development Strategy is essentially based on the policy on food security and alleviation of hunger. A regionally differentiated strategy, based on agro climatic regional planning which takes into account agronomic, climatic and environmental conditions, will be adopted to realize the potential of growth in every region of the country. The thrust will be on ecological, sustainable use of basic resources such as land, water and vegetation, in such away that it serves the objectives of accelerated growth, employment and alleviation of hunger.

Measures in relation to foreign trade and GATT/WTO, agriculture commodities prices, agriculture subsidies and taxes, and regional economic integration;

Funding of the revision (e.g. external support from UN or other agencies, banks, regional agencies, national budget or other);

Mainly through National Budget. A public sector outlay of Rs. 42642 crore (at 1996-96 prices) has been earmarked for development of agriculture and allied activities in the Ninth Plan.

Major activities to implement the SARD policy.

  1. Development of crops based on regionally differentiated strategy
  2. Development of Horticultural crops
  3. Adequate and timely delivery of core inputs
  4. Integrated Pest Management
  5. Greater use of bio-fertilizers and bio-technology
  6. National Agricultural Technology Project
  7. Rainfed farming and Watershed Management
  8. Soil and Water Conservation
  9. Animal Husbandry and dairying
  10. Development of fisheries
  11. Agricultural research and education
  12. Development of Human resources

Following the World Food Summit held in 1996, has your Government carried out a national policy review related to food security? If yes, please indicate when the review was undertaken and, briefly, any actions taken as a result of the review.

Please describe steps taken to strengthen capacity building to reinforce local food systems, including in urban areas.

The emphasis on agricultural credit has continued to be on progressive institutionalization for providing timely and adequate credit support to farmers with particular focus on small and marginal farmers and weaker sections of the society for increasing agricultural production and productivity. The Government of India has taken many policy initiatives for strengthening the rural credit delivery system to support the growing credit needs of the agricultural and rural sectors. The Policy essentially laid emphasis on augmenting credit flow at the ground level through credit planning, adoption or region-specific strategies and rationalization of lending policies and procedures to enable the farmers to adopt modern technology and improved agricultural practices. Agricultural credit is disbursed through multi-agency network consisting of Commercial Banks (CBs), Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Cooperatives.

The Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action (Rome, 1996) called for a minimum target of halving the number of undernourished people in the world by the year 2015. Please indicate any steps taken or planned towards this objective.

Please describe briefly the manner in which your country addresses sustainable agriculture concerns such as integrated pest management, land degradation and rehabilitation, integrated plant nutrition management and plant and animal genetic diversity. Are they reflected in a National Environmental Action Plan or other policy or plan?

The major thrust of the agricultural development programmes in India is on improving the efficiency in the use of scarce natural resources, namely, land, water and energy. This can be achieved only through improved productivity in a cost-effective manner, which alone could increase the welfare of the farmers and agricultural labor. Balanced and integrated use of fertilizers, agricultural credit, institutional support, accelerated investments in agriculture, enhancing the competitiveness of agro-exports, creation of additional irrigation facilities etc. have been given encouragement through various schemes and activities of the Government of India.

Please note if your Government has developed guidelines to integrate environmental concerns into agriculture development projects, for example in relation to management of range lands, forests, water quality, wildlife, conservation of genetic resources or other.

Statutory environmental clearance under Environment (Protection) Act is required for the following types of agricultural development projects and human settlement projects:-

Agricultural Development Projects: Major irrigation projects with command area of 10,000 hectares and more.

Human Settlement Projects: Located in the Coastal Regulation Zone. Statutory environmental clearance is required for 30 selected activities in sensitive areas such as Coastal Regulation Zone, Doon Valley, Dahanu Taluka, Murad Janjira, Numaligarh, Aravalli (identified areas in Gurgaon Taluka of Haryana and Alwar Taluka of Rajasthan).

Please indicate if your national legislation restricts the transfer of productive arable land to other uses? If yes, please specify if these restrictions apply to transfer of productive arable land to e.g. human settlements, recreation, infrastructures, industries, hydropower generation or other.

Land, being a subject under the exclusive jurisdiction of States, there is no national legislation which restricts transfer of productive arable land to other uses. However, State Governments have enacted legislation on the subject, which provides restriction on use of land for non-agricultural purposes.

While examining the proposals, the impact of the projects on different Eco systems, including agricultural lands are examined. The feasibility of avoiding agricultural land for other developmental activities is also examined. However, there is no statutory restriction in transferring agricultural land for other uses.

In case the lands involved forestland, the project proponent has to obtain clearance under Forest (Conservation) Act for the use of forests for non-forest purposes. In case it involves National parks/Sanctuaries, if the activity is not beneficial to the wildlife, it cannot be taken up in those areas. In regard to human settlements, namely, buildings in the coastal regulation zone, there are restrictions on height, plinth area, drawl of groundwater disturbing the landform, disposal of waste, etc. Further, construction of buildings are prohibited in the sensitive areas within Coastal Regulation Zone.

Ensuring peoples' participation and promoting human resource development for sustainable agriculture (PROGRAMME AREA B)

The key Major Groups in this sector include local communities, small-scale farmers, indigenous people, women and youth. Please indicate how and to what extent these and other Major Groups are involved in national decision-making related to sustainable agriculture.

The Panchyati Raj Institutions (PRIs) will function as effective institution of local self-governance and they will prepare plans for economic development and social justice and implement them. The PRIs will be the umbrellas for the integration of sectoral programmes with poverty alleviation and rural development programmes. The Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) will continue to provide projected financial assistance to voluntary organizations, which will have to play a more dynamic role in empowering the poor through advocacy, awareness generation, and formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) during the Ninth Plan.

Please describe the kinds of policies or measures (such as training and extension, pricing, input distribution or credit facilities) that your Government has developed to increase equitable access to the production-support services by the rural poor.

Seven basic services have been identified for priority attention. Policies and programmes relating to these areas would be given a thrust in the Ninth Five Year Plan. Complete coverage is expected in a time bound manner. These services are safe drinking water, availability of primary health service facilities, universal primary education, provision of public housing assistance to all shelterless poor families, nutritional support to children, road links to all villages and habitations, and public distribution system targeted to the poor.

Please indicate what kind of activities your Government has initiated or implemented to increase public awareness and participation for promoting sustainable agriculture practices.

In order to promote people's participation and create awareness, the practicing farmers, village youth and school dropouts are working as focal points for dissemination of information e.g. on low cost technology and producing plant material for conservation measures. Stress is being laid on organising SHGs to institutionalize people's participation to improve household production systems (cattle rearing, mushroom cultivation, sericulture, bee-keeping etc.)

Land conservation and rehabilitation (PROGRAMME AREA E)

Please describe major achievements your country has made towards conservation and rehabilitation of degraded lands since UNCED. In your response please indicate the following:

Policies and programmes or other instruments developed and implemented;

A wide range of approaches have been employed for addressal of problems of land degradation, some of which include:

  1. Prevention of soil loss from the catchments
  2. Promotion of multi-disciplinary integrated approach to catchment treatment.
  3. Improvement of land capability and moisture regime in the watersheds.
  4. Promotion of land use to match land capability
  5. Reduction of run-off from the catchments to reduce peak flow into the river system.
  6. Upgradation of skills in the planning and execution of watershed development programme.
  7. Increase of productivity of land affected by alkalinity for increasing sustainable agriculture production.
  8. Identification of critical degraded areas,
  9. Generation of data on land suitability and capability for regulating land use.
  10. Preparation of soil resource map and inventory of soil and land resources.
  11. Development of technical skills in soil and water conservation
  12. Building up and strengthening of land capability of State Land Use Boards.
  13. Promotion and implementation of land use policy related to land base programme.
  14. Coordination and regulation of programmes relating to land resources, conservation, management and development at State level.

Various Soil and Water Conservation Programmes have been launched in response to the need for conservation and rehabilitation of degraded land include:

Major problems faced in implementing these instruments;

Land, which is the most precious heritage and physical base of bio-mass production of life supporting systems is finite, and thus a non-renewable endowment. India's share of land is fixed at about 329 m. ha. which is heterogeneous in different parts and regions of the country with a definite set up, capabilities and suitability for different land resources. Conservation of land resources can promote sound land use to match with the land capabilities or suitability and to initiate correct land resources, development/ suitability in the country.

A close look at the present health of the soil and water resources reveals their wanton misuse and degraded environment. Almost 173.64 m.ha. covering slightly half of the country are threatened by various types of degradation like salinity, alkalinity, water logged areas, ravinous and gullied lands, areas under ravages of shifting cultivation, desertification, etc. About 800 ha. of arable land are being lost annually due to ingress of ravines. There are specific problems of land degradation due to open-cast mining operations, using good productive land for brick kilns coastal erosion and seawater ingress, excessive erosion and land slides in the crumbling hill areas. Our forests and grasslands have been over exploited. Frequent occurrence of floods and droughts in different parts of the country are evidence of improper land use in the catchments and inadequate conservation of rainwater. The problem of land degradation has brought us face to face with the ever increasing depletion of the productivity and the basic land stock through nutrient deficiencies on the one hand and the ever growing demand for food, fodder, fiber, fuel, land based industrial raw materials and may non-farm land uses on the other hand.

Total investments made on rehabilitation of degraded lands and areas rehabilitated since UNCED;

Area rehabilitated as a percentage of total areas affected by severe soil erosion.

It is estimated that about an average 16.75 to/ha/year of soil are lost through erosion every year in India i.e. more than 5,000 million tonnes of topsoil is eroded annually.

Integrated pest management and control in agriculture (PROGRAMME AREA I)

Please indicate the kinds of reforms that your Government has made in national policies and programmes in order to ensure safe and appropriate use of pesticides.

Pests, are an inevitable part of agriculture. So it is equally inevitable that humans have been attempting to find ways of reducing the pests’ share of their crops. The threat posed by these pests has been perceived to be so great over the last 60-70 years that a process called the integrated pest management (IPM) has been developed in the name of crop protection. All three components including the pesticide promoters, the pesticide antagonists and the fence-sitting demanders of knowledge support IPM.

On a broader scale, IPM is defined and explained in terms that encompass the farm families & their environment, and regional food security. The essential element for IPM includes one or more management activities that are carried out by farmers that result in the density of potential pest populations being maintained below levels at which they become pests, without endangering the productivity and profitability of the farming system as a whole, the health of the farm family and its livestock, and the quality of the adjacent and downstream environments.

Major steps towards safe and appropriate use of pesticides:

  1. Promotion of Integrated Pest Management
  2. Implementation of Insecticides Act
  3. Training in Plant Protection
  4. Locust Control & Research
  5. Strengthening and Modernization of Plant Quarantine Facilities in India

Please describe briefly major achievements that your country has made in the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) programmes. In your response, please indicate the following:Policies adopted and integrated into national development policies for promoting integrated pest management practices since UNCED;

To alleviate the ill-effects of pesticides, India has officially adopted IPM as its policy and is a prominent feature in recent Five Year Plans. Infact, among other nations in Asia, India was first to adopt the policy. One of the manifestations of this policy is the Central IPM Centre (CIPMC), of which there exists at least one in each state. Their functions include crop surveys, training the trainers of ‘IPM farmers’, and rearing natural control agents.

Central efforts on plant protection are being targeted to popularise environment friendly IPM approach. Greater relevance is given to bio-control of pests under the IPM and human resources development.

To ensure availability of effective pesticides, a comprehensive Central Legislation – Insecticides Act, 1968 - is being implemented. Central Insecticides Laboratory, Registration Committee, Central Insecticides Board and Regional Pesticides Testing Laboratories are the principal wings for implementation of the Act at the Central level.

To save the Indian agriculture from exotic pests and diseases, legislative measures on Plant Quarantine are being enforced through 26 Plant Quarantine Stations located at International Airports, Seaports, Land Frontiers. These Stations also discharge the responsibility of phytosanitary certification to help export of agricultural commodities.

Human resource development in plant protection and various disciplines of pesticides is being achieved by organising regular and short term training programmes at National Plant Protection Training Institute, Hyderabad.

Achievements at the field level;

If available, you may also include information on:

Numbers of farmers in trained in IPM training since 1992;

4391 (information from States of West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala and Karnataka awaited)

Area (in ha) covered with IPM programmes by crop types; and

Crop types covered with IPM programmes: Package for 5 Kharif crops and 14 Rabi crops. Although many farmers practice IPM in India, the focus is mainly on rice. There is considerable scope to extend the movement to other crops grown in paddy fields and in non-irrigated and upland areas; in particular vegetables, groundnut, pulses, sugarcane, castor sunflower and other oilseeds, sorghum and cotton.

Costs (e.g. farmers training and staffing, expert consultation etc.) and benefits of IPM programmes.

Benefits of IPM programmes:

Please indicate if your Government has used the Global Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Facility created to facilitate the development of IPM programmes.

Sustainable plant nutrition to increase food production (PROGRAMME AREA J)

Has your country developed and implemented an integrated plant nutrition approach in order to optimise effective and efficient use of various sources while protecting the environment? If so, briefly describe the results achieved.

Please indicate the major policy instruments and activities to promote sustainable plant nutrition management in your country.

Water for sustainable food production and sustainable rural development

(PROGRAMME AREA F)

In the context of your country's comprehensive planning for water use, has your Government prepared a water resource policy for food and agriculture.

Agriculture is now reckoned to be the largest consumer of water, accounting for some 80% of total water use. To maximise food supply for humanity, land irrigation has been practiced for centuries. Irrigation plays a large role in increasing arable production and cattle-breeding efficiency, with irrigated farming expected to continue to develop intensively in the future. Thus, irrigation has now become the principal water user. The irrigation potential was 22.6 million ha in 1951 with food production of 50 million tonnes. The food production has quadrupled now to about 200 million tonnes due to four fold increase in irrigation potential at over 10 million ha. As recently reassessed by the Ministry of Water Resources the country’s ultimate irrigation potential is tentatively estimated at 139.89 m.ha. comprising of 58.46 m.ha. through major & medium irrigation and 81.43 m.ha. from minor irrigation as against pre-revised ultimate irrigation potential of 113.50 m.ha. The full development of ultimate irrigation potential by construction of major, medium and minor irrigation projects by 2025 would be necessary to meet the food requirement of the projected population.

India's National Water Policy (NWP) was adopted in September, 1987. The National Water Resources Council (NWRC) under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister lays down the NWP, reviews development plans and advises on implementation. The Policy envisages strategies, inter alia, ground water development, water allocation priorities, drinking water, irrigation, water quality, water zoning, conservation of water, flood control and management. In the context of water use, the main issues are the pricing of water for various end uses including drinking, irrigation and industrial use. The NWP of the Government of India accords highest priority to drinking water supply. The State Governments in India make their water policies within the overall framework of the NWP.

Please describe steps that you have taken to:

increase water availability in agriculture (e.g., through promotion of moisture conservation, water harvesting, small-scale irrigation, groundwater development or large irrigation schemes etc.);

Increased water availability:

In India the average annual precipitation is nearly 4000 cubic km (km3) and the average flow in the river systems is estimated to be 1869 km3. Because of concentration of rains only in the 3 Monsoon months, the utilizable quantum of water is about 690 km3. Quantum of ground water extracted annually is-about 432 km3. Thus, on an average, 1122 km3 water is available for exploitation and is considered adequate to meet all the needs. However, the situation is complicated because this water is not uniformly available either spatially or temporally.

Six of the 20 major river basins in India suffer from water scarcity. Water has already become one of the most limiting resources in the country. Realising the scarcity of water both in quantity and quality, national programmes (Preventive & Mitigative Action Plans) have been launched to tackle the situation which include:

  1. Guidelines for Ground Water extraction and use.
  2. Contribution of ground water for irrigation as well as industrial use and drinking has been on the increase during the last two decades. Indiscriminate extraction of ground water already poses the threat of aquifers going dry in some parts of the country. The Central and State Ground Water Boards have, therefore, prepared Ground Water Availability Maps and prescribed extraction rates in a bid to ensure that extraction is balanced with recharge. The country has been ZONED depending upon whether water is available in plenty, or it has already become scarce in the region. Accurate determination of ground water reserves can be done through actual Bore Hole Data in a given region. Extraction of ground water is prohibited in some regions where water depletion has already become critical.

  3. Management of Lakes

Natural and man-made lakes happen to be a major source of water supply in many regions in India. Excessive siltation, variation in run-off and changing land use in the watersheds has contributed to depletion of these water bodies. The water quality in lakes is also affected by run-off loaded with fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides coupled with discharges from industries as well as human settlements. Major interventions for improving the lake systems in the country include Watershed Management, Dredging operations, emphasis on treatment of effluents before discharge into the lakes and disposal of solid wastes away from the shores of the lakes.

increase water use efficiency in agriculture (e.g., through improved irrigation technologies, economic incentives, regulations etc.);

Water Use Efficiency:

Water use efficiency is presently estimated to be only 38 to 40% for canal irrigation and about 60% for ground water irrigation schemes. India’s per capita water availability per year (1991 census) was estimated at 2209 cubic metres against the global average of 9231 cubic metres. In the total water use in 1990, the share of agriculture was 83%, followed by domestic use (4.5%), industrial use (2.7%) and energy (3.5%). The remaining 6 per cent were for other uses including environmental requirements.

The projected total water demand by the year 2025 is around 1050 cubic kilometres against the country's utilisable water resources of 1132 cubic kilometres. The share of agriculture in total water demand by the year 2025 is expected to be about 74 to 75 per cent. Irrigation, being the major water user, its share in the total demand is bound to decrease from the present 83% to 74% due to more pressing and competing demands from other sectors by 2025 A.D. It is estimated that a 10% increase in the present level of water use efficiency in irrigation projects, an additional 14 m.ha area can be brought under irrigation from the existing irrigation capacities which would involve a very moderate investment as compared to the investment that would be required for creating equivalent potential through new schemes. Thus, the need to improve the present level of water use efficiency in general and for irrigation in particular assumes considerable significance in perspective water resource planning.

In order to promote the process of improvement in water management through upgradation of the main systems of selected irrigation schemes the National Water Management Project (NWMP), an externally aided project (EAP) was implemented during the period 1987-95. Now, the Ministry of Water Resources has initiated follow-up action on NWMP-II with an estimated cost of Rs.2880 crore for 7 years. In more recent times, the Water Resource Consolidation Project (WRCP) has been taken up in the States of Haryana, Orissa and Tamil Nadu which envisages the completion of some major and medium irrigation projects and strengthening of institutions through Participatory Irrigation Management/Irrigation Management Transfer (PIM/IMT).

prevent and remedy water logging and salinization of agricultural land;

It is a fact that waterlogging has been observed in some of the irrigated commands and the same is adversely affecting the productivity in these areas. Integrated and coordinated development of surface and ground water is widely recognized as a most suitable strategy for irrigation development in alluvial plains. Gradual rise in water table and related problems of waterlogging and soil salinity/alkalinity have surfaced mainly because of the lack of drainage provision, improper waste management, inadequate maintenance etc.

Conjunctive use of surface and ground water will not only increase the irrigation potential, but also mitigate the problem of waterlogging. The technologies of irrigation from both surface and ground water may be integrated in a complementary manner, in order to achieve sustainable optimum agricultural production and equity. Such integration may be brought about in one or more of the following ways:

Considering the problem, reclamation of waterlogged areas has been included as a new component of CAD Programme since 01.04.1996. Ministry of Water Resources has organised two Workshops on the subject and held many training programmes to create awareness among functionaries and farmers. The Ministry has also constituted and Coordination Committee under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary to look into the problem. A manual has also been developed to give technical input to States to identify the problem areas and take up preventive and remedial measures suitably. A total target of 60,000 ha. has been kept for reclamation of waterlogged areas during the Ninth Plan. The efforts of the Ministry got response from the States and they have identified the schemes, which have further been posed to the Ministry for concurrence. The Ministry has given administrative approval to129 schemes so far during 1998-99 and 1999-2000 covering an area of 39325.46 ha. The work has been taken up by the States and is likely to gain momentum to achieve the target of 60,000 ha during Ninth Plan.

prevent adverse effects of agriculture on water quality.

If available, please provide the following information on additional area brought under irrigation and on land rehabilitated in your country since UNCED.

Additional agriculture area brought under irrigation since 1992

Area in Ha: _108,00,000_Percentage of total cultivated land: _0.7 %______

Rehabilitation of degraded lands (e.g., water-logged and saline areas)

Area in Ha: __________Percentage of total degraded land: ___________

Rural energy transition to enhance productivity (PROGRAMME AREA K)

Please list major steps taken since UNCED in developing and implementing programmes, institutional mechanisms and policies in your country for promoting environmentally sound energy transition in rural communities.

Though there has never been a single comprehensive rural energy policy for the country, the government, through it various committees such as Fuel Policy Committee (1974), Working Group on Energy Policy (1979), Advisory Board on Energy (1985), Energy Demand Screening Group (1986), etc. has formulated programmes aimed at rural energy and implemented through various ministries. The basic issues borne in mind when formulating policies have been (a) Technology choices, (b) Dissemination approach, (c) Commercialization and (d) Capacity building

Please list a few examples of specific rural energy projects that have been

initiated in your country since UNCED.

Please indicate trends in availability of energy for household use in the

rural areas since UNCED. Please specify the percentage increment, if available.

Mark boxes % increase since UNCED (number)

[ ] Electrical (national grids) ______________

[ ] Solar dryers ______________

[ ] Biomass systems ______________

[ ] Wind systems ______________

[ ] Others (specify) ______________

Please indicate trends in availability of energy for rural-based agro-industries in the past eight years. Please also specify the percentage increment, if available.

Mark boxes % increase since UNCED (number)

[ ] Electrical (national grids) ______________

[ ] Solar dryers ______________

[ ] Biomass systems ______________

[ ] Wind systems ______________

[ ] Others (specify) ______________

Please highlight any actions taken towards mobilising the potential of agriculture as a major producer of biomass energy. What percentage of the total energy requirement of your country is met from energy produced by agriculture?

Have you implemented energy-substitution strategies to reduce CO2 emissions? If so, has biomass been a part of the strategy? Please explain.

India is the second most populous nation in the world. 70% of the population in India, close to 700 million, still live in the rural areas. Meeting their energy requirements in a sustainable manner continues to be a major challenge for the country. Almost 75% of the total rural energy consumption is in the domestic sector. For meeting their cooking energy requirements, villagers depend predominantly on biomass fuels such as wood, animal dung and agricultural residues, often burnt in inefficient traditional cookstoves. The main fuels used for lighting in the rural households are kerosene and electricity. Irrigation is mainly through electrical and diesel pumpsets, while the rural industries and the transport sectors rely primarily on animal power and to some extent on commercial sources of energy like diesel and electricity.

Of the total energy consumption in the country, almost 60% is met by conventional energy sources and rest by non-conventional and renewable energy sources. This energy use pattern has serious implications both on the environment as a whole as well as on the users. Fuelwood requirements have contributed to the degradation of forests. Degradation of forests has associated implications regarding CO2 sequestration. Further, this has led to villagers, especially women and children travelling longer distances and spending more time in collecting fuelwood, switching to inferior, fuels, and even altering food habits to reduce fuel consumption affecting the nutrition levels. Given the exploitation processes of natural resources, this situation is likely to worsen in the years to come. Rural energy systems are further strained by the inability of people to shift to commercial fuels like electricity, LPG and kerosene because of low purchasing powers and limited availability. The large subsidies on electricity for agriculture and kerosene have also been a cause of concern for energy planners.

To redress these problems, several efforts have been made both by governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations in the form of national programmes for rural electrification, and promoting renewable energy technologies like biogas, improved cookstoves and solar cookers. However, in spite of the existence of these programmes for nearly two decades, their impact on the rural energy scenario has been limited. Over the last few years, in line with economic liberalization, there have been efforts towards bringing about commercialization implemented in the past two decades in order to formulate a meaningful rural energy policy at the national level.

The present supply-demand scenario indicates that biomass would continue to be the mainstay of the rural energy sector in the foreseeable future. The penetration of various commercial fuels will remain quite low, and at the present rate, it would take a long time for the RETs (Renewable Energy Technology) to make any significant impact on the sector. Therefore, any policy formulated to deal with rural energy will have to look for highly innovative options and make judicious investment choices

Please indicate if your Government has plans or programmes on sequestration of CO2 into soils (humus) through improved crop and soil management practices. (Practices may include, e.g., conservation tillage, crop residue and other biomass management, growing cover crops, judicious use of farm inputs, integrated nutrition management, improved cropping systems and varieties, water conservation and management, improved pastures, rotational grazing or others.)

Evaluation of the effects of ultraviolet radiation on plants and animals caused by the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer (PROGRAMME AREA L)

Please identify any research or remedial measures undertake on the effect of ultraviolet radiation on plants and animal life as well as on agricultural activities

Improving farm production and farming systems through diversification of farm and non-farm employment and infrastructure development (PROGRAMME AREA C)

Please describe the major activities initiated by your Government in order to implement integrated farm management technologies and practices, such as crop rotations; optimal use of organic and in-organic plant nutrients; prevention of pre and post-harvest losses, efficient utilisation of external inputs (pesticides, water etc.) or others.

Farm Mechanisation programmes of the Government have been directed towards selective mechanisation with the aim of optimum utilisation of the available sources of farm power. The programmes emphasises popularisation of improved and modern agricultural implements and machines through various Schemes. Farmers have been provided financial assistance for owning tractors and other improved agricultural implements and machines. The infrastructure for human resource development, and for testing and evaluation of agricultural implements/machines has been established. The emphasis has also been laid on the safety of farmers in operation of agricultural machines. The programmes have resulted in the increased adoption of improved farm machines and equipment by the farmers.

The Ninth Plan programmes give a special thrust to a sustainable and all-round agricultural development in the country through a pragmatic farm mechanisation strategy for the different agro-climatic zones of the country. The main features of different schemes of agricultural implements and Machinery Division are given below:

In order to promote the use of safer pesticides and also increasing the export potential of pesticides, the Central Insecticides and Registration Committee set up under the Insecticides Act, further simplified data requirements for both plant origin and provisionally registered neem-based pesticides and bio-pesticides.

Please list measures that your Government has adopted for promoting crop diversification at the farm level (such as agriculture land use zoning according to the agro-ecological conditions, removal of agriculture subsidies, differential land tax systems for promoting crop diversification, differential water pricing according to the crop types and seasons or income support).

The main objectives of the Government's price policy for agricultural produce aims at ensuring remunerative prices to the growers for their produce with a view to encouraging higher investment and production. Towards that end, minimum support prices for major agricultural products are announced each year which are fixed after taking into account the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The CACP, while recommending prices takes into account all important factors, viz: 1. Cost of Production 2. Changes in Input Prices 3. Input/Output Price Parity 4. Trends in Market Prices

5. Inter-crop Price Parity

6. Demand and Supply Situation

7. Effect on Industrial Cost Structure

8. Effect on General Price Level

9. Effect on Cost of Living

10.International Market Price Situation (MSP)

11.Parity between Prices Paid and Prices Received by

farmers (Terms of Trade).

Policy Initiatives/ Taxation:

Since liberalisation several policy measures have been taken with regard to regulation & control, fiscal policy, export & import, taxation, exchange & interest rate control, export promotion and incentives to high priority industries. Food processing and agro industries have been accorded high priority with a number of important reliefs and incentives.

Wide ranging fiscal policy changes have been introduced progressively. Excise & Import duty rates have been reduced substantially. Many processed food items are totally exempt from excise duty. Custom duty rates have been substantially reduced on plant & equipments, as well as on raw materials and intermediates, especially for export production.

The Committee on Pricing Water (as part of the National water Policy, 1987) deals with rationalizing water rates and have suggested increase in irrigation water rates in a phased manner. The pricing of water for various uses will have to take into account the paying capacity of the users including farmers and large population below poverty line.

Regulation & Control:

No industrial license is required for almost all of the food & agro processing industries except for some items like: beer, potable alcohol & wines, cane sugar, hydrogenated animal fats & oils etc. and items reserved for exclusive manufacture in the small scale sector. Items reserved for S.S.I. include pickles & chutneys, bread, confectionery (excluding chocolate, toffees and chewing-gum etc.), rapeseed, mustard, sesame & groundnut oils (except solvent extracted), ground and processed spices other than spice oil and olioresins, sweetened cashew nut products, tapioca sago and tapioca flour.

Please indicate measures that your Government has adopted for sustainable intensification of productive lands.

To supplement the efforts of State Governments for increasing the production and productivity, six Centrally Sponsored and one Center sector schemes are being implemented by the Crops Division, Ministry of Agriculture in different States. Under these schemes, emphasis is being laid on the transfer of improved crop production technologies through organisation of field demonstrations on farmers holdings and farmers trainings. Additionally, to motivate the farmers to adopt the improved crop production technologies incentives are being provided through the respective schemes on the use of inputs like certified seeds/quality seeds, improved farm implements, sprinkler/drip irrigation system etc.Programmes:

  1. Integrated Cereals Development Programme in Rice Based Cropping Systems Areas (ICDP-Rice),
  2. Integrated Cereals Development Programme in Wheat Based Cropping Systems Areas (ICDP-Wheat),
  3. Integrated Cereals Development Programme in Coarse Cereals Based Cropping Systems Areas (ICDP-Coarse Cereals),
  4. Sustainable Development of Sugarcane Based Cropping System (SUBACS),
  5. Special Jute Development Programme (SJDP),
  6. Intensive Cotton Development Programme,
  7. Mini-kit Demonstration programme of Wheat, Rice and Coarse Cereals including propagation of new Technologies.

Please list major activities that your Government has initiated to increase non-farm employment opportunities in the rural areas.

Conservation and sustainable utilisation of plant and animal genetic resources for food and sustainable agriculture (PROGRAMME AREAS G AND H)

Please describe the major steps and initiatives taken in order to conserve and promote sustainable use of plant genetic resources (PGR) (e.g., strengthening of institutional capacity, promoting research activities in the public domain, preparation of plans and programmes of priority actions etc.) since UNCED. Please note that these activities may also have been carried out in the context of implementing the Global Plan of Action on PGR which was recommended by Agenda 21 and adopted at Leipzig by governments in 1996.

Over the last 12000 years of evolution of agriculture practices, the Science & Technology inputs have only succeeded in evolving just about 10% of the genetic stock found in the wild into palatable and higher yielding cereals, fruits and vegetables. Food security demands that the remaining 90% of the stock should be preserved firstly, for developing additional higher yielding varieties to feed the increasing population, and secondly, to protect and provide immunity to the existing higher yielding varieties when they are under attack from insects, pests and epidemics.

Realising the importance of Genetic Stock for food security, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources of ICAR has long been identifying areas rich in bio-diversity and Gene Pool for cereals, fruits and vegetables. We need to protect our rich heritage of herbs, shrubs & medicinal plants. Bio-Banks created have seed as well as tissue samples of the requisite crops. In light of the International Convention on Bio-diversity to which India is a signatory, "Recombinant DNA safety Guidelines" for personnel and environmental safety in the use of genetically manipulated organisms in research, manufacture and applications have been evolved. Declaration of eco-sensitive zones, introduction of the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (BSAP) and other initiatives are further steps towards conservation & sustainable use of biological resources.

Please describe the major steps and initiatives taken in order to conserve and make sustainable use of animal genetic resources since UNCED.

India is a signatory to several International Conventions like CITES, International Whaling Convention (IWC); Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the World Heritage Convention (WHC).

Initiatives Measures:

Establishment of a Protected Areas Network, under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, comprising of Biosphere Reserves, National Parks and Sanctuaries, both terrestrial and aquatic, has been a positive step towards conservation of animal genetic resources. This Network today comprises of 10 Biosphere Reserves, 89 National Parks, 504 Sanctuaries, along with dedicated conservation programmes such as Project Tiger, Crocodile Rehabilitation and project Elephant. India has recently taken the lead in the formation of the Global Tiger Forum. The Central Zoo Authority caters to the ex-situ conservation of wildlife through 275 zoos, deer parks, safari parks and aquaria, etc.

Effective measures for control of illegal trade in wildlife and its products at national and international level, both through the States/UTs as well as Regional Offices of Wildlife Preservation under Ministry of Environment and Forests have been taken. Wildlife Week was celebrated from 2nd to 8th October 1998 all over India. Various functions for generating awareness about wildlife conservation were held by the State/UT Governments. During the week, essay competitions, debates, clay modeling, free trips to national parks and sanctuaries, drawing competitions etc. were organised.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) organised three courses and 46 officers and students were trained during the year. Efforts to build-up professional skills in Protected Area Management through training of professional managers for protected areas through training of professional cadre in all aspects of wildlife are continuing the WII.

Information

Please identify the type of national information on sustainable agriculture that is available for decision-makers, advisory organisations and farmers. Can it be accessed via the Internet? Please provide the addresses of the national World Wide Web Sites that contain the requisite data. What are the information gaps?

http://goidirectory.nic.in

One of the major concerns addressed in Chapter 14 is the need to analyse and collect information on various production systems and technologies. Please mark the appropriate box (s) if your Government has initiated the following activities:

[ ] Regular survey on farmers' perceptions on effectiveness of available technologies and access to these technologies

[ ] Others (specify)

Please describe your Government's support to early warning systems for monitoring food supply and those factors affecting household demand for food both in urban and rural areas. In your response, please indicate, for example, if your Government has established national and regional institutions for early warning, satellite-based climate monitoring systems and regional or local meteorological stations. Please indicate also if your Government cooperates with neighboring countries or regional organisations in this matter.

The I. T. Division, Ministry of Agriculture, GOI provides world class services in terms of information and communication relating to Agriculture nationally and internationally. Networking of information right from the level of farmers and the village/ block to district headquarters on the one hand and the Central Government Departments and the Attached & Subordinate Offices as well as other autonomous organisations, non-Government organisations etc. on the other is being established for maximising efficiency and productivity. This is being done by facilitating availability of information with speed, quality and economy in every area connected with agricultural productivity e.g. fertiliser, insecticides pest attack, drought and other natural disasters, marketing, storage, pricing etc. The effort will be to bring about qualitative change in management of agriculture through information management with the help of the latest information technology.

A programme to support early warning systems for monitoring food supply and other associated factors in both urban and rural areas, a programme has been launched to Strengthen the Information Technology apparatus in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.

The objectives of the programme is to provide I.T. tools to officers in agriculture departments in their day-to-day working and to have a National Agriculture Informatic Centre as reservoir of all data relating to agriculture and to set up an Early Warning Information System for crop monitoring and forecasting on day-to-day basis. The scheme provides for:

  1. Total computerisation in the headquarters through Local Area Network (LAN).
  2. To have separate I.T. Division to monitor and formulate I.T. schemes of the department.
  3. To create historical data base.
  4. To disseminate information through workshops/seminars etc. on IT related activities.
  5. To establish live and independent network for information gathering from field to headquarters.
  6. To co-relate and analyse the field information and available data and make forecasting on crop prospects on day-to-day basis.

Please specify which indicators (economic, social and environment) have been developed and used in your country for monitoring and evaluating sustainable agriculture practices and rural development.

Overriding Issues

According to the multi-year programme of work of the CSD, the overriding issues in each of the CSD sessions are poverty and consumption and production patterns.

Please provide your national targets and policies, if any, for reducing poverty through agriculture and food security.

The National Development Committee (NDC) Report has highlighted the importance of social issues, which have not been addressed in quantitative terms earlier. Role of social issues and improvement of poverty in disadvantaged group of population is very important. Animal Husbandry which includes dairy, piggary, poultry, goatary and sheep farming are the major occupation of this group of population. The above 5 farming systems should be developed on the principle of resource based planning, which includes land, water, agro-climate, labor inputs and financial capability of disadvantaged community. The livestock farming has to look into all the above facts and more importantly to economic, environmental, and social factors. Thus, the development of remunerative farming systems for improving their economic conditions and quality of life is most important in future.

Please provide statistical information, over the last five years, on the consumption of primary inputs such as purchased seeds, fertiliser, and pesticides in your country.

The demand of pesticides for the year 1998-99 has been estimated to be around 57, 240 million tonnes. The overall availability of pesticides in India is satisfactory.

The consumption of chemical fertilizers during the year 1997-98 was 161.88 lakh tonnes of nutrients. The consumption of nitrogen, phosphate and potash in fertilizers increased by 5.8 %, 31.5 % and 33.3 % respectively during 1997-98. During the same year the consumption of both Di- Ammonium Phosphate and Muriate of Potash were 53.76 and 17.29 lakh tonnes respectively. All chemical fertilizers except urea continue to be decontrolled.

Other issues

Please identify if there are any other major issues related to sustainable agriculture and not mentioned above, that are important to your country.

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