As per Census 2011, conducted by the Registrar General of India, the total number of agricultural workers in the country have increased from 234.1 million (127.3 million cultivators and 106.8 million agricultural labourers) in 2001 to 263.1 million (118.8 million cultivators and 144.3 million agricultural labourers) in 2011. However, the share of workforce engaged in the agriculture sector (comprising of cultivators and agricultural labourers) has come down from 58.2 per cent in 2001 to 54.6 per cent in 2011. Migration of agricultural labour from rural to urban areas is a general phenomenon and a natural part of the development process. The reasons for this shift include, inter alia, better employment opportunities in industry and services, increasing urbanization, low income in agriculture etc. In a market economy like India, movement of the people for better economic opportunities is inexorable. However, the foodgrain production in the country has continued its upward trend and during 2018-19 also the production is estimated at 284.95 million Tonnes (As Per Fourth Advance Estimate, 2018-19).
As per the Seventh Schedule of Constitution of India, land comes under the purview of State Governments and, therefore, it is for the State Governments to make efforts to increase cultivable land. However, Government of India supplements the efforts of the State Governments through various crop development Schemes/Programmes and it has taken several steps to increase total cropped area and to increase agricultural production through increased investment, improving farm practices, rural infrastructure, areas under protective irrigation, delivery of credit, technology, other inputs, extension, marketing etc. Further, Government has taken measures to retain farmers in agriculture and improve returns to farmers by enhancing institutional credit to farmers; promotion of scientific warehousing infrastructure for increasing shelf life of agricultural produce; improved access to irrigation through Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY); provision of Price Stabilization Fund(PSF) to mitigate price volatility in agricultural produce, Scheme for Soil Health Cards; setting up of Agri-tech Infrastructure Fund for making farming competitive and profitable; developing commercial organic farming in North East Region, etc.
This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar in Lok Sabha today.