Agriculture GDP growth has accelerated in the 11th plan, to an average rate of 3.3 percent, compared to 2.4 percent in the 10th and 2.5 percent in the 9th plan, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor, K Ramasamy said.
The percentage of the population below the poverty line declined at the rate of 1.5 percentage points per year during 2004-05 to 2009-10, twice the rate at which it declined in the previous period 1993-94 to 2004-05 and rural real wages increased by 6.8 percent annually in the 11th, Ramasamy said.
In his address at the Republic Day celebrations at the University, Ramasamy said India’s foodgrain production has more than doubled over the decades that followed colonial rule to a record 264 million tonnes in fiscal year 2014.
But, to feed the fast growing population, with more than a quarter of them still estimated to be below the poverty line, the country needs to produce more, he said. The health care system has also witnessed a significant improvement as a result the Life expectancy of Indians has increased from 32 years (in 1951) to 65 years now, he said.
He said in the education field, India has achieved significant development, as in 1950-51, there were only 236,000 students, in 750 colleges and 30 Universities. “Now, more than 11 million students are studying in 325 State Universities, 128 Deemed to be Universities, 45 Central Universities and 195 Private Universities.”
“The enrolment grows at about five per cent per year and India is acknowledged as the third largest storehouse in the world for technically qualified workforce now,” he said.
Even as the country has progressed in laying out the basic framework to take the economy to high growth path by building roads and ports and ramping up foodgrain production, a fast growing population and infrastructure woes demand more work to be done on multiple fronts, Ramasamy said.