As per Population Census 2011, the total number of agricultural workers in the country, comprising of cultivators and agricultural labourers, 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.
In order to promote agriculture sector in the country, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has strengthened, re-structured and prioritised research and development programmes in rice, wheat, maize, millets, fodder crops, oilseeds, pulses, sugarcane, cotton, fiber and horticultural crops through research institutes and All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRPs)/All India Network Projects (AINPs). Research and development activities for mechanisation of farm operations focused on reducing the cost of production and the post-harvest losses in agriculture, enhancing input use efficiency in crops, precision in agriculture techniques and use of Nano-technology.
ICAR’s endeavour to promote high quality research in agriculture includes 16 consortia research platforms initiated during the 12th Five Year Plan covering almost all facets of the agricultural research. In addition, a major research programme ‘National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture’ (NICRA) has also been taken to address the sustainability and climate change issues in agriculture.
Government has taken several steps to increase the profitability and employment opportunities in the agriculture sector by improving farm practices, increasing investment, creating rural infrastructure, ensuring timely delivery of credit, technology and other inputs, fostering backward and forward linkages, etc. Furthermore, government fixes Minimum Support Price (MSP) of various agricultural commodities with a view to ensure remunerative returns to the farmers for their produce.