1. form of schemes and policies have resulted in

1.     
Performance of Assam
in agriculture sector over the last 30 years (400 words)

Assam is blessed with vast stretch of
fertile land along with plenty of water resources and rainfalls thus making it
suitable for agriculture sector. Being an agrarian economy, the state economy
largely depends on agriculture as it employs 63 % of Assam’s population. The
agro-climatic conditions help in cultivation of a wide range of crops from
plantation crops to various fruits, vegetables and other commercial plants. Assam
produces large variety of crops like rice, pulse, sugarcane, mangoes, banana,
pineapple, guava, potato, sweet potato, jute, mustard, tea, rapeseed, areca nut
and turmeric. The total production and productivity of agricultural products
have increased over the years. Exhibit
1 However, tea plantation is the most profit-making segment and offers
employment to large section of workforce in Assam. Assam is well known worldwide
for its production of tea and accounts for 15% (one-seventh) of the total world
production. Assam produces some of the finest tea along with its own variety
named Camellia Assamica. It has its own tea auction centre and possess large centre
of CTC tea. Large dependence on tea plantation can be seen from the fact that
350 thousand hectares of land in Assam cultivated tea in 2014-15 with more than
765 tea gardens and Assam produces 629 million Kgs of tea out of India’s total
production of 1200 million Kgs. 1 A larger push from the government in form of schemes and
policies have resulted in an increase in production of tea over the last
decade. Exhibit 2 Agriculture is
the primary sector of the state’s economy and greatly influence the
socio-economic condition of the state. It contributes to 22.18 % of the state
economy. Between 2004-05 &
2015-16, the agriculture sector has grown at a CAGR of 11.62% Exhibit 3 The net area sown in agriculture
has increased significantly over the last few decades and currently, it accounts
to 54.11% of total geographical activity. It has witnessed a lot of changes in
terms of development of agro-technology and diversification into other
horticulture segment. Despite such huge growth and technological advancement in
agriculture, this hasn’t translated into better economic condition of the
people who still lags behind the annual per capita income of India by a huge
margin and is still considered a poor state. The economy represents a unique
juxtaposition of backwardness amidst development. 12th Five
Year Plan has seen the state turning its focus towards sustainable development in
agriculture. 400 words

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2. Possible causes for
success/failure of Assam in Agriculture sector (500
words)

The success of
Assam in Agriculture sector can be largely attributed to the effort put in by
Government and other institution like World Bank. Various scheme related to
soil & water conservation were implemented to improve the productivity of
the land. The agriculture department in Assam undertook various development projects
to ensure growth in crop production. During 2001-02 & 2015-16, 18 thousand
hectares of land was developed for cultivation. Financial support was
provided to promote agriculture and horticulture. In October, 2017 World Bank
and India signed a loan agreement of US $ 0.2 billion to invest in agriculture
sector. Geographical Indication (GI) for tea produced in Assam, Special Purpose
Tea Fund (SPTF) to support small scale tea grower, establishment of R&D and
Research Institute (Tea Research Association) for improving the processing and
cultivation of tea industry were some of the initiatives taken by the
government for improving tea plantation.

Apart from this,
the government provided grant under Family Oriented Income Generating Scheme
to 200,000 beneficiaries. In 2017-18, US $ 31.4 million was also invested in
development for the agriculture sector under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. It
also invested in developing an area of 652.1 thousand hectares under
horticulture crops. Assam’s tea plantation provided huge investment
opportunities for companies like Goodricke Group. Assam has adhered to organic
way of farming from the start (with the help of government) and this has made Assam
a suitable place to attract firm like Patanjali Ayurved that opened a food park
in Balipara. Fertilizers and pesticides consumption is the lowest in
comparison to other state of the country and other protective measures are
taken by the agricultural institute to protect the plantation. All the policies
and scheme taken have contributed to an increase in agriculture production and productivity
to a great extent. Even banks made sure that agriculture sector can avail loan
at an easy rate so that availability of fund doesn’t hinder its growth.

Despite such progress, these development has not translated
into better living standards of the people. Agriculture was developing but was
not fruitful to the beneficiary. Agricultural sector was plagued with few
manmade and few artificial problems. The infrastructural weakness coupled with
no food processing unit/ factory was one of the main problem. Most of the
products were perishable in nature and absence of processing facility and no
connectivity to marketplace lead to huge agricultural wastage. Hence, farmers can’t
benefit from this development endeavors as they cannot reach the selling point
in time. Absence of food processing unit is detrimental as there are no storage
facility or proper means to preserve the yield from decaying. The
infrastructure issue seems to have a spillover effect on other sectors as well
like attracting investment in the state. Marketing of agricultural products
also poses a problem as state infrastructure is unable to support this
functionality. Apart from lack of infrastructure, natural calamity also
posed problem to the farmers. Lots of rain, flood and soil erosion hampered the
cultivation from time to time.

498 words