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But this picture of the agriculture sector washes over the multiple challenges that had to be overcome since the country's independence and the tremendous administrative and bureaucratic help the sector received to get to its present state. Here is how the Indian agriculture sector evolved since independence to be what it is today.
The beginning of a difficult journey [1947 - the 1950s]
The single biggest challenge facing the agricultural sector post-independence was for it to become self-sufficient. Owing to very little investment in agricultural infrastructure, especially irrigation networks and the use of low yield seeds, agricultural output was mostly dependant on the monsoons and a bit of luck. This issue was compounded by the fact that almost 80% of the Indian workforce was, in some way, involved in the agriculture sector.
Therefore the government undertook numerous initiatives to bridge this gap:
However, the biggest hurdle facing agriculture in these times was irrigation. Out of 160 million hectares of arable land in India, only 22.6 million hectares were irrigated by 1951.
The years of Revolution [1960s - 1990]
Despite India’s best efforts, the drought of 1965-1966 was a severe blow to the aim of food security. This, coupled with a need to increase revenue from the massive agriculture sector, resulted in a slew of administrative reforms and initiatives which ushered in various revolutions:
The years of policy and digitization [1990 - Present]
After improving upon the basics of agriculture by introducing HYV seeds, a massive irrigation network, pesticides, fertilizers, and insecticides, the Indian government embarked on numerous formative policies to ensure that the agriculture sector met local demands could also actively compete on a global stage. The first in this endeavour was the Small Farmer’s Agri-Business consortium , which ushered in private and institutional investments in agriculture.
The Horticulture Mission for North East And Himalayan States  was established to capitalise on the rich soils of these states and their geography, which is not conducive for large-scale farming of grains but is ideal for fruits and vegetables. Consequently, India’s horticultural output has more than doubled since 2001 and stood at 314 million tonnes in 2018-19.
Through a collaboration between various farming agencies, NGOs, farmer cooperatives, and other government bodies, the Agricultural Technology Management Agency [ATMA], launched in 2005, seeks to ensure that it can provide the technological infrastructure required by Indian farmers under a multitude of schemes. Furthermore, the National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture and the National Food Security Mission launched in 2006 and 2007, respectively, are also responsible for bringing the agricultural sector into the digital age by incorporating the latest technological practices into the Indian agriculture sphere.
Boasting of extensive arable land, massive irrigation projects, and the use of the most modern technologies along with firm administrative and bureaucratic support, India’s agricultural sector can become one of the richest and largest in the world. Considering that India’s largest workforce is employed in this sector, it is not only important but necessary that we do so.
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