Exploring Integrated Assessment Approaches
Edited by Desmond McNeill, Ingrid Nesheim and Floor Brouwer
Chapter 10: Agrarian Crisis and Policy Links: A Framework for Karnataka, India
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil and Sham Kashyap The analysis of agricultural land use changes provides one important missing link between existing policies and the crisis prevailing in Indian agriculture. This chapter presents a brief overview of spatio-temporal patterns of land use in Karnataka in a framework, and reviews policies that have direct or indirect effects on this pattern. We link these changes to the socio-economic-ecological crisis of agriculture, establishing empirical linkages between policies, land use, cropping pattern and sustainability of small-scale agriculture. AGRARIAN CRISIS IN INDIA Cultivated area (about 45 per cent) and area under forests (22 per cent) are the major land use categories in India. Employing nearly 60 per cent of the workforce, agriculture is the single largest source of employment in the country. Even though the share of agriculture in the national income has continued to decrease (from about 28 per cent of GDP in 1995 to 17 per cent in 2008–09), agriculture is still crucial in terms of employment, food security and budgetary allocation. Nevertheless, problems in the sector are rampant. Ecological problems facing the sector include declining soil health, water availability, and agro-biodiversity; economic problems include adverse terms of trade, conversion of agricultural lands, volatile prices and indebtedness. Social problems are exemplified by erosion of social institutions among rural communities, income disparity and, in the past one and a half decades, widespread distress among farming communities. There is a considerable body of literature on agricultural sector and related policy recommendations for the country. These...
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