Additions to forest and tree cover constitute an important element of India’s Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions to reductions in global carbon emissions. This Data Brief describes the enormous efforts that have been undertaken by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, as well as the Forest Departments at the state level in raising plantations across India.
India being an agrarian economy is highly dependent on monsoons. According to Agricultural census 2011-12, around 58% of the districts in India are rain-fed. Climatic changes being witnessed in the form of erratic rainfall events are bringing distress to the farm economy. In a recent survey by NABARD1, 54% of the households have faced crop failure due to excess rainfall, very low rainfall or unseasonal rainfall in the last ten years. While, only 18% of the farm households have reported facing distress from sudden fall in market price of crops. Even though 85% of total water withdrawals is by the agricultural sector, water efficient irrigation has been receiving greater attention very recently. Public expenditure in irrigation has been mostly concentrated in Major irrigation schemes. These are huge dams, reservoirs and hydropower projects. Some of the concerns are that India’s spending on food and fertilizer subsidies are crowding out much-needed investments in irrigation.
The data brief focuses on four States that comprise Central India namely, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Prades, and Jharkhand. Using various sources of data, the brief shows that these States house a larger proportion of Scheduled Tribe population which are mostly rain-dependent for their agricultural use. However, despite the proportion of rain-dependency being higher, the Scheduled Tribe (ST) dominated areas in these States are producing more water-intensive crops than producing water-saving crops such as millets. A sustained shift towards producing more millets in ST dominated regions of Central India could help these regions to protect themselves from crop failures due to lack of irrigation and also improve the nutritional status of the people in these regions.
Rainfed agriculture in India continues to account for a major share of the cultivated area in India, at around 56 percent (Suresh et al, 20141). India ranks first in the world both in the area under rainfed agriculture and value of produce from rainfed agriculture (Rao et al, 20152). It contributes substantially towards the production of food grains such as coarse cereals (87%), pulses (85%), oilseeds (72%) and cotton (65%) (Rao et al, 2015). This data brief presents a temporal-spatial study of consumption of some of the major rainfed crops in India. While consumption of food is strongly linked with individual and regional tastes and preferences, it is useful to look at how the trends have changed or stayed constant over the years.