The direct contribution of the agriculture sector to national economy is reflected by its share in total GDP, its foreign exchange earnings, and its role in supplying savings and labor to other sectors. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry and fishing accounted for 18.5 percent of total Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2005-06 (at 1999-2000 constant prices) and employed about 58 percent of the country's workforce (CSO, 2007). It accounted for 10.95 percent of India’s exports in 2005-06 (GoI, 2007) and about 46 percent of India's geographical area is used for agricultural activity. There has been a structural transformation in the Indian economy during the past few decades. The composition of Gross Domestic Product at 1993-94 constant prices reveals that the share of agriculture including forestry and fishing has declined as growth in industrial and services sectors far outpaced agricultural sector (Figure 1). The share of mining, manufacturing, electricity and construction sector has increased from 21.6 percent in 1970-71 to 27 percent in 2004-05 and services sector has increased significantly from 32 percent to 52.4 percent during the same period. Despite a steady decline of its share in the GDP, agriculture is still an important sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic development of the country. Therefore, fostering rapid, sustained and broad-based growth in agriculture remains key priority for the government.
Consistent with the trends of economic development at national level, role of agricultural sector in the state economies is also changing rapidly. The share of agriculture in Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has declined significantly during the last two decades. In some States, such as Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Orissa, the sector today contributes more than one-quarter of GSDP, while in some states, such as Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, the sector contributes less than 20 percent to GSDP (Figure 2). However, contribution of agriculture to GSDP has declined in almost all States between 1993-94 and 2004-05. The decline was the highest in Karnataka (16%), followed by Haryana (14.2%), and Kerala (13.7%). In Karnataka, decline was mainly due to significant increase in the share of service sector (from 37.9% in 1993-94 to 54.7% in 2004-05) mainly driven by informational technology (IT) industry. Similar is the case with Haryana the decline is due to faster development of services sector in cities around the national capital, Delhi. Despite declining share of agriculture in the economy, majority of workforce continue to depend on agricultural sector for employment and in rural areas dependence on agriculture is more as nearly 75 percent of rural population is employed in agricultural sector. However, there is disguised employment in the sector due to limited opportunities for rural non-farm employment. This disguised employment leads to lower labor and resources productivity in the sector relative to other sectors of the economy. The low labor productivity leads to higher rates of poverty in rural areas (Figure 3). Agriculture in India is constitutionally the responsibility of the states rather than the central government. The central government's role is in formulating policy and providing financial resources for agriculture to the states.
Agricultural finance generally means studying, examining and analyzing the financial aspects pertaining to farm business, which is the core sector of India. The financial aspects include money matters relating to production of agricultural products and their disposal.
Definition of Agricultural finance:
Murray (1953) defined agricultural. finance as “an economic study of borrowing funds by farmers, the organization and operation of farm...