Yes this is unbelievable but true because a study report says it. In the post-1990 period, Bihar has registered fastest agricultural growth in the country with 4.4% growth in this sector. Punjab has surprisingly slipped down into the list of least-growing states in agriculture sector.
According to the report, high production of fruit and vegetable actually boosted the growth rate of agriculture in Bihar.
Prof Gurmail Singh of Department of Economics, Punjab University, Chandigarh, who conducted a study on the growth rate in agriculture among Indian states, has made it clear that Punjab has been slipped to the 14th place in the list of 17 states. Bihar, surprisingly has topped the list by registering fastest growth rate in this sector.
Punjab chief minister, Parkash Singh Badal, has also accepted that the state has witnessed low growth rate in agriculture with a mere one percent growth in past some years. According to him, two per cent farmers in Punjab contribute 50 per cent food grains in the central pool but still the Centre denies them remunerative prices for their produce.
The interesting part of the story is that Akali Dal was an ally in ruling National Democratic Alliance that ruled at the Centre for six years in post-1990 period.
Badal further said:
The fate of the center decides the fate of farming community across the country and the states were being kept out of the price fixing mechanism.
According to Gurmail Singh’s study report, the process of liberalization has its own impact on the farming sector in the country. Soil and technology fatigue, adverse weather conditions, surge in import of edible oil and other commodities in the post-WTO period are some of the main reasons behind the poor show of Punjab in farming sector.
Punjab had managed to maintain a constant rate of growth of four per cent per annum for almost 30 years. However, the state hardly managed 1.1 per cent growth during the 1990s era. The increasing dependence of population on agriculture also resulted in the virtual stagnation of farm incomes for 15 long years.
However, the study did not reveal how Bihar managed to capture the top place in the list with more than 4 per cent growth in last 15 years and what were the factors behind the rise of agriculture products in Bihar.
This is being said that the empowerment of the sections of society engaged in farming (mostly backwards) during this period and the higher rate of migration of surplus population to other states for jobs have contributed in putting Bihar at no. one position in agriculture growth.