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GS Paper 3: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems, storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.



Agriculture is crucial for ensuring the food and livelihood security of the country and hence it is important that this sector becomes resilient to increasing climatic variabilities and changes.  A resilient agricultural production system is the pre-requisite to sustain productivity in the event of extreme climatic variabilities. Although Indian farmers have evolved many coping mechanisms over the years, these have fallen short of an effective response strategy in dealing with recurrent and intense forms of extreme events on the one hand and gradual changes in climate parameters including rise in surface temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, increase in evapo-transpiration rates and degrading soil moisture conditions on the other. The need of the hour is, therefore, to synergise modern agriculture research with the indigenous wisdom of the farmers to enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture to climate change.

                                National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has been formulated for enhancing agricultural productivity especially in rainfed areas focusing on integrated farming, water use efficiency, soil health management and synergizing resource conservation.

Objectives of the mission

  • To make agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient by promoting location specific Integrated/Composite Farming Systems;
  • To conserve natural resources through appropriate soil and moisture conservation measures;
  • To adopt comprehensive soil health management practices based on soil fertility maps, soil test based application of macro & micro nutrients, judicious use of fertilizers etc.;
  • To optimize utilization of water resources through efficient water management to expand coverage for achieving ‘more crop per drop’ ;
  • To develop capacity of farmers & stakeholders, in conjunction with other on - going Missions e.g. National Mission on Agriculture Extension & Technology, National Food Security Mission, National Initiative for Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) etc., in the domain of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures;
  • To pilot models in select blocks for improving productivity of rainfed farming by mainstreaming rainfed technologies refined through NICRA and by leveraging resources from other schemes/Missions like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), RKVY etc.; and
  • To establish an effective inter and intra Departmental/Ministerial co - ordination for accomplishing key deliverables of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture under the aegis of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).


Components of the mission

  • Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture: Monitoring, Modelling and Networking (CCSAMMN)

CCSAMMN provides creation and bidirectional (land/farmers to research/scientific establishments and vice versa) dissemination of climate change related information and knowledge by way of piloting climate change adaptation/mitigation research/model projects in the domain of climate smart sustainable management practices and integrated farming system suitable to local agro - climatic conditions. Comprehensive pilot blocks will be supported to illustrate functional mechanism for dissemination of rainfed technologies, planning, convergence and coordination with flagship schemes/Missions like MGNREGS, IWMP, Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), RKVY, NFSM, NHM, NMAET etc.


  • Rainfed Area Development (RAD)

RAD adopts an area based approach for development and conservation of natural resources along with farming systems. This component has been formulated in a ‘watershed plus framework’, i.e., to explore potential utilization of natural resources base/assets available/created through watershed development and soil conservation activities /interventions under MGNREGS, NWDPRA, RVP&FPR, RKVY, IWMP etc.. This component introduces appropriate farming systems by integrating multiple components of agriculture such as crops, horticulture, livestock, fishery, forestry with agro based income generating activities and value addition. Besides, soil test/soil health card based nutrient management practices, farmland development, resource conservation and crop selection conducive to local agro climatic condition are also promoted under this component.


  • On Farm Water Management (OFWM)

OFWM focuses primarily on enhancing water use efficiency by promoting efficient on - farm water management technologies and equipment. This not only focuses on application efficiency but, in conjunction with RAD component, also will emphasize on effective harvesting & management of rainwater. Assistance will be extended for adopting water conservation technologies, efficient delivery and distribution systems etc. Emphasis will also be given to manage and equitably distribute the resources of commons by involving the water users associations, etc.


  • Soil Health Management (SHM)

SHM aims at promoting location as well as crop specific sustainable soil health management including residue management, organic farming practices by way of creating and linking soil fertility maps with macro - micro nutrient management, appropriate land use based on land capability, judicious application of fertilizers and minimizing the soil erosion/degradation. Assistance will be provided for various improved package of practices based on land use and soil characteristics, generated through geographical information system (GIS) based thematic maps and database on land and soil characteristics through extensive field level scientific surveys.



The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is envisaged as one of the eight Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) with the objective of promoting Sustainable Agriculture. The thrust areas to be addressed under this Mission are Dryland agriculture, access to information, bio-technology and risk management, etc . NAPCC has made a clarion call to devise strategies to make Indian agriculture more resilient to climate change with focus on improving productivity of rainfed agriculture. This National Mission would cover both adaptation and mitigation measures in the domain of crops and animal husbandry, including research.   


Previous Year Questions

  1. Food Security Bill is expected to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in India. Critically discuss various apprehensions in its effective implementation along with the concerns it has generated in WTO. (2013)
  2. What are the different types of agriculture subsidies given to farmers at the national and at state levels? Critically analyse the agricultural subsidy regime with reference to the distortions created by it. (2013)
  3. India needs to strengthen measures to promote the pink revolution in food industry for ensuring better nutrition and health. Critically elucidate the statement. (2013)
  4. Establish relationship between land reforms, agricultural productivity and elimination of poverty in the Indian economy. Discuss the difficulties in designing and implementation of agriculture – friendly land reforms in India (2013)
  5. There is also a point of view that Agricultural Produce Market Committees [APMCs) set up under the State Acts have not only impeded the development of agriculture but also have been the cause of food inflation in India. Critically examine. (2014)
  6. Discuss this statement in the background of agricultural finance in India. What constraints and challenges do financial institutions supplying agricultural finance face? How can technology be used to better reach and serve rural clients? (2014)
  7. Livestock rearing has a big potential for providing non- farm employment and income in rural areas. Discuss suggesting suitable measures to promote this sector in India. (2015)
  8. What are the impediments in marketing and supply chain management in developing the food processing industry in India? Can e-commerce help in overcoming this bottleneck? (2016)