Unfortunately, this widespread urban development is still counterbalanced by the low annual income per capita (US $ 140, against 2760 in Western Europe and US $ 6240 in 1975) and the large impact on the national economy of agriculture. This, while providing between 46% and 52% of the gross national production, is carried out with backward systems and dominated by a very gifted rural elite that conditions and almost always overturns the main aims of every development program, with consequent further aggravation of the country’s most pressing social and economic problems. The most vital sector is still cereals, which has more than doubled its production in the last fifteen years (in 1975, the production of rice, whose cultivation is widespread throughout the country.
However, the average yields per hectare are still low (rice, 18 q; wheat, 13; millet 5) where it would be possible to achieve great progress with a greater use of fertilizers, with the selection of seeds, with the reduction of losses caused by destruction. of food from insects and rodents (it is estimated that mice reach two billion) and, above all, with irrigation.
Since 1960, numerous plans, financing and technical contributions have been prepared for the diffusion of irrigation practices. In 1968, over 27 million ha of land were irrigated, while numerous projects are still underway (Gandak, Kosi, Kakrapara, Tawa, Bhadra, Krishna, Malpratoha, Bahkra, Nangal, Rājasthān) aiming at a more rational irrigation of the courses water and more efficient agricultural use of land.
According to Topschoolsintheusa, water control is now more advanced in the Deccan (where the Tungabhdra, Damdar and Hirakud, Konya and Mettur dams have already been completed and operational for some time), less so in the northern and Himalayan regions (Sukkur dams, completed, and Satlj and Kosi, recently designed) due to the greater complexity of the technical problems to be solved.
Other relevant agricultural productions are potatoes, cassava, bananas, oil plants (which make a significant contribution to exports), jute, hemp, cotton (typical of the arid regions of the Indian North), citrus fruits, vegetables and tobacco. Finally, tea from Assam, coffee from the southernmost regions and sugar cane from the Gangetic plain (production of sugar and gur) deserve a special mention. However, the crop picture of the Indian regions has diversified only in some cases. Generally, only high-income crops (cotton, tobacco, etc.) have attracted the investment and adequate care that modern agriculture requires to India. Other commercial and food crops, both in cooperative and private form,
Breeding deserves a mention, as it is almost never really associated with agriculture. India is a country with a pastoral tradition, as evidenced by the high number of cattle (it is estimated that there is one for every 2.7 residents), among which a large prevalence of dairy animals should be noted. However, the yields remain meager and the price of the product is high, which limits its consumption.
To complete the picture of the activities of the primary sector, fishing remains. It is practiced along the entire coastal strip, but especially in Kerala, with insufficient means and rudimentary techniques that allow a very limited exploitation of the marine environment (in 1975, 2,328,000 t). Fishermen use small boats, the kattu – maram, simple rafts formed by three or five trunks tied, on which they stand, or masula, boats of boards tied together, governed with a rudder. These boats only allow inshore fishing. In the period affected by the monsoon of the sea, a season of great storms and deadly cyclones, the fisherman must stop his activity. Fishing yields are very low, so current conditions are as poor as they were in the 1960s. Greater investments, the creation of cooperatives, a modernization of the structures would allow on the contrary the full exploitation of a resource that potentially (it is estimated that the fishing opportunities in Kerala, for example, are 10 times higher than the current production) offers conspicuous prospects for launch a program of significant socio-economic improvement. But the negative aspects already examined, in addition to curbing the impulses of greater productivity in the primary sector, also distance the terms of a radical industrial revolution which could find the conditions for rapid development only in the implementation of a rational and efficient agriculture. Thus, apart from the fact that mineral resources, neither abundant nor complete in their range, have not yet been fully exploited, industry, in conjunction with the “dependent” character of the national economy, has expanded rather than narrowed vast socio-economic disparities. In fact, it largely depends on foreign “aid”, which then profoundly affects both the structure of exports and imports and (and above all) the approach and the implementation of the various planned development policies, with consequent significant control of large sectors of local industry by foreign capital. The technological domination exercised by the United States in recent years, in addition to curbing any impulse on the part of Indian industrialists, has literally wiped out the national bourgeoisie from the political and economic scene, which instead played a large part in the economic development of Western countries. Among the most vital industrial sectors, however, appear precisely those that have undergone a more intense process of nationalization in the last decade, namely the textile sector (cotton mills in Bombay, Surat, Baroda, Aḥmadābād, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Sholapur, Madras, which in 1973 produced 7,833 million m of cotton fabric and 998,200 t of yarn; the Kanpur mill, silk factories of Varanasi, Mysore, Jagirood; factories, etc.), of iron, steel and coal, which gave rise to a mixed form of industrial management, together with the steel, chemical and petrochemical ones (the major complexes are the steel plants of Jamshedpur, Udaipur, of the Damodar, Raurkela and Bhilai valleys) the metallurgical plants of Tundao, the various mechanical factories, the paper mills of Calcutta, Ranigany, Poona, etc.; the chemical and pharmaceutical plants of Calcutta, Sinti, Bombay; the cement factories of Madras and Sindi; the food industries, especially the sugar factories in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madras, Cossipur, etc. and finally, the Bombay film industry. It should also be noted that the lack of sufficient oil resources (natural gas: 1032 million m3 in 1975, oil from the Gujarat plain, in Panjāb and Assam with just 8.2 million tonnes in 1975), negatively affects the economy of the country, where it is in progress, precisely in connection with the general increase in cost of raw materials on the world market, an inflationary process that threatens to break the already delicate and precarious economic equilibrium of the state. Thus, if in 1972 the foreign trade of the India reached the total value of about 4.5 billion US dollars, it is unlikely that there will be a further increase in exports in the next few years, which up to that date have been consistently lower. to imports and that only since 1972 mark a slightly higher value than the latter.