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hectares) after US and largest gross irrigated area (88 milion hectares) in the world. Rice, wheat, cotton, oilseeds, jute, tea, sugarcane, milk and potatoes are the major agricultural commodities produced. More importantly, over 60 per cent of the country’s population, comprising several million small farming households, depends on agriculture as a principal income source and land continues to be the main asset for livelihood security. 

After Independence, India followed an agricultural development strategy that focused on self-sufficiency in staple foods like wheat and rice. Agrarian reforms were undertaken in the form of consolidation of holdings, abolition of landlordism etc. However, for most part of the country, these reforms have remained just in paper thus not ensuring equitable distribution of land.