Agriculture is the largest economic sector, playing a significant role in the overall socio-economic development of a country. In Indian economy alongwith its allied sectors, it plays an important role in GDP and exports. Presently more than 60% of the country's population is engaged in this sector in 40% of the geographical area. For 20 years between 1951-1971, other departments like Food, Community Development and Cooperation were part of the Agriculture Ministry. In 1971 the ministry was renamed as Ministry of Agriculture. Presently it comprises of following three departments:
Department of Agriculture & Cooperation
Department of Agriculture Research & Education/ICAR
Department of Animal Husbandary & Dairying
The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation is responsibile for the formulation & implementation of National policies & programmes aimed at achieving rapid agricultural growth through optimum utilization of the country's land, water, soil and plant resources. Matters relating to formulation of overall cooperative policy in the country, national cooperative organisations, cooperative training and education come under the purview of the Department.
The Department of Agricultural Research & Education created in December 1973 coordinates & promotes agricultural research & education in the country. It provides necessary government linkages for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The Department is the nodal agency for International Cooperation in the area of agricultural reseach & education in India. Some of the major functions of the department are: to look after all aspects of the agricultural research & education, involving coordination between the central and state agencies; International co-operation in the field of agricultural research and education; fundamental, applied and operational research and higher education.
The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying - now known as Department of Animal Husbandry Dairying & Fisheries came into existence on February 1, 1991. The Department is responsibile for matters relating to livestock production, preservation, protection from disease and improvement of stocks & dairy development, and also for matters relating to the Delhi Milk Scheme and the National Dairy Development Board. It also looks after all matters pertaining to fishing and fisheries, in land and marine. The Department advises state governments/UTs in the formulation of policies & programmes in the field of Animal Husbandary, Dairy Development & Fisheries.