It is said that “agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy.” To an agriculturist, water is more valuable than gold.
Most Indian crops require abundant, at least sufficient, supply of water. Where there are no irrigation works, the agriculturist gets his water supply entirety from the monsoon.
In South India, most of the rivers are rain-fed. Thus, the irrigation canals in Peninsular India get their water indirectly from the monsoons. Hence, the importance of the monsoons to India can easily be imagined.
The crops grown in the different regions of India and the methods of agriculture pursued are governed chiefly by the amount of rainfall secured by them respectively. Indian economy is largely determined not by the will of man but by the favors and frowns of Nature. This has introduced an element of uncertainty into the Indian economic life.
If the monsoon fails over a wide area, then the result will be famine. The famine problem is largely the consequence of the vagaries of the monsoon.
As the incomes or the agriculturists fall, their capacity to buy the goods and services of other classes of people is diminished. Lawyers, doctors, and even teachers find their incomes reduced. Products of industry do not find a ready market. The supply of raw materials to industry also suffers.
As many agricultural commodities figure prominently in our export trade, a failure of the monsoon affects unfavorably the volume and the balance of India’s foreign trade. Due to the fall in the national income, the revenues of the Government undergo a sharp decline and the Government may, in addition be faced with extraordinary expenditure because of famine relief. Hence, so great is the dependence of Government revenues on the monsoons.
The excessive dependence on India on the caprices of the monsoons may be mitigated by the construction of modern irrigation canals, flood control, afforestation, and diversification of Indian industries.