country inherited a stagnant agriculture at the time of Independence. The
traditional tools and implements relied mostly on human and animal power and
used a negligible amount of commercial energy. However, successive governments
realized the importance of agriculture and initiatives were taken for the
growth of this sector. Increased investment in irrigation infrastructure,
expansion of credit, marketing, and processing facilities (http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/10th/volume2/v2_ch5_1.pdf),
therefore, led to a significant increase in the use of modern inputs.
Till the 1950s, use of tractors for agriculture was
very limited. Tractor manufacturing in India started in 1961 with aggregate
capacity to manufacture 11 000 tractors. Joint efforts made by the
government and private sector have led to steady increase in the level of
mechanization over the years.
Given that rains are not
always timely and evenly distributed, farmers prefer pump sets as a more
reliable and assured source of irrigation; as a result, energization of pump sets have been increasing
rapidly. As on 31 March 2004, 14.1 million pump sets had been energized.
Maharashtra has the maximum number of energized pump sets (2.4 million),
followed by Andhra Pradesh (2.3 million). Earlier, the average capacity of the
pump sets was 3.68 kW and a pump set on an average consumed 6004 kWh of
electricity in that year (Central Electricity Authority, 2005). However, owing to insufficient electricity
supplies, some farmers have also procured diesel pump sets as a standby. In the
recent past, concerted efforts of the government has led to an introduction of biomass and solar photovoltaic
based pumping systems
result of increased mechanization in agriculture, crop production and rural
agro processing emerged as one of the major consumers of commercial energy. The
share of mechanical and electrical power in agriculture increased from 40% in
1971/72 to 84% in 2003/04. The availability of farm power per unit area (kW/ha) has been considered as one of
the parameters of expressing the level of mechanization. Power availability for
carrying out various agricultural operations has increased from 0.3 kW/ha in
1971/72 to the tune of 1.4 kW/ha in 2003/04 (http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2004-05/chapt2005/chap814.pdf).
load in the agriculture sector in 2004 was estimated to be 51.84 GW, the number
of consumers being 12.8 million. The electricity consumption in agriculture during 2003/04 was 87 089
GWh (second highest)?24.13% of the total electricity consumption. There was an
increase of 3.08% in the electricity sales to the agriculture sector in 2003/04
over 2002/03 (CEA 2005). Electricity consumption in agriculture sector has been
increasing mainly because of greater irrigation demand for new crop varieties
and subsidized electricity to this sector. Moreover, due importance is not
given to proper selection, installation, operation, and maintenance of pumping
sets, as a result of which they do not operate at the desired level of
efficiency, leading to huge waste of energy.
consumed 7 123 thousand tonnes of HSD (high-speed diesel) in 2003/04, accounting
for 19.2% of the total HSD consumption during the year. Consumption of LDO
(light diesel oil) and furnace oil for plantation in 2003/04 was 44 000 and 243
000 tonnes, respectively, accounting for 2.7% of the total LDO and 2.9% of the
total furnace oil consumed in the country. Consumption of furnace oil for
transport (agriculture retail trade) in the agriculture sector was 94 thousand
tonnes (Ministry of Power and Natural Gas 2004). However, it is difficult to
assess the total diesel consumption for agriculture from the available data.