Did technological intervention help to spare land from agriculture: evidence from post liberalisation India
India has witnessed fairly high economic growth since economic liberalisation started in 1991. However, agriculture has remained excluded from the growth experienced in other economic sectors. This growth paradox has serious implications for the agricultural land use pattern. This study uses the Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis to examine the impact of agricultural technology and economic development on agricultural land expansion in India. Panel data regression is performed on an unbalanced sample covering information from 25 Indian states for the period 1990 to 2008. Our results suggest a nonlinear (N shaped) relationship between agricultural land expansion and Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) per capita. Two incomes turning points, showing the level of NSDP per capita at which inflection between agricultural land expansion and NSDP per capita takes place, occur at INR 20986.14 and INR 42855.10 respectively. We find mixed results as far as the impact of technological variables on agricultural land expansion is concerned. The study concludes that rapid economic growth in the post liberalisation period has failed to reverse agricultural land expansion in India.