New Delhi– The impact of climate change could reduce annual agricultural incomes from 15 to 25 per cent, which translates into loss of over Rs 3,600 for the median farm household, says the Economic Survey 2018, which was tabled in Parliament on Monday.

It said the susceptibility to climate change can be minimised by extending irrigation facilities and replacing untargated subsidies in power and fertiliser by direct income support.

“Applying IPCC-predicted temperatures and projecting India’s recent trends in precipitation, and assuming no policy responses, give rise to estimates for farm income losses of 15 percent to 18 percent on average, rising to 20 percent-25 percent for unirrigated areas,” it said.

“At current levels of farm income, that translates into more than Rs 3,600 per year for the median farm household”.

Agriculture accounted for 16 per cent of the GDP and 49 per cent of employment, thus poor performance “can lead to inflation, farmer distress and unrest, and larger political and social disaffection –all of which can hold back the economy”.

As per the report, about 73.2 million hectares area of 141.4 million hectares net sown area (52 per cent) was still unirrigated and rainfed making Indian agriculture vulnerable to the vagaries of weather.

Fully irrigating Indian agriculture, especially in the wake of water scarcity and limited efficiency in existing irrigation schemes, posed “a defining challenge for the future”, it said.

It also underlined the need to embrace agriculture science and technology “with renewed ardor”. (IANS)