I dont know the exact number but more than 50% of population of out country depend on agriculture for livelihood. The growth rate in Indian agriculture has been abysmally low. May be around 2% of less that that. So although the average earning/purchasing power of Indian people is increasing, its mostly because of other less that 50% of population. This fact can be looked from two angles:
1. Divide between rich and poor will increase leading to social unrest and instability
2. There is immense opportunity in agriculture industry. If, somehow, this “more that 50%” people can be made to earn more and hence spend more, economy can catapult in a healthy way.
So what are the problems to be solved.
Firstly, farmers have very little knowledge. They dont know what crops are suitable for the land they have, how to time the whether, which seeds, fertilizers, pesticides to use, how to sell the yields profitability and how to add value to the crops. Empowering farmers by providing them more information will not only boost farmers income but also improve our crop productivity and hence GDP.
Secondly, there is lack of trading systems for farmers. I agree, mandis exist in local towns and villages but they are largely manipulated by traders. And farmers dont know about commodity exchanges.
Thirdly, rural infrastructure is next to nothing. There are no roads connecting them to cities. Thanks to mobiles, some communication gap is being filled up. Electricity, water supply, hygiene are all missing.
The third problem is largely the responsibility of government but in absence of one (not government but a good one), it is left over to enterprises and NGOs. The problem with enterprises is that they need to see the profitability in avenues. I thing first and second problem do have such avenues. And if some smart people can come up with ideas to resolve the third problem too, it can make the backbone of rural India. “More that 50%” people will get rich and so will people resolving their problem. Remember the market size comprises 500M people. And that is just India.