Based on primary data collected from 105 farming households spread across three districts and nine villages of central Punjab, this study examines groundwater depletion and consequent shifts of the farmers from centrifugal to submersible pumps. It also documents adaptation strategies of farmers in response to groundwater depletion. Owing to groundwater depletion, borewell deepening started in the 1980s and was witnessed on almost all the farms by the mid-1990s.

The state of Punjab has followed a path of intensive agriculture, leading to prevalence of rice-wheat monoculture along with higher input–use. As a consequence, it resulted into serious threat of long term sustainability of agriculture within the state.

The present study makes an attempt to develop a composite index to measure sustainability of food systems. By assuming three components of food systems, namely availability, access and utilization, the data were utilized on 19 indicators pertaining to these components over the period 1970-71 to 2009-10. The values of overall index showed a marked and continuous improvement in the sustainability of food systems in Punjab.

The non-farm sector is fast emerging as an important component of developing rural economies, with an increasing number of rural workers seeking their livelihoods in this sector.

Modern agriculture based on high yielding seeds, chemical using production and protection technologies and intensive use of natural resources paid rich dividends by bringing manifold increase in foodgrain productivity and production, enhancing farmers' income, reducing poverty and contributing significantly towards attainment of food self-sufficiency at the national level.