Growing demand for high-value food commodities is opening up opportunities for farmers, especially smallholders to diversify towards commodities that have strong potential for higher returns to land, labour and capital. But, there is an apprehension about the capability of smallholders to participate in the market-oriented production due to their lack of access to markets, capital, inputs, and technology and extension services.

This paper has studied rural employment diversification in India and across major states using NSSO data at household level for the period 1983 and 2009-10. Factors affecting rural employment diversification towards non-farm sector have also been studied. Analysis has shown that the non-farm sector has consistently grown over time and employed nearly one-third of the rural workforce in 2009-10, as compared to merely one-fifth in 1983 at all-India level.

Using macro level data on MGNREGA performance in drought-prone states of Karnataka and Rajasthan as well as in irrigation-dominated state of Andhra Pradesh, this study has revealed that the impact of MGNREGA wage on the economic scarcity of labour is relatively modest when compared with the impact of hike in non-farm wages. Even though the provision of food security through public distribution system has contributed to the economic scarcity of labour, the relative hike in non-farm wages is contributing to higher economic scarcity of labour rather than PDS and MGNREGA wages.

The effect of sand mining on the economic performance of groundwater irrigation has been studied in the Panruti taluk of Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu. A comparison of water productivity for different farms-size categories has been done in sand mining and non-sand mining blocks. The cropping sequence, cropping intensity, irrigation particulars, investment pattern on tubewells, use of different HP-motors, etc. have been studied in sand mining and non-sand mining blocks.