Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land and Livestock Holdings of Households in Rural India: NSS 77th Round (January-December 2019)


This report was published in September 2021 by the National Statistical Office of the government of India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. It contains the results of a survey conducted as part of the 77th round of the National Statistical Survey (NSS). An assessment of agricultural households, land and livestock holdings was last undertaken in 2013 by the National Sample Survey Office as part of the NSS’s 70th round.

The publication aims to generate data on land and other holdings in rural India, including livestock ownership and estimates on farm households. For this purpose, the NSS examined households across the countryside, except those villages in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that were difficult to access. They surveyed 58,035 households in January-August 2019 and 56,89 in September-December 2019.

Information was collected on a range of parameters, including receipts and expenditure of farm and non-farm businesses, as well as the income, productive assets, ownership, farming practices and indebtedness of agricultural households. The report also provides information on land use and ownership of livestock in rural India.


  1. An ‘agricultural household’ is defined as “…a household receiving value of produce more than Rs. 4000/- from agricultural activities (e.g., cultivation of field crops, horticultural crops, fodder crops, plantation, animal husbandry, poultry, fishery, piggery, bee-keeping, vermiculture, sericulture, etc.) and having at least one member self-employed in agriculture either in the principal status or in subsidiary status during last 365 days.”

  2. The total number of rural households in India was 172.443 million between July 2018 and June 2019, according to the report. About 54 per cent (93.094 million) of these were agricultural households and the rest (79.35 million) were ‘non-agricultural’ households.

  3. About 70.4 per cent of agricultural households possessed less than a hectare of land and only 0.4 per cent had more than 10 hectares. A staggering number – 98.9 per cent – of households categorised as ‘non-agricultural’ possessed less than one hectare, and none of them owned more than 10 hectares.

  4. According to data collected during July 2018-June 2019, 14.2 per cent of agricultural households in India belong to members of Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities, 15.9 per cent to Scheduled Castes (SCs), and 45.8 per cent to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

  5. In rural households, the literacy rate among persons aged seven and more was 73.4 per cent. About 32.1 per cent of persons aged 15 and above had received secondary education. As low as 0.5 per cent of those over 15 years had received formal training in agriculture.

  6. The report termed households with no land or ownership holdings of less than 0.002 hectares as 'landless'. About 7.4 per cent of rural households were landless in 2013 and 8.2 per cent in 2019.

  7. Rural households held an average of 0.512 hectares of land each, as per the report. ST, SC, OBC and other households owned 14.1, 10.2, 47.2 and 28.5 per cent of the total land in rural India.

  8. In 2018, about 48.7 per cent of agricultural households had access to ‘technical advice’ on farm activities through radio, television, agricultural universities and other sources. This number decreased to 42.2 per cent in 2019.

  9. The average monthly income per agricultural household during July 2018-June 2019 was Rs. 8,337. Income from wages (the report does not specify the sources) was stated to be Rs. 4,063 and income from leasing land was Rs. 134.

  10. The average monthly expenses for crop production across all sizes of landholdings during 2018-2019 was Rs. 3,739 per household. This includes ‘paid out’ expenses (out of pocket expenditure for farm inputs) as well as ‘imputed’ ones (where no actual expenses are incurred, for example, seeds from an existing stock, manure and unpaid family labour).

  11. In 2018-19, the average monthly expenditure – both paid out and imputed – for every household engaged in the ‘farming of animals’ was Rs. 3,018.

  12. The average ‘outstanding loan’ for each agricultural household was Rs. 74,121, as on the date of survey. The percentage of indebted agricultural households regardless of the size of land possessed was 50.2 per cent.

  13. Out of the total amount of outstanding loans recorded in the survey, 44.5 per cent was taken from commercial banks, 8.1 per cent from regional rural banks, 6.7 per cent from co-operative societies, 3.9 per cent from co-operative banks, 3.2 per cent from self help groups, and 3.2 per cent from insurance companies, microfinance firms and other agencies.

  14. The non-institutional sources of loans  were professional moneylenders (14 per cent), agricultural moneylenders (6.5 per cent), friends and relatives (5.7 per cent), and others (4.5 per cent).

  15. Majority of outstanding loans were for ‘revenue expenditure in farm business’ (31.6 per cent), which includes costs of seeds, manure, fodder, wages, rent and land revenue. Nearly 26 per cent of the loans were for capital expenditures such as purchasing land or machinery, as well as repairs. The report reports the purpose of the loan as the original reason for borrowing it rather than the way in which it was utilised.

    Focus and Factoids by Neymat Chadha.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi


National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi


10 Sep, 2021