Agriculture continues to be the mainstay of the Indian economy because of its greater share in employment and livelihood although its relative contribution to the nation's gross domestic product has declined over the years. Much of India`s food grains supply particularly staple food as wheat and rice come from Indo -Gangetic Plains (IGP), which is the heartbeat of the green revolution and contributed significantly towards India's food security. Since the green revolution, the share of wheat production in the country has been consistently greater around 70-74 percent and the share of rice to the total has been around 40-45 percent. The rice-wheat production system in IGP, therefore, assumes paramount importance in contributing to the national pool as well as providing employment and livelihoods to millions of rural poor.
The Indo-Gangetic Plains of India consist largely of alluvial deposits which are brought down by rivers originating from the Himalayas and the peninsular region. The alluvial soil is fertile in Nature. The rich deposits of this soil make this area suitable for agriculture. This area is the most farmed land in the world as the soils can grow any crop of the tropical and temperate regions.
The plains are flat and many rivers are flowing out of them which makes them instrumental for irrigation purposes. The South-West Monsoon brings rain to this region which is very suitable for general agriculture.
This belt is the world`s most extensive Plains. It is often termed as the `Granary of India`.The region contains the subcontinent's richest and most densely populated areas as 40% of India's population, reside in the areas under the Indo- Gangetic Plains.
The major crops grown in the northern plains of India are Rice(paddy), Wheat, Millets (jowar, bajra, ragi), Sugarcane, cotton.
When the British established colonial rule in India, they imposed a radically different approach to agriculture from what many of the traditional farming had been practicing. Instead of farming for subsistence, the colonial government was concerned with farming for greater economic profit. Much of the land that has until then remained as forests, woodlands, or grasslands was cleared and plowed.