Punjab is a state in North India, forming part of the larger Punjab region. The state is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. The state capital is located in Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighboring state of Haryana.
After the partition of India in 1947, the Punjab province of British India was divided between India and Pakistan. The Indian Punjab was divided on the basis of language in 1966. It was divided into 3 parts. Haryanvi speaking areas (dialect of Hindi) were carved out as Haryana, Hilly regions and Pahari speaking areas formed Himachal Pradesh alongside the current state of Punjab. Punjab is the only Sikh majority state in India with Sikhs being 57.69% of the population.
Agriculture is the largest industry in Punjab. Other major industries include the manufacturing of scientific instruments, agricultural goods, electrical goods, financial services, machine tools, textiles, sewing machines, sports goods, starch, tourism, fertilisers, bicycles, garments, and the processing of pine oil and sugar. Punjab has the largest number of steel rolling mill plants in India, which are located in “Steel Town”—Mandi Gobindgarh in the Fatehgarh Sahib district. It is also known for the sports hub—Jalandhar.
Punjab is one of the most fertile regions in India. The region is ideal for wheat-growing. Rice, sugar cane, fruits and vegetables are also grown. Indian Punjab is called the “Granary of India” or “India’s bread-basket”. The Firozpur and Fazilka Districts are the largest producers of wheat and rice in the state. In worldwide terms, Indian Punjab produces 2% of the world’s cotton, 2% of its wheat and 1% of its rice. The largest cultivated crop is wheat. Other important crops are rice, cotton, sugarcane, pearl millet, maize, barley and fruit. Rice and wheat are double cropped in Punjab with rice stalks being burned off over millions of acres prior to the planting of wheat. This widespread practice is polluting and wasteful.
The state has been awarded the National Productivity Award for agriculture extension services for ten years, from 1991–92 to 1998–99 and from 2001 to 2003–04. In recent years a drop in productivity has been observed, mainly due to falling fertility of the soil. This is believed to be due to excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides over the years. Another worry is the rapidly falling water table on which almost 90% of the agriculture depends; alarming drops have been witnessed in recent years. By some estimates, groundwater is falling by a meter or more per year.
According to the India State Hunger Index, Punjab has the lowest level of hunger in India.
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