Importance of India’s Agricultural Economy to Its Development

Topics: Agriculture, Jawaharlal Nehru, Punjab Pages: 7 (2501 words) Published: October 20, 2008
Importance of India’s Agricultural Economy to its Development

Modern day India has in some aspects advanced very far from where it was at the break of the century when it was still under British rule, however in other aspects it still holds many similarities to this day that it did back then. One of the most important of these similarities is that India is still a developing nation. Ever since India was given its independence in 1947, under India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, “the country tried various methods of development, at theoretical and practical levels.” India is still trying to become a developed nation and the key to India’s development lies in its agricultural economy. As seen in India’s past history with the success of the green revolution in India, and given India’s land size, population and poverty the road to development in India lies in agriculture.

India’s attempts of becoming a developed nation started while it was still under British rule. Jawaharlal Nehru hoped that “all our major problems would come to an end, once British rule ended.” Jawaharlal Nehru was at that point campaigning against the British rule in India and was jailed for his actions when he wrote the following, explaining frustrations with Britain. Nearly all our major problems today have grown up during British rule and as a direct result of British policy: the princes; the minority problem; various vested interests, foreign and Indian; the lack of industry and the neglect of agriculture; the extreme backwardness in the social services; and, above all, the tragic poverty of the people. The attitude to educate has been significant… ‘It was [their] policy in those days to keep the natives of India in the profoundest state of barbarism and darkness, and every attempt to diffuse the light of knowledge among the people… was vehemently opposed and resented.’ Imperialism must function in this way or else it ceases to be imperialism. These problems Nehru explains are the basic problems of underdevelopment, and still after over 55 years, these are big problems in India today.

After India’s independence came a wave of economic reforms intended to strengthen agriculture research and education. Nehru introduced five-year plans for 1951-56, 1956-61, and 1961-66 which benefited from foreign aid and produced modest results. Many attempts at land reforms were also launched, which had some success, however “landowners wielded enough influence that only part of the land was distributed, and the reform did little for the landless quarter of India’s rural households.” Two joint Indo-American teams in 1954 and 1959 were appointed to look into the problems of agricultural education, research and extension. “A Third Review Team in 1963 comprising of eminent agricultural scientists from the UK, the USA and India was appointed with specific objective of inquiring into the existing agricultural research set-up in India and suggesting suitable changes.” The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was then “reorganized in 1965 as a central agency for coordinating, directing and promoting agricultural research and education in the country” as was suggested by the Third Review Team. There was also another reorganization of the ICAR in 1973 “which led to further changes in the organizational structure to provide greater autonomy and flexibility in operation of management and recruitment.” Indian agriculture appeared to benefit from the reorganization and careful analysis of the ICAR, and is credited for Indian self-sufficiency in food.

“The agricultural research system in India in terms of its size, with approximately 27,000 scientists, may perhaps be the largest in the world. The ICAR with its 46 institutions, 20 national research centers, nine project directorates, four bureaus, the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) and 26 agricultural universities constitutes the major organizational...

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