Indian Agriculture in a Liberalized Landscape: The Interlocking of Science, Trade Liberalization, and State Policy

  • Tara Natarajan


Mainstream macroeconomic policy in India has sought to alleviate rural poverty and food insecurity by expanding agricultural production, providing agricultural credit through a national agricultural banking system, programs of employment generation to alleviate income poverty, and some state-level midday meal schemes at schools. The green revolution was introduced in the late sixties, making India food self-sufficient at the national level. Even as the country accumulated buffer stocks of food, problems of hunger and starvation nevertheless persisted at the individual, household, village, and regional levels. Beginning in the late nineteen eighties, India gradually began to adopt market friendly policies. The economic crisis in 1991 set India on a path of fast track liberalization and structural adjustment resulting in comprehensive initiatives by the Government to promote the industrialization of agriculture. The government has opened up contract farming, food processing, horticulture, value added agricultural products, export crops, and biotechnology, and has allowed private corporations to invest in agriculture. This rapid industrialization is a transformative process. The social fabric matrix approach demonstrates this process where trade liberalization, scientific research, agricultural policy, and the ideology of neo-liberalism are interlocking agents shaping the contemporary industrialization of agriculture in India today. Thus, in the context of a liberalizing India, the concept of transformation replaces the term development and helps to focus our attention on a detailed understanding of the interactive institutional process of change in agriculture. The question continues to be whether or not the contemporary expansion of the agrarian sector through industrialization has served in preventing the ever-present problem of endemic hunger that nearly 320 million Indians still face.


Trade Liberalization Green Revolution Food Processing Industry Free Trade Zone Export Processing Zone 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tara Natarajan
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Michael’s CollegeBurlingtonUSA

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