On a Policy Framework for Indian Agriculture
Looking back over the past 25 years or so, the overwhelming impression I have is that of a growing consensus on so many questions surrounding Indian agriculture, which were once matters of considerable debate and controversy. But it is precisely when economic propositions reach the status of conventional wisdom that they should be subject to the closest scrutiny, for it is then that they become most prone to oversimplification and to application without due caution or qualification. That is why it may not be inappropriate here to review briefly such well-worn questions as the priority for agriculture in the overall strategy of development, the scope for planning in agriculture, the policies of price support, procurement, public distribution, and taxation, as they relate to agriculture, and their relevance in the present context of sectional and other pressures which have created a general climate of inflationary expectations. I will have something to say later on the dangers of complacency on the food front, and the difficulties of reconciling growth with equity in Indian agriculture over the years to come.
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