ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Food and Elections.

Editorial from Volume X, No 47, November 22, 1958.

The decision of doubling food production taken at the Hyderabad session of the AICC was followed soon after by another striking decision – this time by the National Develop-ment Council, the highest political body in the country – that the State should take over the wholesale trade in foodgrains as a monopoly and license the wholesale traders as agents of the Government for the present while a more elaborate organisation for State trading and distribution of foodgrains was being worked out. The Prime Minister himself, it was announced, would take charge of this work in consultation with the Food and Agriculture Ministry and the Planning Commission. As the Government had so long fought shy of food control and had turned down the proposal for a Stabili-zation Board, this was a revolutionary deci-sion in itself, going as it did against the prin-ciple of de-control which the Congress and the Government had inherited as a legacy from Gandhiji. The AICC had followed up its decision to double food production by appointing an Ag-ricultural Production Sub-Committee which was to consider all aspects of agriculture, in-cluding land reforms. The findings of this Sub-Committee as reported in the press, howev-er, completes the circle and has quietened mercifully the jitters created by the series of breath-taking resolutions passed earlier. Between the Hyderabad session of the AICC and the meetings of the Sub-Committee, the problem of increased food production and land reform got somehow mixed up with the Multiple Purpose Service Cooperatives which subsequently became the centre of attention and these cooperatives are going to provide, at least for a time the key to agricultural development and successful planning... While it has been officially denied that the Congress has gone back upon its earlier promise of land reforms and ceiling on land holdings, the latter is still retained as desira-ble social policy, but it is equally stoutly de-nied that it has any bearing on agricultural production. Instead the formula of technical coefficients, so well established by reitera-tion, – so much increase in production from better utilisation of water from major irriga-tion works, so much from minor irrigation works, better seed, green manuring and so on – is now being advanced.

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