Agricultural Research in India

Address of Jawaharlal Nehru to the students of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, 20 March 1949. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute was established in 1905 at Pusa in Bihar and later shifted to New Delhi in 1934. The primary function of the Institute includes the conducting of basic and applied research in the various branches of agricultural science, teaching at the postgraduate level and undertaking extensive advisory work.

The acute shortage of foodgrains is a challenge to our intellect, resourcefulness, and to our very existence; we have to realize the urgency of the problem and treat it on an emergency basis.

The work that is being done by this Institute is bound to prove useful particularly these days when the country has deficit in food. The importance of the Institute has considerably increased in view of the gravity of the situation and I want its organizers to realize the urgency of the national problem in its proper perspective.

We have to judge and weigh the results of our day to day undertakings as we cannot afford to wait for long and watch the results of our progress particularly when we are dependent upon other countries for our food supply. We have decided to stop importing foodgrains after two years and we have to make our country self-sufficient in food.

Crores of rupees are spent every year for importing foodgrains to meet our requirements. It is a great financial drain on our resources which should not be allowed to continue. The decision to make India self-sufficient in the matter of foodgrains within two years will have no meaning unless it is implemented with the requisite determination.

In times of war one cannot arrange for import of foodgrains and it is such an emergency for which we should always be prepared. We shall have to make our country self-sufficient in the basic requirements of food, and under such circumstances an institution of this type becomes all the more important. The yield of crops in this country is lower than that in other countries. Are our soils poor ? We have got to increase the yield somehow and I know and you also know that it can be done. If we increase the yield by 10 per cent we can meet our deficit, and there is no reason why we cannot increase the yield by 20 per cent or 25 per cent. This is an immediate need of the country and we have got to do it. It is no use going on slowly and leisurely. We want quick results.

The Government have undertaken various schemes of reclamation of wastelands and development of river valleys. This is important for increasing the productivity of the soil already under cultivation. If the productivity of the existing tracts under cultivation can be increased even by ten per cent, the situation will improve considerably.

The utility of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute can be judged only by the criterion of its being taken advantage of by the common cultivator. Farming on a cooperative basis can derive benefit from such an institution. But that will take a few years to materialize.

I wish such centres and museums for disseminating knowledge of the latest scientific methods of agriculture to be opened not only in all the provinces but in every district so that the peasants and the farmers may find opportunities to study them and develop a new outlook.

Instead of analysing the results of our experiments and the causes of our failures in putting through development schemes like a vanquished military commander, who tries to collect data for the cause of his defeat, we have to strive hard for solving our problems.


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