In the course of over half a century of planned development in
India, there has been a major transformation of farming from the traditional to
the modern, with millions of farmers participating in the green revolution and
becoming increasingly conscious of science and technology. The country has entered
the new era of globalisation with confidence, even as the expectations of farmers
have been aroused.
an opportune moment to take stock of Indian agriculture — its achievements and
emerging challenges — through an in-depth examination of the performance and
prospects. The series of studies completed under the mega project ‘State of the
Indian Farmer : A Millennium Study,’ sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Govt. of India, represent a laudable effort towards this end,” says Prof. C.H.
The Millennium Study was conceived, planned and coordinated
over the last four years, by officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government
of India, involving, among others, the Secretary of the Ministry, R.C.A Jain (who
has spent over 27 years in the field of agriculture and rural development) and M.K.
Srivastava of the Indian Statistical Service.
Beginning in the year 2000, the project involved the efforts of
over a hundred economists, policy-makers, academicians and scholars with three
reputed institutions acting as coordinating / facilitating nodal centres, namely (i)
Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi (ii) Institute of Social and Economic Change,
Bangalore, and (iii) Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
State of the Indian Farmer : A Millennium Study (published in
27 volumes along with a CD-Rom) is unique in the sense that it is focused on the
‘farmer’ — the man behind agriculture. This is the most comprehensive effort
after the National Commission on Agriculture submitted its reports in 1976. These
studies, on various individual themes, under this mega-project, are quite
penetrating and painstaking, their authors being recognised authorities on the
A comprehensive overview of these studies by Prof. Y.K. Alagh,
provides a critical appraisal of the major issues addressed in these volumes. The
mega study has been further enriched by a crisp and insightful preface by Prof.
C.H. Hanumantha Rao touching almost every issue concerning the Indian farmer in
The 27-volume study, documenting the progression of
agricultural development during the last five decades, will indeed go a long way
in enriching our understanding of the nuances of development process and its
welfare implications. The study will certainly help the future planners,
policy-makers and all those interested in the welfare of the Indian farmers and
the alleviation of rural poverty.