Who Will Feed India? Political Economy of Agriculture Policies and its Implications

A CASI Nand & Jeet Khemka Distinguished Lecture Dr. Ashok Gulati Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) March 19, 2019 at the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science & Economics Ashok…

Who Will Feed India? Political Economy of Agriculture Policies and its Implications

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A CASI Nand & Jeet Khemka Distinguished Lecture
Dr. Ashok Gulati
Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)
March 19, 2019 at the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science & Economics

Ashok Gulati has been Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) since March 2014. He is currently also on the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX). He was Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), Government of India (2011-14), and Director (Markets, Trade, and Institutions, and later in Asia) at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) for more than 10 years (2001-11). He worked as a Chair Professor NABARD at the Institute of Economic Growth (1998-2000), and prior to that he was Director/Chief Economist, Agriculture and Rural Development at National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) from 1991-97. Dr. Gulati has been deeply involved in policy analysis and advice in India. He was the youngest member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India (Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee); Member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, and Member of the State Planning Board of Karnataka. For his contributions to the field, the President of India honored him in 2015 with “Padma Shri,” a high civilian award. Dr. Gulati has written 14 books on Indian and Asian Agriculture, in addition to numerous research papers in national and international journals. His current column “From Plate to Plough” appears in The Indian Express and Financial Express. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Delhi School of Economics.

About the Lecture:
According to UN population projections, India’s population is likely to surpass China’s population around 2024. With India’s GDP growth of averaging 7 to 8 percent over the last 15 years likely to continue for at least a decade more, the country’s agricultural sector will be under increasing pressure to meet the then nation’s food, feed, and fiber needs. Additionally, by 2030, India will have about 600 million people living in urban areas, and will face major logistical challenges to move food from hinterlands to urban areas.

With limited land and depleting water tables, can India produce enough food for her population or will it become a huge importer of food? What agricultural policies has India been following over the last few decades and what have been their impact, especially on poverty, malnutrition, and farmers’ incomes?

This lecture will discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead for Indian agriculture and examine how agricultural policies have hindered the changes needed in the sector. A tectonic shift in food and agricultural policies is overdue if India is to remain a competitive producer of agricultural goods, improve the livelihood of Indian farmers whose average holding size is just 1.1 ha, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

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