During the late 1950s and early 1960s food deficits India has been requiring importation of 3 to 4 million tons of grain per year. However because of bad monsoons in 1965 and 1966, imports exploded unpwardly to 10 million tons, and India was in dire straits. It was during this period that, after three years of testing on experiment stations, the so-called high yielding Mexican wheat varieties, which had proven very interesting under experimental conditions, where considered as a possible way to break the worsening food deficit.

Let me recall the events leading to the adoption of the New strategy for Agricultural Development in India in the year 1965. After an impressive increase in agricultural production during the first two Five-Year Plans, there was a spell of stagnancy in the early 1960s. Population increased at a rapid rate, agricultural production failed to catch up, imports of foodgrains had to be stepped up and the target of self-sufficiency in foodgrains seemed elusive.

It is the peasantry that cry loudly and piteously for relief, and our programme must deal with their present condition. Real reflief can only come by a great change in the land laws and the basis of the present system of land tenure. We have among us many big landowners, and we welcome them. But they must realise that the ownership of large estates by individuals, which is the outcome of a state resembling the old feudalism of Europe, is a rapidly disappearing phenomenon all over the world.

An extract from an interview with Mahatma Gandhi.

The UN Conference on the Environment held in 1992 in Rio-de-Janeiro is a landmark in human efforts to keep our planet over blue. Twenty years after Rio, we are struggling to find a pathway of development which concurrently integrates the principles of ecology, economics, equity, ethics and employment. Green Economy can be defined as, "Enhancing economic growth in perpetuity without associated ecological and/or social harm.

The challenges that India's agriculture faces in the coming years remain enormous. Though we have achieved self-sufficiency in cereal production, we continue to depend on imports for pulses and edible oils. We continue to face the problem of under-nutrition, particularly among our children and women. Ensuring food and nutritional security and eliminating hunger, including hidden hunger, remain a high national priority.

The demands of global capital, mediated through the market, are increasingly driving the trajectory of advances in science. Today this acts as the principal barrier to the advance of science as a knowledge system that is designed to serve the needs of the people. The needs of a neo-liberal economic order valorises immediate gain as the principal driver of science.

India had the largest number of malnourished children in the world. Our figures were worse than sub Saharan Africa. For me as for many others, India's high growth rate loses its sheen when, despite all the resources allocated to it, malnutrition could not be handled and brought down in any significant way.

India is one of the major leapfrogging economies of the world and it has demonstrated its economic resilience in the wake of the global economic debacle. It quickly recovered from the downslide and has shown positives signs of becoming an economic superpower by 2020.

Agriculture is the core sector of Indian economy. The share of agriculture and allied sectors in total GDP presently is about 16 percent and it engages nearly 52 per cent of the national workforce. Agriculture therefore continues to remain the principal source of livelihood for the majority of households in India.