PL-480 – UPSC GS1

After independence, India relied on food crop supplies from the United States under Public Law 480 (PL-480) against rupee payments. Later this measure was considered as a folly. Critically examine why India resorted to this step, its consequences and how it was able to achieve self-sufficiency later. (200 Words)

India was not technologically developed on Independence. Despite very good annual agricultural growth form 1956-65 of 3% per annum, India had been facing food shortages. Agricultural growth was not promising as demand was rising with population at 2.2% per annum from earlier 1%.
Indian market was not able to meet the demand fully and then India started importing form U.S from 1956 under PL-480 scheme. Later it turned to be a wrong step as reasons behind this are:-
  1. Increasing dependence on food from U.S, Indo-Sino(1962), Indo-Pak(1965) war and two successive famines (1965-66) further aggravated the situation.
  2. U.S was bullying India to change its policies toward its favor as Mr. Johnson tried to put India on short leash.
  3. U.S also threatened India to renege on the promise of food supplies. USA had suspended the food supplies temporarily at the time when India was facing severe draught condition and was not self-sufficient in food.
Steps taken to overcome the situation by India:
  1. Then P.M, Lal Bahadur Shashti (Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan) and his successor Indira Gandhi and Food Minister, C. Subramanian all gave boost to transition of India to be self-sufficient in food supplies.
  2. Green Revolution which came with critical imports of HYV (High Yield Variety Seeds) form Mexico, Chemical Fertilizers, Pesticides, Agriculture Machinery (Tractors, pump sets), soil testing facilities and agriculture related education programmes and appropriate credit were first concentrated on the areas of assured irrigation.
  3. Govt. investment in agriculture sector increased to almost double.
  4. Agriculture prices commission was set up and efforts being made to check that farmer was assured with market at sustained remunerative price.
  5. Gross irrigated area rate also increased to 2.5 million hectares from 1 million hectares per annum during 1970.
The Results of this new strategy began to be witnessed within a short period and since then India became self-sufficient in food supplies.