Social Scientist. v 27, no. 312-313 (May-June 1999) p. 62.

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Some Aspects of Growth and Distribution of Rice in India


Agrarian strategies adopted by several developing countries in the late fifties and sixties and their impact on production, distribution and employment have been a subject of intense debates from the very beginning. One of the earliest contributions to these debates was that of K.N. Raj (1969), who argued that the success of the seed-fertiliser-irrigation technology under adoption in Mexico, Taiwan and India depended crucially on the ability of the farmers to apply purchased inputs in cultivation and that this has led to the emergence of 'dualism' within rural areas. Contesting this view, Dantwala (1970) maintained that rather than generating 'dualism', the HYV technology contributes greatly to the softening of 'dualism'. He elaborates his position thus: "The right question to be asked is whether it (HYV technology) is inherently incapable of spreading. The discovery of life-saving drugs can rightly be regarded as a revolutionary accomplishment, but currently it is perhaps guilty of generating 'dualism' inasmuch as it saves the lives of those who can afford the treatment and mockingly bypasses the millions of poor". Quite independent of the controversies that ensued these two views, Prabhat Patnaik (1975), in a by-now-widely-quoted paper, argued that the economic strength or the credit-worthiness required for the adoption of high-yielding seed varieties depended necessarily on the size of holding and tenurial status of the peasantry. Compared to the traditional rice-growing states, the average size-holdings of land in Punjab and Haryana are relatively large, and the upper stratum of the peasantry holds still larger land and other resources. Such asset distribution pattern, coupled with

* Director, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, New Delhi

Social Scientist, Vol. 28, Nos. 5- 6, May - June 1999

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