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‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan’: Remembering Shastri, Statesman Who Made India Self-Reliant Through Green Revolution

‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan’: Remembering Shastri, Statesman Who Made India Self-Reliant Through Green Revolution

Lal Bahadur Shastri, one of the country’s greatest statesmen and second prime minister, passed away on 11th January 57 years ago.

Unlike his predecessor – Jawahar Lal Nehru, Shastri was a man of few words and spoke volumes through his policies for the country.

Even though his tenure was not much extensive, India had noted his competence and service dedicated to the nation for over three decades.

On his death anniversary, We look back at his ideations on the Green Revolution and Aatmanirbhar Bharat, which changed the trajectory of India toward a larger scope of development.

“Jai Jawan Jai Kisaan”

Shastri is credited with having laid the foundation of the Green Revolution in 1965 by extending political support to the team of the then-agriculture minister C. Subramaniam, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) head M.S. Swaminathan, and agriculture secretary B. Sivaraman.

It was under his tenure that the country saw the formation of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), ensured that farmers got the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops, and set up the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

By giving the green flag to many such agro-focussed policies, India saw a significant shift from the Nehruvian policies of prioritising industrial growth over agriculture.

 Around the time, the country was also in a major agricultural crisis, and annual imports of over three to four million tonnes of wheat were brought in from the US.

The team under Shashtri understood that real development of and for the people could only be seen if the country’s agricultural space saw a breakthrough.

This farmer-led strategy ultimately helped India overcome the humiliating conditionality of the US’ PL-480 or Food for Peace Program and galvanised the nation toward self-reliance.

It was also around this time that Shastri came up with the famous slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan.” The slogan aimed to boost the morale of soldiers and farmers in the backdrop of the India-Pakistan war.

Through it, the then-prime minister credited the farmers for contributing not just to food security but also national security, as a bulk of soldiers came from the peasantry.

Shastri’s concern for agriculture was what gave way to the Green Revolution and turned India into a food-surplus economy. Gradually he also played a pivotal role in the White Revolution to make India self-reliant in milk production.

According to Wikipedia, he created the National Dairy Development Board and backed the Amul milk co-operative in Gujarat, which is today synonymous with the country’s dairy culture

Aatmanirbhar Bharat

The concept that has been popularised in recent years to drive India towards self-reliance was an understanding developed by the statesman Shastri.

He promoted the Green Revolution with not just the aim of farmers’ prosperity but also for an India that’s self-reliant in foodgrain production.

This model continues to operate and benefit the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, among others. While he had not coined the term “Aatmanirbharta”, his policies were essentially driven toward helping the country focus on its local manufacturers and service providers.

Hence, his initiatives continue to be considered among India’s first few steps to becoming ‘Aatmanirbhar.’

Reference: logicalindian

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