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Nehru on Food Problems

Today, the conception of free enterprise and an absolutely free market is out of date, because an economy based on them soon becomes unmanageable. In a country like India, where resources are limited and have to be stretched to capacity, we cannot let free enterprise & an absolutely free market dominate the scene. That does not mean we should wipe out the free market completely but we have to necessarily control the basic economic of country at strategic levels. That especially applies to food. The nature of government control should depend on the existing circumstances….

(Jawaharlal Nehru, House of People. 18/11/1952)

..I think the very ease with we have been able to get foodstuffs from abroad has rather prevented us from facing the problem properly. I think we should think in terms of not getting any food at all from abroad after a certain period-let us put it at two years, I should not add a day more- and just make up our mind that we shall live on the food that we produce after two years or die in the attempt.

…I am quite convinced in my own mind that essentially, basically, the food problem of India is not a difficult problem. Somehow or the other, we have made it difficult. After all, the deficit, in food, is about six or seven percent. It may now be ten percent, because of bad seasons. Quite apart from the long distance schemes, the schemes which will bear fruit after about five, six or ten year, it should be easily possible in the course of the next two years or so to make adjustments by increasing intensity of our growth of food, by cultivation or by a change of food habits, to fill this narrow deficit and that is how I should like both the central government and provisional governments & the agencies to act. It is no good our carrying on as at present, depending on the vast quantities of food from outside & getting into greater difficulties..

              (Jawaharlal Nehru. Speech at the Indian Chambers of Commerce. 4/3/1949)