Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2012 > "Irrigation Makes you Free, Irrigation Makes you Rich"

Mainstream, VOL L, No 25, June 9, 2012

"Irrigation Makes you Free, Irrigation Makes you Rich"

Tuesday 12 June 2012, by Gilbert Etienne

“Irrigation makes you free, irrigation makes you rich.” This we read in the Archives of Catalonia (Spain) in 1243. Such a statement, already valid in Europe and China at that time, remains more topical than ever in Asia, including India. The shift from rainfed to irrigated crops brings considerable socio-economic benefits to the local people, including small cultivators and landless labourers.

This was amply confirmed by the impact of canal irrigation under the British, in the south-eastern deltas, western UP and particularly Punjab as illustrated by the table in the adjoining column.

The Pre-Green Revolution (GR) 1950-65

FOLLOWING independence, there was an upsurge in irrigation: dams and canals, the beginning of tubewells (TWs); but cropping techniques remai-ned mostly traditional; so that by the 1960s, agri-culture was reaching a plateau, as in other parts of Asia. Following two consecutive dramatic droughts in 1965 and 1966, India escaped a major famine only thanks to American grain and the ability of the administration to distribute it.

Daily agricultural wages in annas (16 annas = 1 rupee)
Punjab irrigated Western UP irrigated Eastern UP mostly rainfed
1912 7 2.7 1.6
1943 16 15.6 6.4

Source: K.N. Raj et al. (ed.) Essay on Commercial Sectors of Indian Agriculture, Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1983, p. 142.

This situation is confirmed by Professor Theodore Schultz, the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, in his famous book Transforming Traditional Agriculture, Yale University Press, 1964. He emphasised the following points:

1. Traditional farmers follow rational practices within their technological know-how.

2. Any technical system finally reaches its limits, so that technical innovations are needed to proceed further, as illustrated in the GR with its central role of irrigation.

3. The bulk of innovations can be adopted by illiterate farmers. (This has been often the case with the GR in India).

Thanks to very hard work, farmers in Khandoi village, Bulandshahr district, western UP, were reaching the limits of their ability during our first visits in 1963 and 1964. They grew coarse grain in the kharif, yielding around 500 kg/ha. The work schedule from October to November was very tight. The harvest of coarse grain was followed by ploughing the land for wheat, involving seven to 12 ploughings with bullocks, each followed by levelling with a heavy plank. At the same time began the cutting of sugarcane ( a one-year crop). During the full moon, farmers started ploughing by midnight. Then in January it was time to plant new cane. Irrigated wheat yielded 1200-1300 kg/ha and raw sugar (gur) made on the spot 5000 kg/ha. It would have been difficult to go much above these data without better irrigation and new inputs. About 191 ha out of 250 cultivated were relying mostly on open wells with Persian wheels. Four bullocks and two men would irrigate 0.25 ha in 12 hours. The population had tripled to 1230 (1861-1961) with a rate of plus two per cent rise in 1961. Out of 185 households, 47 men were working outside. This amount of work was typical of the Jats’ (here Hindus) spirit which was also found with upper-caste Brahmin, Vaishya cultivators, and Lodhas, an OBC caste.
Women of upper castes (Jats, Brahmins, Vaishyas) followed strict purdah, hiding their faces with the tip of their saris when going out. As in other parts of northern India, they were only helping their family in the fields, but not earning wages with some outside cultivators as done in the south. They looked after cattle, collected cowdung, brought up the children, cooked. Early in the morning every day they spent one to two hours grinding grain with their millstone.

Although Khandoi belonged to one of the advanced areas, the living conditions were still very tough. Around 35 to 40 per cent of the house-holds lived decently but in a very frugal manner. Milk, cereals, pulses, chutney, very rarely tea and sugar, or fruit and vegetables. Except the Dalit castes, most people were vegetarian. About one-third were very poor, very often Dalits, landless people, families without a buffalo, no milk, not even for small children, some adults with only one set of shabby dress. Infant mortality was particularly high in Dalit families: certain couples with seven small children dead and two or three alive.
In Varanasi district, the village of Nahiyan is typical of the eastern plains, (28 km from the holy city). After opening to the plough all available land by the 1880s, there was not much change. Rainfall, higher than in western UP, enabled rain-fed paddy in the monsoon, giving a poor yield of 700-1000 kg/ha of clean rice rather similar to wheat, partly irrigated in the rabi. There was also sugarcane giving half the yield of Khandoi. Out of 360 ha cultivated, about one-third was irrigated but badly. In addition to open wells (mot system, bucket pulled by bullocks, less efficient than the Persian wheel), a not-too-efficient State TW had appeared. Some lowland was waterlogged for lack of drainage, which prevented crops. Cattle and milk were also much less important than in western UP.

The dominant castes (Brahmins, Thakurs, Bhumihars) observed the taboo preventing even small landowners to touch the plough or indulge in other physical work. Even when owning a few ha of land, they were poorer than the Jats in Khandoi with the same holding. Only some of the big landlords (10 ha or so) were modernising their land.

As for the landless labourers, often Dalits, their life was very hard. “Poverty does not leave the poor,” a Chamar, weeding the field of a Thakur, would tell me.
On the other hand, the Kurmis (OBC), already well known for their hard work in British days, had started using chemical fertilisers, hence improving their crops. Some of them also had more cattle.

The population pressure was also heavier than in western UP: 600 per sq km, as against 420 in Khandoi. (1961)

To sum up, even within traditional agriculture there was room for improvement, particularly with more open wells, even with limited efficiency.

In 1967, during our first visit, Pilkhi village (Muzzafarpur district, North Bihar) was hardly touched by the GR with a situation worse than in Nahiyan: same dominant castes, but in addition, abuses, pressures (dabao) affecting Dalits suffering from acute poverty. Irrigation through open wells was even more limited than in Nahiyan, rainfed paddy of low yield, wheat partly irrigated in the rabi giving less than 1000 kg/ha. A State TW was poorly operating due to electric breakdowns. Several tracts of lowland were suffering from excess water even under normal rains, so that crops, when possible, gave very low yields. Floods could occur for lack of dykes during a heavy monsoon.

The lack of irrigation is odd in such plains crisscrossed by numerous rivers with also a very rich ground water. Under the Raj there had been a handicap. Unlike in Punjab and elsewhere, it was not possible to dig gravity canals due to the low river beds. But by the 1950s one could have promoted low lift pumps. As for TWs, the lack of electricity discouraged farmers, except a few using more costly diesel engines.

While the economy was sluggish, population pressure kept on growing. In Pilkhi the density per sq. km was 25 in 1961, leading to division of holdings, except among some rich landlords owning 50 ha or more, and to the increase of landless labourers.1

Let us move to Tamil Nadu (1964) in the new delta of the Kaveri, irrigated in the 1930s thanks to the Mettur Dam. So far, farmers had relied on coarse grains with low yields. In the 1950s the whole area was covered by canals, leading to massive cultivation of paddy. The dominant caste, the Kallars (OBC), were agriculture oriented .Their irrigated paddy reached 2000 kg/ ha ( that is, 1400 kg of clean rice) without new inputs. Coconut trees gave additional income, like cattle.
The Dalits (Paraiyars) were mostly landless. They worked in paddy fields and the women did the same as wage labourers, unlike in the north. Off season men and women made and sold nets made of local fibres. They collected some wood, repaired canals. Thanks to more job opportunities, they were less poor than in the north, they were also less subdued than the Chamars or Bhangis from our previous villages.

In 1967, the GR was just beginning to appear in Guntur district. Technical, socio-economic conditions were rather similar to Kila Ulur in Manchala village: advanced traditional agriculture of the Kapus, the dominant caste, relying on the canals built by the British. Landless people belonged mostly to an ancient tribe, the Yanadis, enjoying rather decent living conditions. In addition to work in paddy, men and women had other jobs: fishing, collecting hair to make chignons, collecting the paddy stored by rats in the paddy bunds (upto 50 kg of clean rice per year), perhaps eating rats, catching rats for landowners in the fields with their local bamboo traps.

Peninsular India, unlike the plains areas, faces severe physical constraints: lack of rains or uncertain rains in many areas, tracts of poor soils, limited potential for irrigation from surface and ground water. Rainfed jowar or bajra gives but low yields, rainfed paddy in the North-Eastern side also gives low yields. In Maharashtra, since the 19th century, a number of men went and worked outside, sending their savings to the family left in the village. After Bombay, under the Raj, Pune and an increasing number of smaller towns were expanding through industry and services, so that outlets increase and may reduce acute poverty. One could make similar references particularly to parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

In Eksal village, Satara district, Maharashtra, 1964, out of 600 ha cultivated, 230 ha were covered with mediocre soils, an extra 100 ha were severely eroded. In case of monsoon failure, jowar yield would fall from 400 kg/ha to half or zero. About 100 ha were irrigated by open wells, some of them relying on a diesel pumpset. Sugarcane, chillies, bananas, vegetables were giving high return, enabling the owners to buy grain when needed.

As in similar villages, the number of landless families was much lower than in the plains, but the the crop yields were so poor that more and more men were working outside.

In more isolated parts of the Deccan, the outlets were much less common, leading often to acute poverty even with lower population densities around 100-200 per sq km. Then there were also the difficulties and hardships associated with various Adivasi tribes (see below).

The Impact of the GR

THE GR remains a model of success story:

1. Thorough commitment of the top political leadership (Shastri, then Indira Gandhi).

2. Top-class Minister of Agriculture (C. Subra-maniam) assisted by a bunch of remarkable ICS/IAS officers.

3. Fine efficiency of Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, supplying from their Institutes the first new seeds of wheat (Mexico) and rice (Philippines).
After reaching 10 million tonnes of grain imports in 1967 following the drought, grain imports had fallen sharply around 1970 and later on disappeared in most years till now.

The GR was introduced in already advanced irrigated areas. In the north-west, high yield wheat arrived at the time when private TWs were beginning to spread, the decisive factor being new seeds require more water. In Khandoi, 1966, a few farmers were given a bag of wheat seeds and some chemical fertilisers by the local administration. At harvest the yields had more or less doubled to 2000 kg/ha or above . The following year the whole village followed the same trend. Progress was even faster in Punjab, Haryana, thanks to more advanced irrigation, electricity and roads.

One may add that in all these areas the consoli-dation of holdings was already due to the stimulating TW, the efficiency of which was much higher than traditional wells. In Khandoi, immediately after the consolidation of holdings (1965), private TWs spread, covering the whole cultivated area.

The progress of irrigation in Punjab, Haryana and western UP enabled farmers to replace mediocre coarse grain crops in the monsoon by paddy of much higher return, followed by wheat in the rabi.

In the south-eastern deltas, it was more or less the same story with rice in canal networks. Within a few years, paddy grew from 2000-2200 kg/ha to 3750.
Progress was less striking in Nahiyan but, following the consolidation of holdings, a number of TWs were constructed in the 1970s. In Pilkhi, the record remained poor as well as for the whole of Bihar. In 1978, we came across only a few TWs. No more than one-third of the area was unevenly irrigated. The progress of crops was therefore quite limited while tensions and incidents remained between Dalits and upper castes.

Back to the Satara district in 1975-79, I found electricity used on 24 open wells, so that 130 ha out of 600 became irrigated, supporting sugarcane, papaya, grapes (a new crop), vegetables , all giving a much higher return than coarse grains, the yield of which did not increase much. Outside jobs remained important.

The Global Process of Development

IN GR villages , one comes across what I call the global process of rural development, that is, the breakthrough of high yield cereals, a gradual but growing diversification of agriculture such as animal husbandry, particularly in the north-west, poultry, vegetables, fruit. Many people replace their mud walls by pukka houses and bricks, leading to kilns, transport of bricks, masons for construction. This process leads to more sales and purchases of goods going along increased transport. Workshops for tractors, local manufacture of trashing machines, engines for small local mills are on the increase. Retail trade expands in bigger villages: dabbas, sales of clothes, bicycles, motor-cycles, carpenters, photo studios, hair dressers, banks…A number of men either find such non-agricultural jobs in their village or commute daily to local small and medium towns. Others leave their families in the village to find a job rather far away in big cities.

To sum up, the addition of a number of odd jobs to agricultural work, leads to a substantial reduction in poverty for the landless people and small landowners, below 0.5 ha in the plain areas. As to cultivators of 0.5 ha, double-cropped thanks to irrigation, they can grow now 1800-2000 kg of wheat and the same of clean rice, so that they can sell a fair amount of grain.

Such a global process is also more or less repeated in the south-eastern deltas, and more strikingly in Punjab and Haryana.

Though irrigation is a central factor of growth, it is not alone. Roads and electricity have been big engines of growth until the end of the 1970s.

Population pressure has increased much with the passage of time, leading to growing fragmentation of agricultural holdings, and increasing the number of landless.

Living and working conditions have become lighter in GR villages. Land tillage is now made with tractors, owned or rented. Threshing is being done with local machines in a number of villages. Motor vehicles transport has become widespread and, in northern India, traditional bullock carts have been replaced by carts on tyres pulled by a buffalo with higher load. Women are liberated from chaqqi, their grain being processed in some small local mill. One comes across housewives using gas cylinders for cooking instead of collecting and using cowdung.

Dalits are not left out of the process (see below the table on wages). Agricultural wages are often double if not more of what is earned for the same job in rainfed areas. In Khandoi, a number of Jativs have now some cattle, they and their children drink milk and sell part of it. They buy crossbred cows delivering 10-15 lt per day as against deshi cows with 1-2 lt. In Nahiyan, many Chamars are better off with higher wages, many of them working in Varanasi, some of them weaving brocade saris for dealers in the holy city. Others may be working in the growing number of shops of all types appearing along the road leading to the village.
Yanadis in Manchala go on improving. Already in 1978, they were telling me: “Now we stand on our own.” They bought houses at a subsidised price from the government. Their activities keep on diversifying including kitchen gardens. They had stopped taking paddy stored by rats in bunds, because they earn enough money, but they keep catching rats in the fields, being paid by cultivators.

The progress is rather similar in Kila Ulur: rising yields of paddy, wells equipped with a pumpset for irrigation when canals are closed from February to July. The number of crossbred cows keeps on rising.

Daily Agricultural Wages for Men (current rupees)
1963-64 1985-86 2002-03
Khandoi 1 or 5-7 kg/grain at harvest 10-12, or 10 kg 60, or 10 kg
Nahiyan 1 or 2-3 kg/ paddy 10 or 4-8 kg 50-60
Pilki 1-1.50 plus some rotis (1967) 5-6 or 3-6 kg paddy 30
Kila Ulur 1-2 or 4-8 kg/paddy 7-10 or 10 kg 50-70
Orissa, Puri - - 30-40
Manchala 3-4 (1967) 10-12 50-80
Eksal 2 10-12 60
Keonjhar - 8-10 or 4 kg paddy 20-30

Some latest data 2011-12:
Rainfed areas of Mayurbhanj, Rs 60 to 70 (Rs 20 in 2002)
Backward villages in Madhubani district, Bihar, Rs 40 to 80*)
Khandoi Rs 160

*) Data supplied by Janine and Gerry Rodgers’ survey, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi.

Paraiyars go on improving their living conditions. Already in 1978, one of them was telling me: “Now we live in a civilised manner.” Wages are rising, More men find jobs outside, even as far as the Middle East . Their houses are improving, the children look better. They have stopped catching and eating rats.

Since the 1990s, Eksal has benefited from an irrigation canal covering 117 ha, while 46 wells-cum-pumpsets bring water to 90 ha. A new variety of jowar (hybrid) with light irrigation and small doses of chemical fertilisers yields 1500 kg/ha, as against 400-500 rainfed in the past. Sugar-cane, fruit, small vine yards, vegetables rely on irrigation. One comes across small shops, flour mills, making of chilly powder, a poultry farm. The town of Satara, 30 km away, attracts workers like other cities.

The Mahars, the main Dalit caste, owning little or no land enjoy since ages a relatively high status. (Dr Ambedkar was one of them.) Already in the 1960s, they were not subdued. Some of them make money on tiny plots of irrigated vegetables or grapes, while working also for the Maratha cultivators or in cities.

In spite of this overall progress of many Dalits, there are still people left out. This is particularly true of Dalits suffering from the lowest status. In Khandoi, the Bhangis started improving mode-rately their lot around 2000 only. In Nahiyan, as late as 2002, it was very painful to visit the hamlets of the Musahars (literally eating rats): miserable huts, very high infant mortality. They were complaining that for agricultural work, they were paid less than other caste members. Local officials said: “These people are lazy and spend their money on drinks.” A rather simplistic explanation concerning people often in poor health, victims of strong caste prejudices and just surviving without assistance. Near Madurai, unlike in Kila Ulur, local Kallars were compelling Paraiyars to walk barefoot in their village. There are also cases of abuse, in spite of high wages, concerning migrant workers in Punjab or cases of killings of Dalits in Haryana in 2002. (See Frontline, November 22, 2002)

Finally, the society of consumption is appea-ring in GR villages. In 1963, there were only a few cars in Unchagaon block near to Khandoi. Now, even in the latter one comes across dozens of private cars, motorcycles, cellular phones, less recently TV sets, even some WC. The same is observed in southern villages. Western trousers and shirts, cosmetics for ladies and shampoo have become common… In the past one could not find cold drinks like Coca Cola below a district town. Now they are available in many villages with freezers.

In Rainfed Areas

LET us have a look at the plateaux and hills in Jharkhand and Orissa. Rainfall allows farmers to grow paddy but the monsoon may be late or insufficient, so that yields have hardly grown over several decades: 1000-1500 kg/ha (660 to 1000 clean rice) and they fall under drought.

All these areas, some of them former princely states, hardly developed under the Raj.

The progress in agriculture since independence has been quite low, alongside population pressure, so that poverty is increasing. In Mayubhanj district, 77 per cent of people were below the poverty line (BPL) in 1997. More recent data show that the BPL percentage remains particularly high in both States, compared to Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Haryana, Punjab. (The Hindu, March 20, 2012)

Although the potential of irrigation is limited, much could be done, such as more low lift pumps to take monsoon water from river beds, which are often below the fields. In some relatively low lands, ground water could be tapped, though the water table is deep, limited and protected by layers of stones.

In Godda district (Jharkhand), villages and bazaars can be very dull with limited goods and transport. Trucks and buses are rare. Leaving the plateau, we walked 15 km in wooden hills to visit some Adivasis, the Pahariyas. They practice jhum (shifting cultivation) without even a hoe replaced by a sharp stick to sow seeds. With their bows and arrows, they hunt increasingly rare animals in the jungle. Very acute poverty was conspicuous. Naked, ill-fed children, women wearing poor sari, men suffering from inertia typical of extremely poor people. A severe type of malaria was wides-pread and they were facing lack of drinking water.

In lower areas, Santals had built terraced fields to grow rainfed paddy. They also relied on well-kept kitchen gardens depending on an open well. Their poverty was more bearable.

Keonjhar is no less vulnerable to poor monsoons: during the decade 1976-85, one recorded seven drought years. Even when taking into account well-tended vegetable plots depending on an open well, overall development was quite restricted: again small road traffic, poor bazaars, lack of electricity.

Mayurbhanj district, also in the interior of Orissa, was surveyed several times between 2002 and 2008. The plateaux are often inhabited by Santals and Kulhos (Adivasis), more Indianised in their culture and techniques and also much less isolated than the Pahariyas. There again very low road traffic, mediocre bazaars, hardly a tractor, rare trucks on pretty bad roads. Rainfed paddy (same yields as above) in the monsoon is followed by some pulses. Cattle is not so common. Pukka houses are rare. In one village I recorded only one motorcycle and three TV sets running on a battery. Many children were malnourished. Adults were wearing shabby clothes. As for agricultural wages, they were particularly low. Some villages were so isolated in the jungle that men had to walk a full day to reach the nearest bazaar.

Rainfed and Irrigated Areas

THE plains of Bihar are no more static, but while they could be 100 per cent irrigated like Punjab, the rate is 50 to 60 per cent not always in a satisfactory manner. Other inputs may be not sufficient so that irrigated clean rice is around 1500-2000 kg/ha and wheat 2000. Rainfed paddy remains around 1000-1500 kg/ha (that is, 650-1000). These data for Pilkhi are rather common. Not much has been done for flood protection and drainage of lowlands.

One comes across, nevertheless, changes: some progress in crossbred cows, more vegetables and fruit, more local trade, tractors and some private cars. Yet the progress is not enough, in spite of outside migrations. The population has reached around 1000 per sq km (2011 Census) similar to the average for the whole State, that is, the highest density within India, going along one of the highest population growth rates (+ 25 per cent 2001-11 as against the average for India 17 per cent). Bihar has, on the other hand, one of lowest urban rates: 11.3 per cent. (The average for India is 32 per cent.)

As in eastern UP, upper castes have broken the taboo preventing them from ploughing. As for Dalit women, they are now working on wages bringing some additional income.

In the 1950s Orissa was enjoying a surplus of foodgrains as against a deficit since some decades. Slow changes in the plateaux have not been fully compensated in the plains as observed in Puri district where irrigation could be much more widespread, coupled with large scale drainage of lowlands. One could sink also more TWs. As a result rainfed paddy yield remains low, while irrigated paddy reached 2500-3500 kg/ha with some chemical fertilisers. Part of the poverty has been alleviated by ancillary jobs: casuarina wood, coconuts and bananas, river fishing. The holy city of Puri is growing, attracting more villagers. Tourism and development of handicrafts are also noticeable.

Combining several odd jobs, the Doms ( Dalits) in their hamlet had improved their lot, while in a village of Dhobis (washermen) they were worried because other people had started washing their clothes themselves. They were trying to collect wood and make petty trade. In some other villages poverty was more severe: half-naked children and dirty. Dalits were vocal about their worsening conditions: not even cheap rations of rice, very low wages, precarious huts with not always a charpai.

However, extreme poverty may be less than in Bihar in view of a more diversified economy and less heavy population densities: 400-500 per sq km.

Overall Growth Trends

THE progress in irrigation, electricity, road pro-ceeded further until the early 1980s, resulting in growing yields of grain, diversification of the rural economy in favour of fruit, vegetables, milk, poultry, boosted by the growing demand of the rising middle classes. In the 1980s-1990s the economic reforms bypassed the rural world with a fall in public funds (investments and recurrent expen-ditures) in favour of growing subsidies and several anti-poverty projects, like MGNREGA. New roads tend to deteriorate. The situation of irrigation should be a major matter of concern, which is not the case. TWs suffer due to low and/or irregular supply of electricity since around 1980. Only 15 per cent of funds necessary for canal maintenance are available.2 Not more than 35 per cent of the canals’ water reach the plants. Delays in medium and major new works keep on expanding. For instance, the work on the Subarnarekha project started in 1982. Thirty years later, 94.000 ha in the plains of Mayurbhanj are still waiting for water! The gap between the new irrigation potential and actual irrigation increased from seven million ha in 1984/85 to 14 million in 2008/09.

Basic agricultural research is lacking funds and 1819 scientists. “The extension services system has more or less collapsed.” (Ahluwalia, op.cit) Post-harvest losses for vegetables and fruit amount to 35 per cent of output. Marketing channels and organisation deserve many improvements.

Long standing defects of the GR are very slow to be corrected: unbalanced use of N–P-K fertilisers, necessity to add soil nutrients and organic manure to prevent soil deterioration, bad use of pesticides, adulteration of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, All these defects combined explain why the cereal yields tend to level off in the GR districts.

In spite of these negative trends, even in recent years, further improvements are noticeable especially in the GR districts. This is due to the faster growth of industry and services, especially in the informal non-agricultural sector mentioned above. Small industries, repair workshops, services “have seen a higher employment growth3 in the post-reforms period.”

As to the large areas bound to remain mostly rainfed, a lot more could be done to expand watershed development and other dry farming techniques. There is also much scope for progress of orchards even on poor soils provided they are carefully tended. The diversification of the local economy is no less crucial.

Already in 1975, the eminent anthropologist, M.N. Srinivas, deplored the growing gap between urban development policy-makers and peasants. Should it not be urgent to reduce the gap in order to better attend their interests?

To talk of “a second GR” is questionable because the present rural issues and challenges are much more costly, complex and time-consuming than the rather easy introduction of the GR in the 1960s.

Finally, the emphasis on productive technical tasks and investments would produce better benefits for the poor than the special anti-poverty and employment projects. Talking about them with some landless Dalits in Khandoi, they just said “nam, nam hain”. In Mayurbhanj, Santals were criticising a State employment project for paving their village lanes instead of, for the same amount, installing low lift pumps on the river, in order to irrigate their paddy.

[Villages and district surveys were made on several occasions between 1963 and 2008. For more details see my Dalits in Villages, 1963-2008, Anand, IRMA, 2010.
—G.E.]

FOOTNOTES
1. There are still fairly big landlords in Bihar, with 50-100 ha, while in our other villages, large holdings are around 5-10 ha.
2. See Montek Ahluwalia, “Challenges of the 12th Five Year Plan”, EPW 11—5-11.
3. G. Datt and M.Ravaillon, World Bank, Policy Research Paper 5103, 2009.
Gilbert Etienne is Professor Emeritus, Institute of International and Developemnt Studies, Geneva. He can be contacted at e-mail: anne-etienne@bluewin.ch
ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62 Privacy Policy Notice Addressed to Online Readers of Mainstream Weekly in view of European data privacy regulations (GDPR)