Two missions for the 60th anniversary M.S. Swaminathan The Hindu Saturday, Jul 28, 2007 Much remains to be done to make India hunger-free and to achieve a rural knowledge revolution.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of India’s independence on August 14-15, 1997, the then President K.R. Narayanan listed our adherence to a democratic system of governance and our launching a green revolution in agriculture as the two most important achievements of the first 50 years of what Jawaharlal Nehru christened “India’s tryst with destiny.” At a consultation held at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai at the beginning of th e new century, it was proposed that two major goals for the 60th anniversary commemoration should be a hunger-free India on the lines proposed by Mahatma Gandhi in 1946 at Naokhali, and accelerated progress in human resource development through a knowledge revolution in rural India. Based on a series of consultations, two Missions 2007 were launched through multi-stakeholder consortia, one for eliminating chronic under- and mal-nutrition, and the other for rural knowledge connectivity. Unfortunately, the progress made since 1997 in the elimination of child, maternal, and adult malnutrition as well as in improving our rank in the U.N. Human Development Index has been poor in relation to our capacity to achieve them...(The writer was Chairman of the National Commission on Farmers.)