Irrigated land in India and the world


Excerpt from “Simple Alternate Development Strategy”


In 1990, out of 1350 million ha of arable land in the world, irrigation was provided to 237 million ha i.e. 17.56% of the arable land was irrigated. China had provided irrigation to 48 million ha which formed 51.61% of the total arable land, while India had provided irrigation to only 43 million ha which accounts for only 26.06% of the total arable land. Former USSR, USA, Brazil, Australia and Canada had provided irrigation to 21 million ha (9.33%) , 19 million ha ( 10.10 % ), 2.7 million ha (4.5%) 1.9 million ha (3.87%) and 0.9 million ha( 1.96%) of land respectively. While India appears to have done well in providing irrigation compared to countries like former USSR, USA, Canada etc. these are the countries with large areas and comparatively low population and except Brazil, those which receive lesser rainfall than India. On the contrary , many countries like Pakistan, Japan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, South Korea, North Korea and Vietnam had provided irrigation to a larger proportion of their arable land. The area under irrigation in these countries is: Pakistan 16.5 million ha of 20.3 million ha (81.28%), Japan 2.8 million ha out of 4.6 million ha (60.86%) , Indonesia 7.6 million ha out of 16.0 million ha (47.5%), Iran 5.8 million ha out of 14.1 million ha (41.13%), Iraq 2.6 million ha out of 5.3 million ha (49.05%), South Korea 1.4 million ha out of 2.0 million ha (70.0%), North Korea 1.4 million ha out of 1.7 million ha (83.52%) and Vietnam 1.8 million ha out of 5.7 million ha (31.5%). These figures show that land irrigated in India is far below the potential. This is reflected in the lower yield and production, as will be clear from the succeeding paragraphs.

Export of technology


Extract from “Simple Alternate Development Strategy

Export of technology

131. Import of technology can be avoided if in addition to the correction to the university admission system, the Indian companies allot about 15- 25% of their work force, for research and development. Manpower is much cheaper in India than in advanced countries. If an advanced country like Japan or Germany or USA can deploy 100 people for research and development in a particular area, India can afford to earmark 500 people or 1000 people or more for the same purpose . Then India can improve technology much faster than developed countries and also develop much higher and sophisticated technology and within 4- 5 years the country will be in a position to export technology to foreign countries. While the developed countries like Sweden, Denmark, Finland etc. with populations of less than 10 million can concentrate and specialise only in a few fields, India with a population of over 900 million , can specialise in almost all fields. India has the third largest reservoir of scientific and technological manpower. But unfortunately all are not employed. Even of the employed, not all are doing scientific and technical work. Most of the scientists, doctors and technocrats occupying very high positions in their respective fields do very little of their work but more of administrative work, (their aptitude, more for administrative work than to technical and scientific work can be traced to the faulty admission system in professional courses as stated above) which can be done by non-technical persons. (Doing research does not mean reading several foreign magazines and writing in Indian magazines. It really means thinking and experimenting). If all the technical persons concentrate on their technical work and the factories employ 15- 25% of their work force in research and development, India can on its own improve its existing technology and increase production very fast without importing technology. It is really regrettable that with the third largest reservoir of scientific and technical personnel, India has not been able to produce even a single Nobel prize winner in science in almost 50 years after getting independence while many small countries in Europe can boast of several Nobel prize winners. (And there is no allegation at all of any bias in the selection).

Small countries like Singapore and even medium sized countries like Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan cannot afford to employ large enough number of people in research and development and therefore have to import technology. In fact it is cheaper for them to import technology than to develop in view of the high cost of labour. (Most of the small-sized developed countries would stop spending research and development because of high cost of manpower and import technology from India, if India with low cost of manpower could develop technology at a low cost. Again while in many countries, the colonial powers did not leave much of infrastructure for scientific and technical development, in India, the British have left large and well equipped establishments. At the time of independence, India had several universities, scientific institutes like Geological survey of India, Meteorology Department, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research etc. The British established railways and telecommunication system in India within a few years of establishment of the same in Europe. But this is not the case with several other countries. They did not leave such establishments in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka etc. In fact, some of the countries under the foreign rule, did not even have universities when they became independent. The British had even established several modern factories in India. All that India needed to do after independence, was to improve upon and expand the existing institutes. Even now the task is only to improve and expand the existing establishments and not to start from the scratch. If done, India could become a major exporter of sophisticated technology in almost every field .