The Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) hosted its sixth Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture on November 26, 2017. The date marks the 96th birth anniversary of IRMA's iconic founder and is also celebrated as National Milk Day.
This year, the lecture was delivered by Prof. Ramesh Chand, noted agriculture expert and full-time Member of Niti Aayog. His lecture was on "Changing Structure of Rural Economy of India: Implications for Employment and Growth".
Prof. Rakesh Saxena, Acting Director IRMA, welcoming the guests, said "Dr. Verghese Kurien who was the Father of White Revolution and the Founder Chairman of IRMA, left us on September 9, 2012. IRMA instituted the Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture in his memory to coincide with his birthday."
Shri Dilip Rath, Chairman of IRMA, in his welcome address emphasized, "This day is also celebrated as National Milk Day as a mark of respect to the great visionary who was instrumental in demonstrating the power of farmers in bringing about socio-economic transformation in rural India."
Prof. Chand, speaking on the occasion paid tribute to the late Dr. Kurien, whom he called "one of the great sons of mother India, one who had made such a selfless contribution to the rural people of India."
While confessing that he had not had several occasions for interacting with IRMA's founding father he did remember having listened to a lecture in which Dr. Kurien had spoken about comparative advantages over natural ones, something that gave him food for thought since areas less well endowed with natural resources have scored over ones that are rich in natural resources.
Moving on to rural economy, Prof. Chand touched upon the importance of inclusive growth emphasizing that growth achieved through livestock comes under inclusive growth. "Looking at the latest estimates," he said, "fifty percent of the rural poor rear livestock."
For the first time in the country's economic narrative was the word "inclusive" added in the 11th Five Year Plan. There was a reason for this.
"Disparities had always existed between rural and urban areas," he said. "But this disparity increased particularly in 1991... and despite agronomic reforms the disparities remained the same as they were during the beginning of the Green Revolution."
He also rued the fact that there had been "no in-depth study on output in (India's) rural economy".
Later, the word "sustainable was added to the 11the Five Year Plan apart from "inclusive", which also figures in the 12th Five Year Plan. This time, however, the emphasis is on social development growth or income generation.
Prof. Chand was addressing IRMA's faculty, students, alumni, and invited guests including IRMA's former Director Prof. Tushaar Shah and its former Chairman, Dr. Amrita Patel inside the IRMA auditorium.
Prior to the lecture, some 50 bikers, in a unique tribute to IRMA's late founder, landed at IRMA after having covered 1,700 kms on a seven-day journey that had commenced at the visionary's birthplace in Kozhikode, Kerala.
They were warmly felicitated by IRMA's Acting Director, Prof. Rakesh Saxena.