The NGOization of Indian Agricultural Development and Implications for the Agrarian Question

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Virginia Tech


India failed to answer the agrarian question after independence by not undertaking expansive land reforms and rural redistribution of resources and wealth. Instead, India followed the national bourgeois path of development, liberalizing agricultural production systems based on rural bourgeoisie and foreign interests. This path of development has led to unequal rural development and the NGOization of agricultural development. For agrarian and peasant producers in India, the liberal and privatized NGO development path of the Indian agriculture sector has had significant implications for their social, political, and economic well-being. The role of the private, for-profit NGO in the liberal, capitalist agriculture production system has not been given as much attention as the role of the Indian and foreign governments, international institutions, and transnational corporations. This thesis argues that private, for-profit non-governmental development organizations working in rural India reproduce imperial structures of foreign dependency and increases the subsumption of peasant and agrarian producers. NGOization conceals the global power structures at play within Indian agricultural production and can impede upon alternative solutions to the Indian agrarian question by appropriating local thought leaders, grassroots movements' narratives, and Indigenous knowledge, which further perpetuates imperial and colonial structures of rural communities and leads to the de-depeasantization of rural production systems.



agrarian question, development, imperialism, India, NGOization