The Rockefeller Foundation & Economic Development in India, 1950-1975

Jan 01, 2001 | by
  • Description

In August 2001, I engaged in research on the work of the Rockefeller Foundation in India. This research is part of a project that seeks to explore the programs and influence of the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation in India from about 1950 to 1975. My focus was on the RF commitment to economic development in India from 1951, when the first RF mission began to explore a role for the foundation, through to the gradual termination of programs in the mid-1970s. The materials proved to be rich. They detail the process by which the foundation moved into India, the interaction of the RF with other agencies (Government of India especially the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, U.S. government especially the Technical Cooperation Mission and later the Agency for International Development, and the Ford Foundation) and the relations between the New Delhi Office (headed for many years by Ralph Cummings) and the headquarters in New York. Most significantly, the records tell the story of the RF's role in fostering agricultural education, notably through Cumming's leadership of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), and in developing the high-yield varieties of grains that became part of the Green Revolution. In sum, I gained valuable insight into the politics and impact of RF work during the heyday of American involvement in India's development.