Saturday, April 28, 2012

Desikottama for MSS?

When institutions of repute end up 'honouring' MSS, some people protest (thank god for them)! Here is a text of some people who have protested against the honouring MSS by Santiniketan. 

We, the ex-students, residents and other well-wishers of Santiniketan strongly condemn the decision of Visva-Bharati to confer its highest honour Desikottama to M.S.Swaminathan this year. As we all know, M.S.Swaminathan has been the mastermind behind the so-called ‘Green Revolution’ which ushered in corporate funded destructive agriculture depending largely on transnational chemical fertilizer and pesticides as well as genetically engineered crops leading to large-scale depletion of natural resource by polluting our lands and rivers, devastating the natural sustainable age-old practice of our revered farmers thereby driving them to suicide. We believe that the policies of people like Swaminathan have harvested despair for farmers across the country making them more and more dependent on monoculture, high-yielding variety and agrarian corporations and they have reached a stage of no return..

It is indeed a matter of deep regret that this same University once conferred the same honour to the farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuwoka for his contribution to natural farming and sustainable agriculture. It should be noted that the conception of Swaminathan and his fellow policy makers are based on pure profit motive and greed which has no place in the ideology of Rabindranath.

Manisha Banerjee

Pijush Mukherjee

Sailen Mishra

Samsul Alam

Mrityunjoy Ghosh...

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Great Gene Robbery by Claude Alvares

The Great Gene Robbery

(First published by the Illustrated Weekly of India in its issue dated March 23, 1986

By Claude Alvares

In 1982, Dr M S Swaminathan withdrew from his position as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SACC) and deputy chairman of the Planning Commission – he was also earlier secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture – and defected to join the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based at Los Banos in the Philippines as Director-General. The word ‘defected’ is used here on purpose: in no other country of the world, would a scientist in such a strategically important position, privy to all the country’s scientific secrets particularly of those related to food, be permitted to leave and overnight become the employee of an institution controlled by two private foundations so closely allied to American capitalism and US foreign policy interests.

IRRI had been set up in 1960 as part of America’s efforts to control and direct rice research in Asia, even though American is hardly a rice eating country.

A famous plant-breeder had once said, in regard to rice: ‘He who controls the supply of rice will control the destiny of the entire Asiatic orbit. The most important thing to the majority of the Asia is not capitalism or socialism or any other political ideology but food which means life itself, and in most of Asia, food is rice.’

Earl Butz, a former US Secretary of Agriculture, is notorious for one sentence that he uttered in a course of an otherwise utterly insignificant life: ‘If food can be used as a weapon we would be happy to use it.’

And today, as we near the end of the twentieth century, we have to admit that the research concerning the two major cereals that rule our lives – wheat and rice – is wholly directed and controlled by institutions set up under American imperialism.

In many ways Dr Swaminathan’s appointment to IRRI would have been considered a demotion. While in India, he had lorded it over a scientific establishment that employed thousands of scientists, in the Philippines he would have not more than 200 scientists under him. The principal compensation, however, was the money, income tax free.

Already this international institute, always run by American directors, was facing the collapse of its High Yielding Varieties (HYVs) strategy, as seed after seed fell victim to waves of pest epidemics. Urgently required was a massive expansion of IRRI’s rice germplasm, genes from which were essential for passing on resistance to the HYVs. The largest collection of rice varieties, of rice germplasm, remained in the Indian sub continent. Swaminathan’s appointment was critical to this quest.

The IRRI is not a premier institute of science. It is a privately-controlled agricultural research centre. Even so, it is difficult to conceive of a man with Swaminathan’s record becoming its director general. Unless of course the person being appointed is known more for his ability to get things done than for his scientific work. Certainly no scientist with an equivalent scientific record would have found an appointment as director of, say, the Max Planck Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), or the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). I ask knowledgeable people in the Philippines how Swaminathan could have been appointed to the post of director general of IRRI. The most plausible answer was also the funniest.

There were apparently three applicants for the post. The first, a vice-president of the Rockefeller Foundation, insisted on coming to the institute with both his wife and his mistress, if he got the job. The second candidate, from West Germany, was found, upon examination, not to have a degree that he had stitched on to his name. In comparison, Dr M S Swaminathan whom an article in the 1979 Yearbook of Science and the Future, published by the Encyclopedia Britannica, put in the company of Paul Kammerer and Cyril Burt, two of the leading scientific frauds of the twentieth century, appeared white as snow.


India is rice country. Rice is a critical component of a complex eco-system, tied to legends, used as symbol, essential witness at religious ceremonies and rituals. Such an immense preoccupation with rice would, which is to be expected, call forth its own brand of competence to grow it; so we find a bewildering number of techniques, some of which even today, place Indian rice farmers, some Adivasis, in a class far ahead of international science (see box).

In the Jagannath Temple at Puri in Orissa, I was told, freshly harvested rice is presented to the deity everyday, and various varieties of rice, placed in pots, one on top of the other, with a single flame beneath the lowermost, still cook simultaneously. In Chattisgarh region there is a rice variety called Bora, which can be ground directly into flour and made into rotis. Other varieties have fascinating names, like the kali-mooch of Gwalior, the moti-chur and the khowa; the latter, as its name signifies, tastes like dried milk. The dhokra-dhokri, with its length of grain over 14 mm is the longest rice in the world and the variety Bhimsen has the largest width; there is variety called udan pakheru – because of its long, featherlike structure.

There may have been as many as 1,20,000 varieties of rice in the country, adapted to different environments, and selected and evolved by farmers for specific human needs. These varieties are a product of nature’s desire for diversity, eagerly husbanded by indigenous and non-formal science.

The Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), at Cuttack, had been working on the different problems associated with rice culture ever since it had been set up in the late 1950s. Dr R H Richharia took over as its director in 1959, and a number of competent scientists had come up with interesting work that sooner or later would converge into a strategy to produce more rice. Already in 1963, C. Gangadharan, a CRRI scientist had, for example, produced a mutant variety that was short-statured and produced high yields. The institute had also been working on Taiwanese and Japanese varieties. The work was slow because it takes time to discover which varieties are stable, and resistant to diseases and pests.

Gangadharan has placed the history of rice research in India into three major periods and the developments are highly suggestive. The first phase, from 1912 to the 1950s, concentrated on pure line selections, and by the end of the period, a total of 445 improved rice varieties, mostly the result of pure line methods of selection, were bred.

But what is interesting for our purpose and which starkly illuminates the major schism that would soon develop between indigenous science and ‘international science’ is the broad list of objectives of this early research. Gangadharan lists nine including earliness, deep water and flood resistance, lodging resistance, drought resistance, non-shedding of grain, dormancy of seed, control of wild rice, disease resistance and higher response to heavy manuring. Since pure line selection is itself based on natural selection occurring over centuries, there was no problem of incompatibility between genes and the environment, and therefore no pest problem.

The second phase was less promising. It involved the initially unsuccessful effort at hybridising the Japonica and Indica varieties. The objective, writes Gangadharan, ‘was to transfer the high yielding ability and response to fertilisers that characterise the Japonicas into local Indica varieties which are adapted to local conditions of culture and to the prevalent diseases and pests. Japan had used chemical fertilisers from the beginning of this century and Japonicas showed a response under Japanese conditions whereas the Indicas had not been cultivated under high fertility conditions.’

Only four successes were reported from this programme. The problem was that the Japonicas were both photo-period and temperature sensitive and additionally the seed had been brought from some of the coldest regions of Japan. When these varieties were planted in the tropical environment, they not only gave different but negative results. The introduction of the Philippines semi-dwarf varieties put an abrupt end to this line of research. Later the CRRI imported seed from the milder, temperate region of Japan. This time the efforts were successful but IRRI’s control over the rice research programme would effectively keep these efforts out of circulation, and science.

Which brings us to the third phase inaugurated by IRRI, and also the subject of this investigation.

IRRI was established on the basis of a note written by a Rockefeller official in 1959. Both the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations put up the money to start the institute, which was established formally in 1960 and began functioning fully in 1962. From start to finish, the CRRI would be no match in an unequal battle all the way. The IRRI officials would literally buy rice scientists from different parts of Asia, and take over most of the outstanding talent simply because of IRRI’s ability to offer them salaries not only in dollars, but out of proportion to what they received in their own countries, and its ability to provide accommodation, and opportunities for educating staff children anywhere in the world.

By 1966, IRRI had come up with its first success. It is important to emphasise that whereas the CRRI had nine objectives governing its research, IRRI had only one. IR8 was a semi-dwarf rice variety, the result of a cross between an Indonesian tall rice plant and a Taiwanese dwarf variety. Distinctive of the plant was its ability to stand heavy fertilisation, and heavier yields, without lodging. (It also inaugurated a vast market for American fertilisers all over Asia). Without water, fertilisers and pesticides, IR8 did not perform extraordinarily better than the older rices. The disadvantage of the latter was solely that they tended to lodge when given extra nutrients, thus leading to losses.

The CRRI had, as mentioned earlier, been working with identical material and in fact had isolated dwarf varieties from Taiwan that were free from susceptibility to viral attacks. When the news arrived that the Indian government was planning, at the insistence of IRRI experts, to import the new IRRI seed in bulk into India, Dr Richharia, CRRI director, objected.

The government seems to have found Dr Richharia’s advice contradictory: earlier, it had been informed by the CRRI that Taichung varieties could provide a breakthrough in rice production; now Richharia was objecting to their import. The contradiction stemmed from the fact that bureaucrats and politicians have little grounding in genetics: they did not seem to understand that seed tested after numerous adaptive trials over many seasons, and then selected and multiplied, is radically different from seed imported in bulk from abroad. The latter, because of its mixed population, will contain seed carrying disease and which might be susceptible to pests. IRRI at that point of time was too keen to get its seeds grown on a large scale before decisions could be reversed, to subscribe to caution of any kind.

It was also the tremendous leverage that the Americans maintained over the Indian science establishment that enabled IRRI to ride roughshod over the protests of Indian scientists. Though the country was allegedly nonaligned in politics, most of its policies in science and economics were largely under the control of Americans. Thus the community development programme originated with Albert Myers. Douglas Emswinger of the Ford Foundation once boasted that he had better access to Pandit Nehru than any of the latter’s cabinet colleagues. Dr Richharia first came to know of his appointment to the director’s post at the CRRI from an American, Prof Claim. Dr. Robert Chandler, director of IRRI, reported directly to Agriculture Minister, C. Subramanam.

Chandler, in his recent account of the IRRI, An Adventure in Applied Science, has admitted that he had never seen a rice plant when he took over as director of IRRI. Yet, it was at his instigation, and because he had been castigated once by Dr Richharia for bringing rice seed into the country without a quarantine certificate, thus violating the country's laws, that the government decided to retire Dr Richharia, at that time one of the world's leading rice specialists.

Once IR8 and TN1 had become fairly established within India and all rice research oriented solely in the direction of semi-dwarfs using these parents, IRRI would naturally retain the lead, with large doses of political clout and advertising to make up for shortfalls in science. Rice scientists from Asia, if they wished to make a career, would have to support the IRRI research direction.

One additional significant factor that seems to have made an impact on the government at the time were the disastrous harvests of 1965 and 1966. What weighed with the Government of India (and also former President Marcos of the Phillipines) in choosing to uncritically deploy IRRI technology, was that the latter, for the first time, offered an almost automatic method of raising food that would place it within the control of the administration, taking it out of the hands of the peasants. If the government concentrated its resources in a few, well-endowed areas, using the HYV package, it could produce a sizeable output of food that would be independent of the whims of the monsoons. Again, the very method of agriculture, based on expensive inputs, required credit, and this assured the government that a good proportion of the grain thus produced would end up in the market, in the hands of government procurement agencies, and could then be used to keep prices stable in the cities.

Two major developments totally ruined the prospect of a promised land overflowing with rice and honey. The first was economic: the oil price hike of 1973 effectively limited a fertiliser-based agricultural strategy. It would make Green Revolution inputs so expensive that they would have to be subsidised by Governments, if farmers were not to give up using them forever. The second major problem, also irreversible, arrived in the form of disease and insects. The growing of varieties with a narrow genetic base (all with the same dwarfing gene, dee-gee-wo-gen), upset insect ecology and invented entire generations of pests. Dr Swaminathan has himself made quite a shameless summary of the fate of IRRI varieties, in a recent issue of Mazingira. He writes:

‘It is difficult to develop a variety that has a useful life of more than five to six years in tropical environments unless genes for horizontal (more stable) resistance are identified and incorporated. Year round rice cultivation causes disease and insect organisms to occur in overlapping generations and increases the chance of new races or biotypes developing; thus new pest problems continuously arise. Variety IR8, released in 1966, suffered from serious attacks of bacterial blight (BB) in 1968 and 1969. In 1970 and 1971, outbreaks of rice tungro virus (RTV) destroyed IR8 yields throughout the Philippines. The IR20 variety, released in 1969, had BB resistance and RTV tolerance, and it replaced IR8 in 1971 and 1972. However, outbreaks of brown plant hopper (BPH) and grassy stunt virus (GSV) in 1973 destroyed IR20 in most Philippine provinces. Variety IR26, with BPH resistance, was released in 1973 and became the dominant Philippine variety in 1974 and 1975. In 1976, a new BPH biotype attacked it and IR36 was released; it had a different gene for resistance to the new BPH biotype and replaced IR26 within one year. It is now the dominant variety in the Philippines. Its resistance to BPH has held till recently, but it is now being threatened by ragged stunt and wilted stunt (both new diseases), as well as by another new biotype of BPH (No. 3).

In India, the situation was equally horrifying. All of Dr Richharia's predictions had come true. ‘The introduction of high-yielding varieties,’ noted a task force of eminent rice breeders, ‘has brought about a marked change in the status of insect pests like gall midge, brown planthopper, leaf folder, whore maggot, etc. Most of the HYVs released so far are susceptible to major pests with a crop loss of 30 to 100 per cent... Most of the HYVs are the derivatives of TN1 or IR8 and therefore, have the dwarfing gene known as dee-gee-wo-gen. The narrow genetic base has created alarming uniformity, causing vulnerability to diseases and pests. Most of the released varieties are not suitable for typical uplands and lowlands which together constitute about 75 per cent of the total rice area of the country.’

The IRRI counter-strategy against the pests involved breeding of varieties, with genes for resistance to such pests, taken from wild relatives of the rice plant and its traditional cultivars. All of a sudden it seemed critical that massive efforts be made to make as complete a collection of the older varieties: many of the traditional Indicas were found to be important donors for resistance. Gene incorporation strategy, in other words, required vast germplasm resources, most of which were to be found in India. The recruitment of Dr M S Swaminathan would be instrumental in the task of collection.

In India, again, Dr Richharia stood in the way.

After he had been retired from service at Chandler's insistence, Richharia had gone to the Orissa High Court, where for three years, alone, he fought a legal battle that ruined his family, disrupted the education of his children, and brought tremendous strains on his wife's health. The legal battle was successful, for in 1970, the Court ordered his reinstatement as director of the CRRI. He had redeemed his honour.

In the meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh government had appointed Dr Richharia as an agricultural advisor, and the rice man set about his disrupted rice work once again, with his usual zeal. Within the space of six years, he had built up the infrastructure of a new rice research institute at Raipur. Here, this extraordinarily gifted and imaginative rice scientist maintained over 19,000 varieties of rice in situ on a shoestring budget of Rs. 20,000 per annum, with not even a microscope in his office-cum-laboratory, situated in the neighbourhood of cooperative rice mills. His assistants included two agricultural graduates and six village level workers, the latter drawing a salary of Rs.250 per month. Richharia had created, practically out of nothing, one of the most extraordinary living gene banks in the world, and provided ample proof of what Indian scientists are capable of, if they are given proper encouragement.

An attack of leaf blight that devastated the corn crop of the US in 1970, and which had resulted from the extensive planting of hybrids that shared a single source of cytoplasm, and the continuous attacks on IRRI varieties, impelled IRRI to sponsor a Rice Genetic Conservation Workshop in 1977. Swaminathan attended it as an ‘observer’. The report of that workshop begins with the statement: ‘The founders of IRRI showed great foresight when in 1960-61 they planned the establishment of a rice germplasm bank.’ Nonsense. The certified aims and objects for the institute merely talk of a collection of the world's literature on rice. The workshop, being held 17 years after the establishment of IRRI, indicated that the germplasm problem was becoming important only now.

After the workshop, IRRI's covetous gaze fell on Richharia’s 19,000 varieties at the Madhya Pradesh Rice Research Institute (MPRRI). Not only had Richharia now uncovered a fascinating world of traditional rices, some of which produced between 8-9 tonnes per hectare – better than the IRRI varieties – he had also discovered dwarf plants without the susceptible dwarfing gene of the IRRI varieties. His extension work among the farmers would soon begin to pose a direct challenge to IRRI itself.

IRRI staff members journeyed to Raipur and asked for his material. Still moulded in the old scientific tradition, he refused because he had not studied the material himself. He was decidedly against any proposal for ‘exchange’, for this could only mean giving up his uncontaminated varieties for IRRI's susceptible ones.

So the IRRI did the next best thing: it got the MPRRI shut down!

The ICAR floated a scheme for agricultural development in Madhya Pradesh, particularly for rice. The World Bank contributed Rs.4 crores. The condition laid down was: close down the MPRRI, since it would lead to a ‘duplication of work.’ At a special meeting of the MPRRI Board, Madhya Pradesh's chief secretary who was not a trustee, was present. He had been earlier connected with the Ford Foundation. A resolution was passed closing down the Institute, and the rice germplasm passed over to the Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya (JNKVV), whose vice-chancellor, Sukhdev Singh, also joined the IRRI board of trustees. Scientists were sent to IRRI for training in germplasm transfer, and Richharia's team was disbanded.

This time too, they locked Dr. Richharia's rooms and took away all his research papers.

On June 4, 1982, Dr M N Shrivastava, rice breeder, JNKVV, wrote to P S Srinivasan, the IRRI liaison officer, addressed it care of Ford Foundation, New Delhi, enclosing two sets of material as requested by T. T. Chang of IRRI: ‘First set (264 accessions) is from our early duration collection and second set (170 samples) is part of those varieties which were identified to be popular with the farmers of Madhya Pradesh and Dr R H Richharia, former director of MPRRI, purified them and recommended replacing originals with these purified versions.’

But with Richharia out of the fray, nature herself now jumped into the ring. It responded with the necessary mutations, and began to lay low the new pest resistant varieties, rendering even the strategy of gene incorporation, of temporary utility. And then, in a fashion that only those with some respect for nature's awesome ways would understand, it delivered the coup de grace.

The distinctive success of the HYVs lay in their being short stemmed, able to stand heavy nitrogen applications without lodging, when compared with the older varieties. The incorporation of more and more genes from traditional cultivars not only passed on resistance characters, but also the tendency to lodge. Ergo, modern varieties began to lose their non-lodging character, the main advantage they had against the older cultivars. Research Highlights for 1983, an IRRI publication, observes:

‘Modern rices produce high grain yields with large amounts of applied nitrogen. However, heavy applications increase lodging, which reduces yields. Additionally, as higher levels of insect pest and disease resistance have been bred into modern semi-dwarf varieties, lodging resistance has tended to decline.’

The green revolution in rice had begun to involute.

What then have been the ‘achievements’ of such corrupt and politically naive science? (One set of all IRRI germplasm has been sent to Fort Collins, the maximum security installation in the US, without the permission of the Indian government). Has such science achieved any of its declared aims? Bharat Dogra summed it up:

‘Starting from just five million hectares in 1970-71, over 18 million hectares or nearly half the area of (rice) has now been brought under the HYVs programme till 1982-83... Therefore, this crop must have received a substantial share of the benefit of the overall increase in irrigation and the increase in the overall consumption of NPK fertilisers. However, compared to the increase in the area under HYVs and the increase in fertilisers and irrigation, the production of rice has increased to a lesser extent. During the period mentioned above (1970-71 to 1982-83), the production of rice has gone up from 42.23 million tonnes to 46.48 million tonnes. Assuming the production of non-HYVs did not experience any increase at all and all the difference in rice production was on HYVs land, we get an increase in production of about 4 million tonnes as a result of extension of HYVs programme to nearly 13 million hectares of land. In other words, an increase of 0.31 tonnes was achieved with HYV per hectare. This is a relatively small accomplishment which could have been easily achieved even without the expensive HYV programme and its infrastructure by making better use of village-based resources.’

A 33-member official working group headed by K C S Acharya, additional secretary in the ministry of agriculture, has determined that the growth rate of rice production after the Green Revolution has been less when compared with the pre-Green Revolution period.

Millions of hectares of rice are now routinely devastated by BPH and other pests and no compensation is available to farmers who are induced to take to such ‘modernised’ agriculture. Such pest infestations have been introduced into the Indian environment. The IRRI officials knew what they were doing, and they did it for the cheap objective of wanting to assert IRRI primacy.

The unmonitored, hasty introduction of HYVs of seed has led to genetic erosion of tremendous proportions, as hundreds of priceless traditional varieties have been lost to mankind. It is only in the eighties that the IRRI has begun to acknowledge the true worth of the older varieties. What a curious circle of events!

The IRRI inaugurated the revolution in rice by holding in ridicule the basis of traditional agriculture – the traditional cultivar, itself the result of close trial and error experimentation by farmers over decades – and sought to displace it with its own product, the HYV. However, since the HYV was not closely adapted to any environment, it required extensive support, having attracted pest infestations on a mass scale. Protection could only come from the same traditional cultivars, which at the time of HYV propagation, had been loaded with abuse.

Is there a way out: how can such a state of science exist nearly 40 years after independence? Why does the director of the CRRI continue to remain as a trustee of the IRRI, which he has been since 1979? To continue and deepen the dependence? The IRRI has no future, politically, and also as far as research is concerned. Politically, its future was tied to former President Marcos, and Filipino farmers and scientists had already begun to demand its closure. As far as research is concerned, the IRRI has no new ideas, and is now eagerly visiting China to learn Chinese techniques of growing hybrid rice, the next frontier in rice yield enhancement.

The CRRI has ample talent to match Chinese science. It has still vital access to hundreds of indigenous cultivars (a recent count of rice collection centres indicated that there were about 44,000 varieties, whereas the IRRI has 70,000). What then should be done?

First, the CRRI should be upgraded to international standards, for that is the only sure guarantee of the funds it needs, and which it has been deprived of, ever since Indian politicians decided to back IRRI science. Today, the CRRI germplasm unit does not have even a jeep to operate its collection of rice cultivars.

Second, all further export of rice germplasm to IRRI should be banned, since germplasm is part of our national heritage, and its preservation is enjoined by the Constitution in the chapter on Fundamental Duties. Third, steps should be taken to gradually replace IRRI varieties, and all those having IRRI parents, with productive indigenous varieties in the fields. This is already happening in the Philippines: farmers are exchanging old varieties with each other, disowning IRRI seeds, aptly described as ‘seeds of imperialism’ and ‘seeds of sabotage.’

There seems to have been some awareness at the level of the government that the rice revolution had been grounded, due to environmental and economic factors. The late Prime Minister, Mrs Gandhi, had asked Dr Richharia for a rice production increase plan. After he submitted it, he heard no more about it. After an article by Dom Moraes on Richharia, the M. P. Government hastily set about attempting to find some funds to ask the latter to resume his work. Now that proposal has been scotched by the same forces that once got the MPRRI to close down.

More than 25 years have passed in this costly, wasteful, environmentally unsound, flirtation with the exogene. The sorry and sad record only serves to underline the principle – despite our continuing mesmerisation by western science – that for genuine development of any worthwhile kind, the indigene is still the best gene.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

M.S.Swaminathan will be in the Indian Parliament

"...I pray to God that India may never be in that plight. That which you consider to be the Mother of Parliaments is like a sterile woman and a prostitute. Both these are harsh terms but exactly fit the case. That Parliament has not yet, of its own accord done a single good thing. Hence I have compared it to a sterile woman. The natural condition of that Parliament is such that, without outside pressure, it can do nothing. It is like a prostitute because it as under the control of ministers who change from time to time."- Mahatma Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, 1909
Gandhi is proved right time and again. His prediction about the Indian Parliament being a prostitute has been yet again proven right with M.S. Swaminathan being made a member of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house). Does it dis-qualify him from being nominated for the post of the President? It may not be.

Scientist M S Swaminathan nominated to RS
"A great honour for me," says M S Swaminathan

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Swaminathan's name among 'Biased Scientific Researchers' in Encyclopaedia Britannica

Bias in Scientific Research
Ian St James-Roberts

Intentional bias is a common feature of scientific research. The danger is that fallacious results of such studies mightbe inflicted on the public.

IAN ST. JAMES-ROBERTS is Lecturer in Psychology at the University of London Institute of Education. In his studies of twins Sir Cyril Burt faked his research findings by falsifying some of his data.

On Oct. 24,1976, The Sunday Times of London published dramatic allega­tions that Sir Cyril Burt (1883-1971), considered by many the father of British psychology, had faked some of his research findings. The importance of the allegations derived nbt only from the preeminence of Burt's reputation but also from the wide application of his research in British educational practice; both the adoption of grouping for ability in schools by the 1944 Education Act and the 1929 Wood Report's sexual segregation of mental retardates were based on Burt's finding that intellectual capacity is largely inherited. Thus, the case illustrated the existence of a real danger that the conse­quences of biased research could be inflicted on society. The expose also had two other results. First, it emphasized how difficult the demonstration of deliberate malpractice is; the ensuing debate in The Times and elsewhere was sharply divided according to whether Burt's misrepresentation was regarded as deliberate or unintentional. Second, the case clearly demon­strated the impossibility of rational discussion of such issues. In mid-1977 the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society was still receiving vitriolic and often abusive letters from members of factions both critical and sup­portive of Burt's position.

Intentional and unintentional bias

By way of coincidence, the Burt disclosure came at a time when an attempt to quantify the extent and importance of bias in scientific research was already underway. On Sept. 2,1976, New Scientist had published an article arguing that what could be called "intentional bias" in research required investigation. The argument was based on the premise that the inducements to deliberately bias research were considerable, whereas the constraints operating to detect or punish miscreants were paltry. Perhaps more impor­tant, the article proposed that science's uncritical attitude and the conse­quent lack of information on intentional bias in research were inimical to a discipline whose way of life is based on skepticism. The September 2 article was accompanied by a questionnaire which invited readers to provide infor­mation concerning their experiences of intentional bias. Analyses of the questionnaire replies, 204 of which were received, amply justified the view that intentional bias in science was more prevalent than many would allow. Like beauty, intentional bias is in the eye of the beholder, or rather in this case the experimenter, since only he can know whether an "error" is inten­tional or unintentional. The subtlety of this distinction should not be un-deremphasized. One colleague, for example, communicated that when he had completed an analysis of results he sometimes had a "niggling feeling" that all was not well. It was his experience that if the result of the analysis contradicted his hypothesis, he would check it. If, however, the analysis confirmed his hypothesis, he found that, although never making a deliberate decision not to check, he didn't quite get around to doing it.

The subject of unintentional bias has received considerable attention in scientific literature, and the common use in research of control groups and double-blind procedures is one consequence of the realization of its impor­tance. Perhaps the best-known example of bias presumed to be of this sort is the N-ray scandal of 1903. The case concerned a mysterious ray, analo­gous to the X-ray but with the considerable advantage of being able to penetrate metals. This ray, initially isolated by Rene Blondlot, was soon also identified by dozens of other respectable laboratories, and its characteristics and properties quickly became well known. In 1904, however, Robert W. Wood was able to demonstrate conclusively that the rays did not exist. Given the reputations of those concerned, it seems most likely that the rays were the result of unintentionally biased observation resulting from excessive experimental zeal. In any event, they provide a perfect example of the extent to which fashionability and expectation can overrule the effects of common sense and scientific training.

Science has undoubtedly made considerable progress in developing controls to minimize unintentional bias, and it seems unlikely that an N-ray-like affair could occur today. In the process, however, the idea of intentional bias has been more or less swept under the carpet and the thin and indistinct nature of the line separating the two has been ignored. In this context, it is worthwhile to examine in some detail the cause celebre of scientific fraudPaul Kammerer's experiments on the midwife toadsince it provides an excellent demonstration of how difficult absolute proof of deliberate decep­tion can be.

The midwife toad

The case of the midwife toad (to borrow the title of Arthur Koestler's excel-lent book on the subject) concerns a species of toad that, unlike most others, normally mates on land. In the years up to 1909, Kammerer had managed to persuade several generations of the toad to mate instead in water. This was no mean feat-from both Kammerer's and the toad's point of view-and the technical difficulty of these breeding experiments may be one reason why they do not appear to have been repeated. The difficulty the toad faced was to remain attached, during the long time required for fertilization, to the slippery back of the female. In toads that habitually mate in water, this behavior is facilitated by the existence on the male's hands and feet of "nuptial pads," which assist in clinging. Kammerer's claim was that he had caused these nuptial pads to appear on the limbs of the land-mating toad after only a few generations of forced mating in water. The importance of such a finding would be that it would be contrary to orthodox Darwinism, favoring instead Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck's theory of inheritance. Accord­ing to Darwinian theory, the effects of the environment can be incorporated into the genetic makeup of a species only indirectly, as a result of the "survival of the fittest" dictum. Kammerer's findings suggested that such effects had been incorporated directly into the genetic material and thereaf­ter were passed on as an inherited characteristic to subsequent generations.

Kammerer's results were greeted with hostility because of their controver­sial nature. Initially, there was no consideration of fraud, Kammerer's reputa­tion in general being excellent. Some years after the original work, however, the only laboratory specimen of midwife toad that Kammerer had preserved was found to have been tampered with: the nuptial pads were merely judi­ciously applied india ink. Kammerer subsequently committed suicide and so implicitly accepted the blame for the tampering. However, as Koestler em­phasized, it is by no means certain that Kammerer's suicide is attributable solely to the faked specimen and a possibility also exists that he did not himself apply the ink. One interpretation of the evidence is that, when the midwife toad specimen began to deteriorate, a technician attempted to restore the essential characteristics with ink so that they might be better seen. This kind of refurbishment is by no means uncommon in biology. The existence of the nuptial pads was not, however, ever verified by any other scientific observer.

A significant aspect of the case is that no attempt to repeat Kammerer's results appears to have been made. This is not just because the experiments are so difficult to perform. Scientists are as sensitive to impropriety and stigma as any other group, and one scandal of this sort can make a complete area of inquiry disreputable.

The Kammerer case raises a number of questions. The ethical issues involved in intentional bias are too complex to receive attention here. How-ever, since the subject of the gray area between intentional and unintention­al bias is under consideration, it is appropriate to point out that a similarly indistinct area exists for moral perspectives. Two famous examples may even be seen as evidence that bias in some instances may be to the ultimate good. The best-known concerns statistical reanalysis by R. A. Fisher of Gregor Mendel's data, which form the basis of modern views on heredity. Fisher showed that Mendel's results were just too good to be true—the chances of his getting them, given his research techniques, were something like 1 in 10,000.

Nobody knows whether Mendel deliberately misrepresented his data or not, but it is clear that, whatever the means, the results of his work are of inestimable importance for modern society. A more controversial and recent instance concerns the alleged publication of misleading data on wheat radia­tion mutation by the influential Indian agriculturalist M. S. Swaminathan. Swaminathan claimed that he had increased the protein and lysine content of a strain of wheat by subjecting seeds of a parent strain to a combination of gamma radiation and ultraviolet light. In this case, the issue is not so much whether Swaminathan deliberately fabricated his experiments but rather whether he was less than vigilant in his attitude to the data after it had been discredited. Swaminathan's supporters argued that any carelessness on his part was more than justified by the contribution he had made to the Green Revolution that brought about increased agricultural yields in India. His de­tractors maintained that such calculated unscrupulousness was contrary to the ideals of science and completely inappropriate for a man in such a prestigious position.

Pressures of competition

In trying to understand the reasons for the existence of intentional bias one must think of the scientist as an individual under considerable pressure to obtain particular results. The pressure comes from a number of sources. Research funding from industry, for example from pharmaceutical firms, is normally assigned to groups producing results that look promising from the funder's point of view. The temptation to produce experiments that yield such results is, consequently, a strong one. At a different level, the post­graduate scientist, working strenuously for his Ph.D., is all too aware that his research is funded for a very limited period. If, toward the end of that time, he is failing to get "good" results, the temptation to "improve" the data a little so as to get the Ph.D. must be extraordinary. And also, at all levels, advancement in science depends primarily on publication of impressive research findings. All journals receive far more material for publication than they can possibly handle, so they have to be selective. Selection relates to the importance of findings, and consequently "failed" experimentsthose where hypotheses have not been confirmed and so no "positive" results have been obtainedare seldom published. Once again, therefore, the emphasis is on obtaining clear-cut experimental evidence in favor of predict­ed phenomena.

Two recent examples of fraud were generated in large part by such pres­sures. The first concerned the work of William T. Summerlin at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In 1974 it was discovered that Summerlin had altered the results of experiments so that it appeared that skin and organs maintained for a time in tissue culture could be grafted onto recipient animals without provoking the immune-system reaction that causes transplant rejection. Also in 1974 Walter J. Levy, Jr., the director of the Institute for Parapsychology at Durham, N.C., confessed to falsifying results of his experiments to indicate that rats could anticipate events by means of extrasensory perception and could achieve physical changes by sheer willpower. Both Summerlin and Levy claimed that they had been under considerable pressure to produce positive results.

Every scientist is likely at some time in his career to have to face a choice between morally acceptable and expedient choices of action. While the ethical standards of science are no doubt keenly felt on such occasions, the individual's need to survive must also be taken into account. When ambition and career, to say nothing of more mundane considerations like holding down a job and salary, depend on getting results of a particular sort, it is obvious that expediency must sometimes win.

Sanctions against intentional bias

In contrast to the considerable pressures working in favor of intentional bias, the sanctions operating to prevent it are negligible. The most significant is replication, and it can be argued that intentional bias may safely be ignored because important experiments are always replicated independently by oth­er researchers before their findings are accepted or applied.

For some major advances, there is undoubtedly something in this view­point. For less celebrated work, though, exact replication is seldom carried out and is published even less often; journals are understandably not sympa­thetic to repetitious material. Moreover, the increasing expense and com­plexity of research is making replication even less common. Many experiments involve extremely sophisticated and costly apparatus, which, consequently, exist only in a few laboratories. Access to such apparatus is keenly sought, and it is unlikely that precious apparatus time will be allowed to be used simply for repeating experiments. In other cases, experiments are simply not reproducible, either for technical reasons (as in the Kammerer case) or because of some peculiarity in the design or subject matter. A notorious example of the sort of problem associated with the latter is the Piltdown man, a fraudulent skull specimen that led archaeology astray for more than 40 years before it was discredited.

It could even be argued that the increasing complexity of modern ex­perimentation provides a ready cloak for the would-be charlatan, since dis­crepant results may be explained away as the consequences of equipment or sample idiosyncrasies. Indeed, for obvious and laudable reasons, re­searchers normally go to great trouble to detect possible reasons for dis­crepancies between their own results and those of others. If replication of the experiment, involving systematic testing of each idiosyncrasy, is then attempted, the cost in time and resources is likely to be considerable; a recent disclosure itemized one case in which four man-years had been wasted in this way on a faked original result.

Perhaps the most important reason why detection of intentional bias is unlikely, though, is that experimenters neither want to keep checks on one another nor do they have the time to do so. As indicated earlier, research is an extraordinarily competitive business and time spent overseeing some­one else's work is time deducted from one's own.

New Scientist questionnaire

The questions that made up the New Scientist questionnaire were written with the sort of issues thus far considered very much in mind. The research­ers hoped to obtain information about the circumstances most likely to give rise to intentional bias, about the sort of individual most likely to succumb, and about the likelihood and consequences of detection. In addition, it was hoped that recommendations could be made with respect to the develop­ment of safeguards to minimize intentional bias if they proved to be needed.

Five of the 204 questionnaires received were spoiled, and so analysis involved 199. The questionnaire consisted largely of multiple-choice an­swers, where one or more of several alternatives had to be selected, but in some cases respondents were encouraged to provide additional informa­tion. Some did this, to the extent of sending in letters and complete docu­mented case histories of fraud they had encountered. An important qualification of the survey's data is that respondents were a self-selected (rather than randomly selected) group. In the vast majority of cases (92%) they were individuals who had had some experience of intentional bias, and almost all of them (90%) were in favor of investigation of fraud in science. Although no figures exist, it seems unlikely that such high proportions would be obtained if scientists were selected at random. Hence, the group of respondents must be regarded as "unrepresentative" in the formal statisti­cal sense in that they almost all shared an attitude not necessarily character­istic of all scientists. Of course, this kind of selectivity does not imply dishonesty or even that respondents were necessarily people with a person-al ax to grind. Indeed, the reasoned and dispassionate nature of most of their reponses and the certainty of their evidence suggest that their information is reliable (75% were reporting unequivocal evidence, and in 52% of cases the evidence was based on direct personal experience).

There are other good reasons for assuming respondents to be reason-able, responsible, and mature individuals. Nearly two-thirds were over 30 years of age and one-third were over 40. Their job backgrounds and status varied considerably, but 23% were tenured academic staff and an additional 12% were senior industrial officials.

How, then, is intentional bias detected (question 5) and what is its nature (question 6)? Nearly a fifth of the detections resulted from catching the suspect in the act and nearly as many from confessions, but the principal detection technique involved encountering suspicious data (33%) or replica­tion difficulties (26%). Some respondents rated more than one category, suggesting that encountering one suspicious piece of information some-times leads to a search for others. At first sight, it is reassuring to learn that so many cases of intentional bias are detected through formal scientific procedures of data checking and replication and through rigorous detective work. Since these data concern only those cases actually encountered, however, they may reflect only the ineptitude of the most inefficent and unskilled malpractitioners.

The most common kind of intentional bias detected was data "massage" (74% of total), a category that included deliberate interference with data to make it appear more acceptable. As expected, this area provoked the mostcontroversy. Not all respondents were happy, for example,that omitting to report results that did not conform to overall trends was considered a sin of the same magnitude as relocating decimal points. Others noted that some less than heinous crimes, such as pretending to have run 50 control animals in a biological experiment when only 5 were really run, were commonplace and unimportant. The need to consider each case of intentional bias within its particular context was frequently alluded to. Other types of intentional bias encountered were experiment rigging (17% of total), complete fabrica­tion or plagiarization of an experiment and data (7%), and deliberate misin­terpretation of results (2%).

Part 1 of question 6 yielded 75 research areas and 184 instances of intentionally biased research. Since, however, part 4 of this question indicat­ed that intentional bias was twice as likely to occur often as it was to occur once, it may be assumed that the actual number of cases being reported by respondents was considerably higher. Because of the statistically unrep­resentative nature of the respondents, referred to earlier, it is difficult to know whether the quantitative trends revealed by the answers to question 6 apply to scientific research in general. A reasonable overall conclusion, bearing in mind the heterogeneity of the responses, is that almost every area of re-search appears to be represented. The more obscure areas, such as extra-sensory perception, did not attract an excessively large number of responses. An additional point is that, although the quantity of intentional bias detected is of interest, both the status of the biaser nd the area of research are also important. A music undergraduate's faking, for example, is unlikely to affect others, whereas a single fraud by an eminent medical researcher may prove far more serious.

Although the largest number of intentional biasers were those "junior" in age (20-29) and status (research assistants and associates, postgradu­ates), they by no means dominated the response. A third of the biasers were over 40 at the time of bias, and nearly 60% were over 30. Those in particular­ly prestigious positions (professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, readers, re-search fellows, and industrial staff) among them perpetrated a third of all biased research reported.

Perhaps the most important question concerned what happened to those individuals whose intentional bias had been detected (question 9). In the vast majority of cases (80% of total) the answer was "nothing." A qualifica­tion frequently included was "promoted." Dismissal occurred in 10% of cases and reprimand in 3%. Because these figures concern only those cases actually detected, the low dismissal rates and high likelihood that nothing will happen even if the culprit is detected bear out the study's prior misgivings about the adequacy of existing sanctions against fraud.


Taken as a whole, the results of the survey suggest that intentional bias of one sort or another is a common feature of scientific research and that existing controls are incapable of preventing it. One question that was in­cluded with the subject of controls specifically in mind asked how many scientists were involved in each case of bias because it was anticipated that issue were difficult to evaluate because the relative amounts of research done by groups of different sizes were un­known. It seemed reasonable to assume, however, that most research is done by one or two workers, with decreasing amounts as the size of the group increases. With this proviso taken into account, the responses to the question offer less support than suspected for the effectiveness of multiple experimenters as controls of intentional bias.

Although the proportion of fraudulent experimentation diminishes as the number of experimenters in-creases, nearly half of the intentional bias reported involved more than one experimenter and approximately 15% involved three or more. The informal comments of respondents suggested that an important consideration may be whether they collaborate only afterward, as often happens in multidisci­plinary research.

Insistence on multiple authors for papers and joint running of experiments might, therefore, provide at least some measure of control of intentional bias. What other constraints are possible? Perhaps the simplest would be for journals to insist that experimenters oversee one another's research and retain "open" data books so that anyone can have ready access to their entire data. Such controls are unlikely to be wholly effective, but they may reduce at least some kinds of intentional bias. Whatever methods are used, the cost of controls must be evaluated in terms of inconvenience and loss of time and personal liberty to the research­er.

Source: 1979 Yearbook of Science and the Future, Encyclopaedia Britannica


the following material is reproduced from the Organic Farming Sourcebook, OIB


(Source: John P. Lewis, India’s Political Economy, pp. 113-115 (1995). Available from OIB. (HB) Rs. 495/-).

John P. Lewis includes in his new book a copy of the letter he wrote (see alongside) to the US administration on how they got the Indian government to implement the green revolution without consulting the Cabinet….

“The outcome is all the healthier because our specific role in the exercise has been closely held; indeed, most of the Indian cabinets are not fully aware of it.”

The Administration has a right to feel proud of the progress of its India policy since I last wrote you a month ago about the problems of aid resumption. The US has helped engineer what could be a breakthrough for Indian agricultural expansion:

  1. The new near-term and longer –term agricultural programme that Subramaniam, with Shastri’s support, pressed through the Cabinet and announced in Parliament the week of December 5 has, more solid content and promise than any comparable programme since Independence. It is more radical in its emphasis on

* fertilizer imports.

* enlistment of foreign private investment in fertilizer, pesticide, and seed production, and

* resort to the free market, especially for fertilizer distribution, than anyone could safely have forecast even two months ago.

b. Certainly the timing and probably the content of the new programme owe much to US pressure- both our recent generalized pressure on behalf of agricultural self-reliance and the specific negotiations that reached high gear in the Freeman – Subramaniam Rome talks.

c. The outcome is all the healthier because our specific role in the exercise has been closely held; indeed, most of the Indian cabinets are not fully aware of it.

d. The timing as well as the substance of the President’s December 9 announcement of the 1.5 million tones of wheat and the $50 million fertilizer loan and admirably met the internal Indian political need for a forthcoming US gesture before the Johnson-Shastri talks-especially since the ‘gesture’, instead of being cosmetic, was so plainly responsive to urgent practical needs.

e. Our concern over the near-term food emergency has been emphatic, conspicuous; is appreciated, is helping intensify India’s own preparations for the emergency. (WE shall of necessity be so heavily engaged in this quarter in he next few months that we must take particular pains not to lose sight of the longer-term possibilities and issues that mainly concern us.)

f. The agriculture and food momentum established earlier in the month was reinforced during Subramaniam’s Washington talks.

g. In some ways the most auspicious development of all has been the Indian Government’s reaction to our performance conditioning of the $50 million fertilizer loan:

* The assurances we asked were all sensible, all economic, all in the Indian’s own interest; and we emphasize (i) the directness of our (Pl480-connected) concern over the adequacy of the Indian agricultural effort and (ii) the fact that this new style of AID lending is being adopted worldwide, not just for the subcontinent.

* Nevertheless list of conditions was a yard long and of a kind which would have made the Indians bridle a few months ago.

* Not only did the Government of India give all the requested assurances, including its determination to recruit foreign private investment in about 1 million tones (nitrogen equivalent) of new fertilizer production capacity during the next six months; it gave the assurances briskly and cheerfully, agreeing readily to periodic reviews of progress. Moreover, this streamlised negotiation was conducted, not with Subramaniam’s Food and Agricultural Ministry, but with T.T. Krishnamachari’s Finance Ministry.

* Obviously, the negotiation was facilitated by the fact that the Indians had just adopted most of our conditions on their own the week before. But the very fact that they had done this and then immediately observed the way good self-help pays of should speed the acceptance o similarly conditioned assistance in the future.

Cultural Production Team of the Ford Foundation recommended the intensive approach anew’, (ibid, p.149). And with the visible failure in the Second Plan to get the food to the market in spite of increasing production, a new Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP) was launched in the closing years of the Second Plan. The expressed objective o the programme was to concentrate resources and efforts in specially endowed areas. All along, it was made sure that only areas with adequate production potential in terms of assured water and infrastructural facilities be chosen, and that emphasis be directed towards profitability at the farm level.

The ostensible argument in favor o these ‘intensive’ approaches was that resources spread thin over a large area are lost leaving no appreciable effect on production that only a package of practices involving concentrated doses of resources could be technologically effective; and that increased production achieved in these areas with improved practices would have a ‘demonstration’ effect in other areas. The latter argument obviously had no weight – there were just not sufficient resources to spread such ‘intensive’ practices elsewhere-especially in areas which were to begin with not well-endowed’. As for the other argument of technological efficacy of an intensive package the fact is that there were no agricultural technologies in use that could absorb and respond to intensive doses of resources.

Therefore it is not surprising that the efforts of Indian planners to achieve increased production through ‘improved’ practices in areas which did have access to facilities like supply of water and manure, should prove abortive. In fact, the attempt was a complete failure. According to NCAR (Vol.I, p.411) rice yields in the twelve rice districts and wheat yields in the four wheat districts under the IADP, averaged only 13.3 quintals and 13.5 quintals per hectare compared to the pre-package average of 12.4 and 10.2 quintals. AS against these marginal increases in yields, the added costs of the recommended packages were equivalent to 10 quintals of wheat on the average, and 10 to 12.4 quintals paddy for most o the districts. The efficiency of the package for other crops was even worse.

Thus, the intensive package approach to agricultural development being tried out in India since the fifties had really nothing to do with technological efficacy. The policy in fact only expressed a political wish for a technology that would respond to these measures- a technology that would allow the concentration of resources and production in a few compact already surplus areas. The policy was asking for a technology that would achieve technologically what was achieved by the Britishers politically through the landlords – namely, responsiveness of agriculture to the needs of the industry and the market in preference to the life-needs of the cultivators.

In other words, the development sought for in he agricultural sector was not one that would primarily meet the needs of the rural population, but one that would provide resources and capital needed for the industrialization taking place in the urban centers. What was needed was to break the independence of the rural sector and bring it into increasing dependence on the urban sector; make it enter into increasing exchange relations with the latter- the terms of exchange being manipulated to be so unequal as to enable the urban sector to extract the maximum possible surplus from the rural sector. Thus, the need was for a certain technology to be introduced into the agricultural sector that would bring about such a transformation. No such technology was available at the time the intensive approach policy was being formulated and implemented.

By mid-sixties, however, such a technology became available in the form of new ‘miracle seeds’ that had proved successful in Mexico. These seeds were genetically selected to absorb huge doses of chemical fertilizers. Since these seeds had not evolved under natural conditions, they were susceptible to a number of pests and pathogens ad needed to be grown under the protective cover of pesticides. The new seeds also required new sophisticate practices for irrigation, tillage etc. This was just the ideal technology to fit the bill. It would make the policy of concentration of resources economically and technologically viable. At the same time it would make the agriculture critically dependent on industrial inputs like chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and make the cultivator dependent upon the urban expert for the knowledge of the correct agricultural practices, thus removing the “dangerous tendency” of self-sufficiency in the agriculture sector for good.

This technology, being so expensive could not possibly be extended over the a hole country. But that did not matter. All that was required was to make the surplus areas a little more surplus, so that the urban-industrial sector would be assured of its requirements. However there was a snag. Acceptance of this technology would involve import of large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides, for India did not produce these. In the initial stages even seeds would have to be imported.

Providentially, there was a widespread failure of monsoon in 1965 and 1966 in India, as well as over the rest of South Asia and South East Asia. This failure led to the spectre of a major famine – foreign experts predicted doom, some of them suggesting the possibility of one million starvation deaths in Bihar alone (NCAR, Vol.I, p.27; Speech of the Chairman, NCAR, Shri C Subramaniam). This situation removed all hesitation about accepting the new seeds even if it involved massive imports. THE ever helpful attitude f the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation further encouraged the acceptance of the new technology. And in 1966-67 the New strategy of Agricultural Development, with the programme of introducing the new technology, mainly in the areas covered by IADP and IAAP was launched. Similar programmes were adopted in all o South and South East Asia at around the same time. THE programme was declared an immediate success. This success is what came to be known as the Green Revolution.