1. The Company did not pay much attention to problems of famine and
famine-relief. It had no administrative machinery and experienced
personnel to deal with the problems of famine.
2. In early 19th century it did try to solve problems of famine-affected
people by half-hearted measures. For example, in 1812, the Company
prohibited export of food grains from affected areas and tried to
import food grains from other parts of country into famine-affected
II. Famine Relief under Crown
1. First Famine Commission (1880): After the famine of 1876-78
Government of India appointed first Famine Commission in 1778
under John Strachey, which submitted its Report in 1880. It
formulated general principles of famine-relief policy and suggested
preventive and protective measures for famine relief.
2. Second Famine Commission (1898): The famine of 1896-97 led to
appointment of second commission under James Lyall. It mostly
endorsed earlier recommendations, and recommended freer grant of
gratuitous relief, a more liberal remission of land revenue and special
attention to weaker sections.
3. Third Famine Commission (1901): The famine of 1899-1900 led to
appointment of Third Famine Commission in 1901 under Antony
MacDonell. It emphasized moral strategy of putting heart into
famine-affected people and building up their will-power by rendering
assistance to them immediately after danger of famine is scented.
4. Woodhead Commission (1944): The Bengal famine of 1943 led to
appointment of Woodhead Commission. It recommended creation of
All-India Food Council, monopoly procurement and distribution of
food grains through a chain of fair-price shops, etc.