Green Revolution

India is presently the most populous country with an estimated population of around 1.4 billion people and hence, has the onerous task of providing enough food to sustain the needs of inhabitants. India today is self-sufficient in food grain production but, the situation in India in the early 1960s was worse as India had to face severe food shortages and was hugely dependent on food imports from other nations. The PL 480 programme(of providing food to India) by the US was delayed and hence, the gravity of the problem was enhanced. The government also realized the far-reaching impact of a bad agricultural season with the Balance of Payment crisis as well. The need for the green revolution was felt to find answers to the above-stated challenges. 

The Government of India called for the Ford Foundation to furnish suggestions as to how agricultural productivity can be increased in India. The foundation submitted its report in the year 1959 and noted several key points required to raise productivity in specific regions of the country. It included processes like the provision of better quality seeds and assured irrigation supply among others. In response to this, the government announced the implementation of the Integrated Agricultural Development Programme (IADP) in the year 1960. It was carried out in seven districts in different states of India. Around the same time, Prof. Norman Borlaug invented a High Yielding Variety(HYV) of wheat and the results were tremendous. The HYV seeds could take advantage of increasing nutrients in the soil. It assists in enhancing the production of grains. Hence, it was at this moment that the Indian government thought of ushering in adopting the latest technology and some institutional reforms to become self-sufficient in food production. This revolution in the fields was termed the Green Revolution. 

In the year 1966, India imported around 18 thousand tonnes of HYV seeds for wheat production and then, it was distributed to the farmers of states such as Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh. The four key components of the green revolution are as follows – 

  1. Adoption of HYV seeds-The newly adopted seeds promised higher growth of crops and in much lesser time. 
  2. Provision of Assured Irrigation- A well-specified irrigation system ensures stability in the provision of water to crops and doesn’t leave agriculture to prosper on the whims of rains. 
  3. Usage Chemical Fertilizers- The addition of fertilizers assists in raising the productivity of crops and better transfer of nutrients. 
  4. Application of Chemical Insecticides – It greatly helps in keeping the crops safe from the threat of insects thacanto eliminate the whole standing crop. 

The programme of the green revolution required a well-irrigated area and regions having rich experience in food grain production. Constant irrigation was a problem in India as mostly the fields were dependent on rainfall for the same. On the other hand, enabling the reach of technology to the fields was also a task. 

The worth of the green revolution is evident from the very fact that the total amount of harvested foodgrain jumped in India from 74 mt(million tonnes) in the year 1966-67 to 105 mt in the time

1971-72. The same year, India achieved the target of being a self-sufficient nation in terms of food grain production. This is a clear demonstration of revolution in agricultural fields. Prof. Gulati also notes 1987 when India fared well even while battling the worst drought of the century. All this would have not been conceivable without the intensive effort of indigenising the HYV seeds, promoting research and adopting a pricing policy that benefited the farmers. 

There were certain apprehensions as to why the government concentrated specifically on the North Western region of India for the Green Revolution. The reasons for choosing the said region (more specifically the states of Punjab, Haryana and Western UP) were as follows 

  1. The irrigation system was much better in that area of the country and there was accessibility to canal irrigation. Water supply was a necessity to real destined benefits with HyV seeds. 
  2. Land holdings in the said area were better consolidated than in other areas and more convenient for adopting new technology. 
  3. Mechanization was already present up to an extent in those areas and thus, the scope was much better over there. 
  4. The farmers there were more receptive to the use of unique methods in their farmlands. 5. The government had plans to achieve higher growth in less time and therefore concentrating on specific regions made good reasoning. 

The green revolution yielded several benefits 

  • The speedy increase in food grain production was noticeable with the green revolution. It helped in achieving self-sufficiency in food grain production in India in the early 1980s.
  • Growth in the production of commercial crops due to the adoption of chemical fertilizers.
  • Cropping patterns saw an inclination towards wheat and rice production.
  • With assured irrigation and new technology, multiple cropping was feasible. This enhanced farmers’ income. 
  • Investment in agriculture saw an upward trend with the green revolution.
  • The adoption of new processes opened new avenues for the farmers and hence, job creation was visible. 
  • Alternative investment opportunities saw the farmers moving towards Integrated Farming in India. 
  • In later periods, the green revolution even encouraged the production of pulses in combination with wheat and rice. 

Linkages between agriculture and other sectors of the industry were apparent and hence better prospects in agriculture made the industry more prosperous. 

However, there are certain deficiencies in the process of the green revolution, like 1. The agriculture in India is majorly dependent on monsoon and hence making assured irrigation possible was a challenge. Indian agriculture is often said to be a gamble in monsoon. 

  1. The requirement of institutional reforms was not by the thrust that was provided to the Green Revolution.
  2. The increased disparity in income was seen both between regions and people. The benefits were restricted to farmers of a few northwestern states only and farmers in other states felt disappointed. 
  3. Intensive use of chemical fertilizers had adverse effects on the environment and led to a loss of natural capital. 
  4. Mechanization in farmlands led to the displacement of people and thereby leading to unemployment. 

Thus it is crystal clear from the above discussion that the Green Revolution in India brought both charms and challenges. 

The way forward in India is now being discussed as the implementation of the evergreen revolution after the success of the green revolution at large. The major obstacle at present is the lack of incentives for farmers and agriculturalists are facing distress due to the debt trap. The evergreen revolution is based on the premise of adopting sustainable approaches to agriculture such as organic farming, and the usage of microorganisms as means of fertilizers. It will encourage the much-needed upheaval of Indian agriculture and make it attractive and profitable for all stakeholders.

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