Green Revolution in India

Green Revolution Meaning

The word ‘Green Revolution’ comprises of two words ‘Green’ that is associated with crops and ‘Revolution’ that is associated with the substantial increase. Green Revolution was introduced by ‘Norman Borlaug’ who introduced the concept of HYV seeds which made drastic improvements in productivity and output. In this post, you will get a detailed idea of the Green Revolution in India.

Green Revolution in India

Due to low productivity, India faced frequent occurrence of famines and low levels of agricultural products in the latter half of the second five-year plan. To combat the problem, a team was formed to suggest ways to counter these problems. As per the recommendations of the team, the government introduced the use of HYV seeds, modern techniques, and inputs like fertilizers, irrigation facilities, and subsidized credit.

These steps are collectively known as Intensive Area Development Programme (IADP). In India, Green Revolution was introduced in two phases. The first phase was in the period mid-60s-mid 70s. Initially, it was restricted only to certain states such as Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu which were dominant in the cultivation of wheat and rice. The second phase was introduced in the period mid-70s-mid the 80s, where it was further spread to other areas and to crops other than wheat and rice.

Need of Green Revolution in India

In India, Green Revolution was required due to the following reasons.

Low irrigation facility: The well irrigated and permanent irrigated area in India was found to be only 17% in 1951. Also, the major part of the farm area was dependent on rainfall for performing agricultural activities. This made Indian agriculture extremely vulnerable and consequently, it suffered from a low level of production.

Conventional and traditional approach: The production in the agriculture sector was mainly dependent on the conventional and traditional methods used in earlier times. This use of conventional inputs and the absence of modern techniques greatly hampered agricultural productivity. As a result of which the agricultural productivity declined majorly.

Frequent occurrence of famines: Indian agriculture was characterized by low production levels and excessive dependence on monsoon. As a result, famines were very frequent in India during the period of the 1940s to 1970s. Further, due to the higher growth rate of population, agriculture failed to grow at the same speed. Thus, the need for reforms became more prominent.

Lack of finance (credit): In those times, small and marginal farmers found it very difficult to get finance and credit at cheap rates from the government and banks. Thus, they were easy prey to the money lenders and their exploitative practices. This lack of credit facilities further hampered the modernization of agriculture in India.

Self-sufficiency: Due to the traditional agricultural practices, the production of food grains remained low. To feed the growing population, often food grains were imported that drained away scarce foreign reserves. It was thought that with the increased production due to Green Revolution, the government would be able to maintain buffer stock and India could achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliability.

Agriculture marketing: Agriculture was basically for subsistence and therefore, less amount of agricultural product was offered for sale in the market. Hence, the need was felt to encourage the farmers to increase their production and offer a greater portion of their products for sale in the market.

Major Features Green Revolution

Green Revolution comprised of the following major features.

Use of HYV seeds: HYV seeds are more productive and yield greater output per hectare of land than conventional seeds. HYV seeds were introduced for crops such as wheat, rice, and cotton. HYV seeds grow faster than normal seeds and consequently, crops can be harvested in a much shorter time period. This enabled the farmers to grow more than one crop per year. However, such seeds need regular and adequate irrigation facilities along with greater use of fertilizers and pesticides. In 1966, consequent to the use of HYV seeds, the output of food grains increased by nearly 25%.

Greater use of fertilizers and pesticides: The use of HYV seeds requires extensive use of chemical fertilizers to enhance productivity. Besides this, to protect the crops from plant diseases the use of pesticides is required. For this, various initiatives have been taken by the government such as the establishment of Central Plant Protection Centres and the introduction of the Integrated Pest Management Programme.

Introduction of modern technologies: Green Revolution encouraged the use of new and modern techniques of production such as the use of tractors, harvesters, etc. in place of the old traditional techniques. Such techniques helped in enhancing the efficiency in production and agricultural productivity.

Adoption of farm management practices: The program laid emphasis on the adoption of scientific methods of farm management such as the techniques of selection of crops, crop rotation, use of fertilizers, etc. In this regard, various programs such as Agricultural Area Programme, Integrated Rural Development Programme have been introduced by the government.

State participation: Various initiatives were taken by the government to make the program successful. For example, National Bank for Rural Development (NABARD) was set up by the government in the year 1982 to function as an Apex bank in the field of agriculture. Similarly, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was set up in 1965 with the purpose of procurement of food grains. Similarly, to ensure the supply of seeds National Seeds Corporation was set up.

Impact of Green Revolution in India

Positive Impacts of Green Revolution in India

The adoption of the Green Revolution proved beneficial for Indian agriculture. The following are some of the points that highlight the positive impact of the Green Revolution on India’s agriculture sector.

A rise in production and productivity: With the Green revolution, the production of food crops, particularly wheat and rice has increased considerably. The production of wheat has increased by nearly 7 times from 1965 to 2008. Similarly, during this period the production of rice has increased nearly 3 times. With the substantial increase in the output the marketable surplus with the farmers has increased.

Consequently, India has been able to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains and the prices of food grains have decreased. Besides the increase in production, the productivity has also increased. The yield per hectare of land has increased. The yield per hectare for wheat has increased by nearly 3 times from the period 1960 to 2006. Similarly, for rice, the production per hectare has nearly doubled in the period.

Increase in the production of commercial crops: With the increase in the production and productivity, the marketable surplus in agriculture has increased. This implies a rise in the disposable income of the farmers. This increased income has enabled the farmers to go beyond the conventional production of food grains to production of the commercial crops. In other words, the farmers have now shifted to the production of high-earning commercial crops along with the traditional food crops. This thereby, has contributed to the higher revenue of the farmers.

Change in the attitude of farmers: With the increase in production and marketable surplus, the income of the farmers has increased considerably. Also as against earlier, agriculture is now increasingly seen as a profitable venture. This, in turn, has induced the farmers to take up agriculture as a source of revenue and profit. Thus, the investment by the farmers in the new and modern technology has increased considerably.

Self-sufficiency in food grains: Green Revolution led to a considerable increase in the production of food grains. With the use of modern technology such as extensive use of fertilizers, pesticides, and HYV seeds, there was a significant increase in the agricultural productivity and product per farmland. In addition, the spread of marketing system, abolition of intermediaries, and easy availability of credit has enabled farmers with a greater portion of the marketable surplus. All these factors enabled the government to procure sufficient food grains to build the buffer stock and to provide a cushion against the shocks of famines and shortages.

Negative Impact of Green Revolution

Although with the advent of the Green Revolution, both production and productivity have increased considerably, this program also had certain negative aspects.

Rise in inequality: The program was based on the use of certain key inputs such as the HYV seeds, chemical fertilizers, irrigation facilities, etc. The big farmers could easily afford such inputs and thereby, could reap the benefits of the program. As against this, the small and marginal farmers who could not afford such inputs suffered. Consequently, the gap between the big and the small farmers increased.

Vulnerability to Pests: The HYV crops were found to be more prone to pests. Thus, the vulnerability of the poor farmers dependent on this technology in terms of finance increased.

To overcome such negative impacts, adequate steps were taken by the government in this direction. The government ensured that the small and marginal farmers could also get the required inputs through the way of subsidies and low-interest rate loans. Similarly, to avoid the risk of crop failure due to pest attack, various research institutes were established by the government.

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