Green revolution and its impact on India – Harit Kranti
The act of increasing agricultural production by inculcating modern ideas, tools, and methods is referred to as the “Green Revolution”. During the period of the Green Revolution, the country’s agriculture was transformed into an industrial system by adopting modern techniques and methods such as the use of pesticides, fertilizers, irrigation facilities, and high-yielding variety seeds. Ford Foundation sponsored a team of experts invited by the Indian Government in the latter half of the 2nd Five Year Plan to suggest ways and ideas for increasing agricultural production and productivity. Based on the advice of this team, the government launched an ambitious development programme in seven districts drawn from seven States in 1960, dubbed the Intensive Area Development Programme (IADP).
From the agricultural point of view, the period of mid-1960s was very significant. Prof. Norman Borlaug and his colleagues created new high-yield wheat varieties in Mexico, which have since been accepted by a number of countries. Since new seed varieties hold the promise of rising agricultural production and productivity, countries of South and South-East Asia began to embrace them on a large scale.
Green Revolution Aspects
- Use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides
- Mechanization of agriculture
- High Yielding Varieties
Impacts of Green Revolution (Harit Kranti)
Causes of agricultural growth deceleration: The following are the primary causes of agricultural growth deceleration in the post-reform period:
- Unbalanced use of inputs
- Decline in plan outlay
- Weaknesses in credit delivery system
- Significant deceleration in the public and overall investment in agriculture
- Shrinking farm size
- Failure to evolve new technologies
- Inadequate irrigation cover
- Inadequate use of technology
Production and Productivity increase: High Yielding Varieties Progarm (HYVP) was restricted to only five crops – Wheat, Rice, Jowar, Bajra, and Maize. As a result, non-food grains were omitted from the current strategy’s scope. Wheat has been the Green Revolution’s mainstay over the years. Tens of millions of extra tons of grains are harvested per year as a result of new crops.
In 1978-79, the Green Revolution resulted in a total grain output of 131 million tons. This cemented India’s place as one of the world’s largest agricultural producers. Around 1947-1979, yield per unit of farmland increased by more than 30%. During the Green Revolution, crop areas under high-yielding varieties increased significantly.
The Green Revolution has provided plenty of employment opportunities, not only for farmworkers but also factory workers, by building factories and hydroelectric power plants.
Decline in Growth Rates during Reform Period: After a promising success during the 1980s, the agricultural growth slowed during the economic reform period (commencing in 1991). As can be shown, the rate of growth in food grains production fell from 2.9% annual in 1980s to 2.0% annual in 1990s and stood at 2.1%annual in first decade of the current century. As a result, the era since 1991, appears as a kind of milestone at a time when growth in Indian agriculture, which had resurrected since the mid-1960s, has been stalled.
Regional Inequalities and Dispersal of Green Revolution
In 1966-67, HYVP was launched on a modest scale of 1.89 million hectares, and even in 1998-99, it occupied just 78.4 million hectares, or roughly 40% of the total cropped area. Naturally, the profits of modern technologies remained limited to this region. Furthermore, since the Green Revolution was limited to wheat for a number of years, its gains mostly benefited wheat-growing regions.
- Change in Attitudes: A healthy contribution of green revolution is the change in the attitudes of farmers in areas where the new agricultural strategy was practised. Increased production in these areas has elevated agriculture from a low level subsistence activity to a money-generating activity. The Indian farmer has shown his ability to consider technical progress in the pursuit of benefit, thus disproving the age-old accusation that he is backward, conservative and unresponsive to the price and productivity incentives.
- Interpersonal Inequalities: There seems to be a general consensus that in the early period of the green revolution, large farmers benefited much more from new technology as compared with the small and marginal farmers. This was unsurprising given that the modern technologies necessitated large investments that were largely outside reach of country’s small and marginal farmers. Larger farmers have managed to attain greater absolute gains in income due to lower prices per acre and by reinvesting profits in non-farm and farm properties, including the acquisition of land from smaller cultivators who were unable to adapt to the new technologies.
- The Question of Labor Absorption: Although there is difference of opinion amongst economists regarding the effects of new agricultural strategy on interpersonal inequalities and real wages of agricultural laborers, there is a widespread agreement that the introduction of modern technologies has limited agricultural labor absorption.
Features of Green Revolution
- Introduction of High Yielding Variety seeds, which were highly effective in the states having better infrastructure and rich irrigation facilities such as Punjab and Tamil Nadu.
- These High Yielding Variety seeds were provided to the other states during 2nd phase, and wheat was also included later on.
- Green revolution increased the use of fertilizers to enhance the farm production and productivity.
- The use of pesticides and weedicides were also increased to minimize any loss or damage to the crops.
- The introduction of machinery such as tractors, drills, and harvesters enhanced the commercial farming in India.
- However, Green Revolution promoted the food grains like wheat and rice, cash crops and commercial crops were not the part of plan.
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