In this essay we will discuss about Green Revolution in India. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Subject Matter of Green Revolution 2. Important Features of Green Revolution 3. Arguments in Favour 4. Impact 5. Achievements 6. Weaknesses.
Contents Green Revolution in India:
- Essay on the Subject Matter of Green Revolution
- Essay on the Important Features of Green Revolution
- Essay on the Arguments in Favour of Green Revolution in India
- Essay on the Impact of Green Revolution
- Essay on the Achievements of Green Revolution
- Essay on the Weaknesses of Green Revolution
Essay # 1. Subject Matter of Green Revolution:
The new agricultural strategy was adopted in India during the Third Plan, i.e., during 1960s. As suggested by the team of experts of the Ford Foundation in its report “India’s Crisis of Food and Steps to Meet it” in 1959 the Government decided to shift the strategy followed in agricultural sector of the country.
Thus, the traditional agricultural practices followed in India are gradually being replaced by modern technology and agricultural practices.
This report of Ford Foundation suggested to introduce intensive effort for raising agricultural production and productivity in selected regions of the country through the introduction of modern inputs like fertilisers, credit, marketing facilities etc.
Accordingly, in 1960, from seven states seven districts were selected and the Government introduced a pilot project known as Intensive Area Development Programme (IADP) into those seven districts.
Later on, this programme was extended to remaining states and one district from each state was selected for intensive development. Accordingly, in 1965, 144 districts (out of 325) were selected for intensive cultivation and the programme was renamed as Intensive Agricultural Areas Programme (IAAP).
During the period of mid-1960s, Prof. Norman Borlaug of Mexico developed new high yielding varieties of wheat and accordingly various countries started to apply this new variety with much promise. Similarly, in the kharif season in 1966, India adopted High Yielding Varieties Programme (HYVP) for the first time.
This programme was adopted as a package programme as the very success of this programme depends upon adequate irrigation facilities, application of fertilizers, high yielding varieties of seeds, pesticides, insecticides etc. In this way a new technology was gradually adopted in Indian agriculture. This new strategy is also popularly known as modern agricultural technology or green revolution.
In the initial stage, HYVP alongwith IAAP was implemented in 1.89 million hectares of area. Gradually the coverage of the programme was enlarged and in 1995-96, total area covered by this HYVP programme was estimated 75.0 million hectares which accounted to early 43 per cent of the total net sown area of the country.
As the new HYV seeds require shorter duration to grow thus it paved way for the introduction of multiple cropping, i.e., to have two or even three crops throughout the year.
Farmers producing wheat in Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi started to demand heavily new Mexican varieties of seeds like Lerma Rojo, Sonara-64, Kalyan and P.V.-18. But in case of production of rice, although new HYV varieties of seeds like T.N.-l, ADT-17, Tinen-3 and IR-8 were applied but the result was not very much encouraging. Some degree of success was only achieved in respect of IR-8.
Essay # 2. Important Features of Green Revolution:
Following are some of important features of Green Revolution:
The Green revolution is considered as revolutionary in character as it is based as new technology, new ideas, new application of inputs like HYV seeds, fertilizers, irrigation water, pesticides etc. As all these were brought suddenly and spread quickly to attain dramatic results thus it is termed as revolution in green agriculture.
(ii) HYV Seeds:
The most important strategy followed in green revolution is the application of high yielding variety (HYV) seeds. Most of these HYV seeds are of dwarf variety (shorter stature) and matures in a shorter period of time and can be useful where sufficient and assured water supply is available. Thus seeds also require four to ten times more of fertilizers than that of traditional variety.
(iii) Confined to Wheat Revolution:
Green revolution has been largely confined to Wheat crop neglecting the other crops. Green revolution was first introduced to wheat cultivation in those areas where sample quantity of water was available throughout the year through irrigation.
Presently 90 per cent of land engaged in wheat cultivation is benefitted from this new agricultural strategy. Most of the HYV seeds are related to wheat crop and major portion of chemical fertilizer are also used in wheat cultivation. Therefore, green revolution can be largely considered as wheat revolution.
(iv) Narrow Spread:
The area covered through green revolution was initially very narrow as it was very much confined to Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh only. It is only in recent years that coverage of green revolution is gradually being extended to other states like West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and other southern states.
Essay # 3. Arguments in Favour of Green Revolution in India:
Introduction of new agricultural strategy in India has certain arguments in its favour.
These are as follows:
Firstly, India being a vast agricultural country the adoption of intensive approach is the only way to make a breakthrough in the agricultural sector within the shortest possible time.
Secondly, considering the food crisis faced by the country during 1960s it was quite necessary to adopt this new strategy for meeting the growing requirement of food in our country.
Thirdly, as the introduction of HYVP programme has been able to raise the agricultural productivity significantly, thus this new agricultural strategy is economically justified.
Fourthly, as the agricultural inputs required for the adoption of new strategy is scarce thus it would be quite beneficial to adopt this strategy in a selective way only on some promising areas so as to reap maximum benefit from intensive cultivation.
Fifthly, adoption of new strategy has its spread effect. Reaping a good yield through HYVP would induce the other farmers to adopt this new technique. Thus due to its spread effect the overall productivity of Indian agriculture would rise.
Lastly, increased agricultural productivity through the adoption of new strategy will have its secondary and tertiary effects. As the increased production of food through HYVP would reduce food imports and thus release scarce foreign exchange for other purposes. Moreover, increased production of commercial crops would also lead to expansion of agro-based industries in the country, especially in the rural areas.
Essay # 4. Impact of Green Revolution:
Introduction of new agricultural strategy or green revolution has created huge impact on the economy of the country.
These are discussed below:
(i) Increase in Agricultural Production:
Due to the adoption of new agricultural strategy the volume of agricultural production and productivity has recorded manifold increase. The production of wheat, rice, maize and potatoes has increased substantially. Total production of foodgrains in India increased from 81.0 million tonnes (annual average) during the Third Plan to 264.8 million tonnes in 2013-2014.
This has become possible due to the introduction of Special Foodgrains Production Programme (SFPP) and the Special Rice Production Programme (SRPP).
(ii) Increasing Employment Opportunities:
The introduction of new agricultural strategy has led to considerable expansion of agricultural employment. Due to the introduction of multiple cropping, job opportunities in the rural areas has also expanded as the demand for hired workers required for farm activities increased simultaneously.
(iii) Strengthening the Forward and Backward Linkages:
Although traditional linkages between agriculture and industry were existing since a long back, but green revolution has strengthened the linkages. Strong forward linkage of agriculture with industry was noticed even in the traditional agriculture as agriculture supplied various inputs to industries.
But the backward linkage of agriculture to industry, i.e., in the form of agriculture using finished products of industry, was very weak. But introduction of modern technology to agriculture has raised a huge demand for agricultural inputs now produced and supplied by industries.
Thus, modernisation of agriculture and development of agro-based industries has strengthened both forward and the backward linkages between agriculture and the industry.
(iv) Increase in Regional Disparities:
Introduction of new technology in agriculture has widened the regional disparities as only some regions well endowed with resources and irrigation potential have benefitted most from the introduction of modern technology.
The coverage of green revolution has been raised from a mere 1.89 million hectares in 1966-67 to only 71.3 million hectares in 1994-95 which accounts to nearly 42 per cent of gross cropped area of the country.
Moreover, as the green revolution was very much restricted to production of wheat thus the benefits were very much restricted to 20.4 million hectares of area engaged in wheat production (only 12 per cent of gross cropped area). Moreover, only those areas having irrigation facilities and package of other inputs could achieve success in HYVP of wheat.
Thus, accordingly the regions of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh derived the benefits of new agricultural strategy. But the agriculture of the remaining more than 80 per cent of the cropped area of the country is still depending on vagaries of the monsoons in the absence of irrigation facilities.
Accordingly the combined share of Northern States (Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh) in respect of total production of foodgrains has increased from 29.5 per cent during 1970-71 to 1972-73 to 37.1 per cent during the period 1986-87 to 1988-89. Again the Western States of Gujarat and Maharashtra registered only a marginal increase from 7.9 per cent to 8.6 per cent during the same period.
But the combined share of Eastern States and Southern States has declined from 22.3 per cent to 19.8 per cent and 20.3 per cent to 17.2 per cent respectively. This shows how the introduction of new agricultural strategy into some restricted areas has widened the regional disparity in respect of agricultural production and productivity of the country.
(v) Inter-Personal Inequalities:
Green revolution has created some impact on inter-personal inequalities. But economists; are divided on this issue. Some micro level studies reveal that inter-personal inequalities have enlarged but some other studies show that the degree of inter-personal inequalities have either narrowed down or remained neutral.
The studies conducted by Francine R. Frankel, G.R. Saini and Pranab Bardhan revealed that the large farmers are benefitted most from the green revolution but other studies made by J.R. Westley, Usha Nagpal and George Blyn showed that the inequalities have narrowed down as small farmers are also benefitted considerably from green revolution.
(vi) No response from Small and Marginal Farmers:
Small and marginal farmers in India could not be able to adopt new strategy due to their poor financial condition and poor creditworthiness. Majority of rural household having small size of land or no land has derived negligible benefit from this new technology.
(vii) Market Oriented:
Introduction of new technology in agriculture has transformed the farmers market oriented. Indian farmers are mostly depending on market for getting their inputs as well as for selling their output. Moreover, farmers are also depending much on institutional credit available in the market to meet cost of adoption of new technology.
(viii) Change in Attitudes:
Green revolution has contributed favourably to change the attitudes of farmers in India. Agricultural operation has enhanced its status from subsistence activity to commercial farming due to the adoption of new strategy.
Wolf Ladejinsky observed that, “Where the ingredients for new technology are available, no farmer denies their effectiveness. The desire for better farming methods and a better standard of living is growing not only among relatively small number of the affluent using the new technology, but also among countless farmers still from the outside looking in”.
The evidence of qualitative changes in attitudes can be observed from the short and long term investment decision of the farmers, i.e., increasing application of current inputs like HYV seeds, fertilizer, pesticides etc. and their investment in tube-wells, pump sets for irrigation.
Thus, during the period from 1966-67 to 1989-90, the area under HYVP has increased from 1.89 million hectares to 63.9 million hectares, consumption of fertilizer also increased from 2.9 lakh tonnes to 126 lakh tonnes, the number of irrigation pump sets with electrically operated tubewells increased from 13 per lakh hectares of gross cropped area to 3995 in 1988. Thus, Khusro has rightly mentioned, “no one could see such remarkable figures of annual percentage increase in inputs, and yet to surmise that a structural change had not occurred.”
(ix) Unwanted Social Consequences:
Green revolution has also raised certain unwanted social consequences. Various socio-economic studies have confirmed these consequences. Green revolution paves the way for transforming a large number of tenants and share-croppers into agricultural labourers due to large-scale eviction of tenants by large farmers as they find large-scale farming is highly profitable.
Thus G. Parthasarathy in his presidential address delivered at 46th Annual Conference of Indian Society of Agricultural Economics 1986, observed that “The polarisation process that accentuates the rural class difference has been further intensified by the green revolution.”
Moreover, increased mechanisation of farm has resulted huge number of accidents which maimed more than 10,000 farm labourers in India till 1985. Again the increasing application of poisonous pesticides, without realising its health hazards has added a serious health problem.
The International Development Research Centre, Ottawa has reported about 7.5 lakh cases of acute poisoning with different types of pesticides. But surprisingly no provision for workmen compensation has yet been made in India.
In the end, it can be observed that inspite of increase in the production of foodgrains, the country is facing a difficult situation. While the population of the country has crossed 1.2 billion mark by 2011, the demand for foodgrains will also rise to 270 million tonnes.
As the production has reached 264.8 million tonnes in 2013-14 thus the country will have to raise the production of foodgrains by 6 million tonnes within next two years.
This is no doubt an uphill task. At this moment what is required is the development of a low- cost technology for agriculture which can be easily adopted by small farmers due to its cost efficiency. Thus to meet the requirement of foodgrains, the coverage of green revolution should be extended by any means.
Essay # 5. Achievements of Green Revolution:
Let us now turn our analysis towards the achievement of new agricultural strategy adopted in India. The most important achievement of new strategy is the substantial increase in the production of major cereals like rice and wheat. Table 7.9 shows increase in the production of food crops since 1960-61.
Table 7.9 reveals that the production of rice has increased from 35 million tonnes in 1960-61 to 54 million tonnes in 1980-81 and then to 106.5 million tonnes in 2013-14, showing a major breakthrough in its production. The yield per hectare has also improved from 1013 kgs in 1960 to 1,101 kg in 2013-2014.
Again the production of wheat has also increased significantly from 11 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 36 million tonnes in 1980-81 and then to 95.9 million tonnes in 2013-2014. During this period, the yield per hectare also increased from 850 kgs to 3,075 kgs per hectare which shows that the yield rate has increased by 369 per cent during last six decades. All these improvements resulted from the adoption of new agricultural strategy in the production of wheat and rice.
Total production of foodgrains in India has been facing wide fluctuations due to vagaries of monsoons. Inspite of these fluctuations, total production of foodgrains rose from 82 million tonnes in 1960-61 to 130 million tonnes in 1980-81 and then to 213.5 million tonnes in 2003-04 and then increased to 264.8 million tonnes in 2013-14.
The new agricultural strategy was very much restricted to the production of foodgrains, mostly wheat and rice. Thus, the commercial crops like sugarcane, cotton, jute, oilseeds could not achieve a significant increase in its production. This can be seen from Table 7.10.
Table 7.10 reveals that the production of sugarcane and other cash crops recorded some increase during last five decades but this increase cannot be termed a significant one. Thus, the green revolution was very much confined to mainly wheat production and its achievements in respect of other food crops and cash crops were not at all significant.
Essay # 6. Weaknesses of Green Revolution:
Following are some of basic weaknesses of new agricultural strategy:
(a) Adoption of new agricultural strategy through IADP and HYVP led to the growth of capitalist farming in Indian agriculture as the adoption of these programmes were very much restricted among the big farmers, necessitating a heavy amount of investment.
(b) The new agricultural strategy failed to recognise the need for institutional reforms in Indian agriculture.
(c) Green revolution widened the disparity in income among the rural population.
(d) New agricultural strategy alongwith increased mechanisation of agriculture created a problem of labour displacement.
(e) Green revolution widened the inter-regional disparities in farm production and income.
(f) Green revolution has led to some undesirable social consequences arising from incapacitation due to accidents and acute poisoning from the use of pesticides.
The Green Revolution implies:
- Well-marked improvement in agricultural production in a short period and
- The sustenance of a higher level of agricultural production over a fairly long period of time.
The miracle seeds and dwarf and early-maturing varieties have brought about a sudden transformation in Indian agriculture. A vital change with revolutionary significance was the extensive adoption of multiple cropping patterns.
The machine has entered Indian farming in a big way and tractors, harvesters, pumping sets, croppers, etc. have come to be recognized as implements for daily use. Similarly manures and fertilizers have been extensively used. Institutional finance for agricultural development has made credit easily available to farmers.
It was within a span of a decade and a half that world agriculture was totally transformed particularly in regard to the cultivation of wheat and paddy. The increase in yield as compared to the erstwhile varieties has been two to three times higher.
It is a fact that Green Revolution has occurred in India since 1967. Dantwala however said that, the, Green Revolution in India has been technological in character rather than institutional.
The effects of Green Revolution can be discussed under two heads:
- Economic impact of Green Revolution
- Sociological impact of Green Revolution.
Economic Effects of Green Revolution
The important economic effects of the Green Revolution are :
1. Increase in Agricultural Production: The first major direct effect of the green revolution has been the sharp increase in agricultural production. As a result of new agricultural strategy, food grains output increased substantially.
So far as food grains are concerned, wheat seems to have made rapid strides with its production increasing from 11.1 million tons in the Third Plan (annual average) 63 million tons in 1995-96.
In the second phase, the revolution has spread to other crops. Most of the important crops registered a sizable increase during the seventies.
2. Increase in Productivity: The productivity of agriculture, as measured in terms of yield per hectare, has increased.
3. Impact on Employment: Capital-intensive techniques of the new agricultural strategy are supposed to be also at the same time labor-intensive. This new technology is characterized by frequent application of water, fertilizers, insecticides, double cropping, larger volumes of transportation, Marketing and food-processing. This will lead to increased employment and increased income among the agricultural laborers and small farmers.
4. Dependence on the Industrial Sector: An important aspect of the new agricultural strategy is the stress it lays, on making agriculture dependent on industries for its inputs. The traditional Indian agriculture was self-sufficient in the matter of its input requirements. But the new strategy attaches great importance of industrial products as agricultural inputs. As domestic investments always involve a great deal of foreign participation, the new strategy involves encouraging a direct role of the multinationals in agricultural development.
(5) Impact on Agrarian Structure: One aspect of the new strategy would make the agrarian structure dualistic. It would consist of a prosperous, production-oriented, profit oriented and technology-oriented, thin crust of big farms and a great mass of small farmers that would lag behind in matters of production, profit and technology. The thin crust of big farms would swallow up the greater part of the resources that would be allocated by the state for the agricultural sector.
(6) Impact on Landless Labor: In the green revolution areas, there has been a marked increase in demand for wage-labor particularly at the peak period. As a result of increased demand for labor, the position of labor in the market will improve and they will fight against economic and social oppression.
Sociological Impact of Green Revolution
The green revolution has pushed up the level of income in the rural sector of the economy. The increase in production has generated larger incomes in the rural sector and has also widened regional disparities.
1. Inter-Personal Inequalities: The green revolution has promoted inequalities and has widened the already existing gulf between the rich and the poor in the rural sector. A large part of the benefits of the green revolution has gone to a privileged section of rich farmers who are in a position to afford the new strategy which is a package programme. The new strategy needs substantial investments which are generally beyond the means of a majority of the small and marginal farmers.
2. Regional Inequalities: The new agricultural strategy has restricted to only a few regions. As a result, the benefits of the new strategy have remained concentrated in this area only. Two-thirds of the total cultivable land areas have been kept outside the influence of the revolution.
3. Change in Attitudes: One encouraging feature of the green revolution is the change in the attitudes of farmers in areas where new agricultural strategy has being practiced. Increase in productivity has raised the status of agriculture from a low-level subsistence activity to a money-making activity. The Indian farmers have accepted technical change in the pursuit of profit thus belaying the criticism against them that they are backward, traditional, conservative and unresponsive to price and productivity incentives.
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