Green Revolution in India

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The state of Punjab led India's Green Revolution and earned the distinction of being the country's bread basket.[1]

The Green Revolution in India refers to a period of time when agriculture in India changed to an industrial system due to the adoption of modern methods and technology such as high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, tractors, irrigation facilities, pesticides, fertilizers etc. Green revolution was started by Norman Borlaug. The key leadership role played by the Indian agricultural scientist M.S.Swaminathan together with many others including GS Kalkat, M.S.Swaminathan earned him the popularly used title 'Father of Green Revolution of India'. The Green Revolution allowed developing countries, like India, to try to overcome poor agricultural productivity. Within India, this started in the early 1960s and led to an increase in food grain production, especially in Punjab, Haryana plusUttar Pradesh(especially Western UP) during the early phase. The main development was higher-yielding varieties of wheat,[2] for developing rust resistant strains of wheat.[3]

Practices[edit]

Wheat[edit]

The main development was higher-yielding varieties of wheat,[2] for developing rust resistant strains of wheat.[3] The introduction of high-yielding varieties(HYV) of seeds and the increased quality of fertilizers and irrigation technique led to the increase in production to make the country self-sufficient in food grains, thus improving agriculture in India.[4] The methods adopted included the use of high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of seeds[5] with modern farming methods.

The production of wheat has produced the best results in fueling self-sufficiency of India. Along with high-yielding seeds and irrigation facilities, the enthusiasm of farmers mobilized the idea of agricultural revolution. Due to the rise in use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, there was a negative effect on the soil and the land (e.g., land degradation).

Other practices[edit]

Problems that were addressed[edit]

Frequent famines[edit]

Famines in India were very frequent during the period 1940s to 1970s. Due to faulty distribution of food, and because farmers did not receive the true value for their labour, the majority of the population did not get enough food.[6] Malnutrition and starvation was a huge problem.[citation needed]

Lack of finance[edit]

Marginal farmers found it very difficult to get finance and credit at economical rates from the government and banks and hence, fell as easy prey to the money lenders. They took loans from zamindars, who charged high rates of interests and also exploited the farmers later on to work in their fields to repay the loans (farm labourers).[citation needed] Proper financing was not given during the Green Revolution period, which created a lot of problems and sufferings to the farmers of India. Government also helped those under loans.

Lack of self-sufficiency[edit]

Due to traditional agricultural practices, low productivity, and a growing population, often food grains were imported — draining scarce foreign reserves. It was thought that with the increased production due to the Green Revolution, the government could maintain buffer stock and India could achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliability.[citation needed]

Agriculture was basically for subsistence and, therefore, less 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. The new methods in agriculture increased the yield of rice and wheat, which reduced India's dependence on food imports.

Criticisms[edit]

Indian Economic Sovereignty[edit]

Criticism of the effects of the green revolution include the cost for many small farmers using HYV seeds, with their associated demands of increased irrigation systems and pesticides. A case study is found in India, where farmers are buying Monsanto BT cotton seeds—sold on the idea that these seeds produced 'natural insecticides'. In reality, they need to still pay for expensive pesticides and irrigation systems, which might lead to increased borrowing to finance the change from traditional seed varieties. Many farmers have difficulty in paying for the expensive technologies, especially if they have a bad harvest.

Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva writes that this is the "second Green Revolution". The first Green Revolution, she suggests, was mostly publicly funded (by the Indian Government). This new Green Revolution, she says, is driven by private (and foreign) interest – notably MNCs like Monsanto. Ultimately, this is leading to foreign ownership over most of India's farmland.[7] [8]

Environmental Damage[edit]

Excessive and inappropriate use of fertilizers and pesticides has polluted waterway, killed beneficial insects and wild life. It has caused over-use of soil and rapidly depleted its nutrients. The rampant irrigation practices have led to eventually soil degradation. Groundwater practices have fallen dramatically. Further, heavy dependence on few major crops has led to loss of biodiversity of farmers. These problems were aggravated due to absence of training to use modern technology and vast illiteracy leading to excessive use of chemicals.[1]

Increased Regional disparities[edit]

Green revolution spread only in irrigated and high-potential rain fed areas. The villages or regions without the access of sufficient water were left out that widened the regional disparities between adopters and non-adopters. Since, the HYV seeds technically can be applied only in land with assured water supply and availability of other inputs like chemicals, fertilizers etc. The application of the new technology in the dry-land areas is simply ruled out.

The states like Punjab, Haryana, Western UP etc. having good irrigation and other infrastructure facilities were able to derive the benefits of green revolution and achieve faster economic development while other states have recorded slow growth in agriculture production.

Restrictive Crop Coverage[edit]

The new agriculture strategy involving use of HYV seeds was initially limited to wheat, maize and bajra. The other major crop i.e. rice responded much later. The progress of developing and application of HYV seeds in other crops especially commercial crops like oilseeds, jute etc. has been very slow. In fact, in certain period a decline in the output of commercial crops is witnessed because of diversion of area under commercial crop to food crop production. The basic factor for non-spread of green revolution to many crops was that in the early 1960s the severe shortage in food grains existed and imports were resorted to overcome the shortage. Government initiated green revolution to increase food grain productivity and non-food grain crops were not covered. The substantial rise in one or two food grain crop cannot make big difference in the total agricultural production. Thus new technology contributed insignificantly in raising the overall agricultural production due to limited crop coverage. So it is important that the revolutionary efforts should be made in all major crops.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Government of Punjab (2004). Human Development Report 2004, Punjab (PDF) (Report). Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.  Section: "The Green Revolution", pp. 17–20.
  2. ^ a b "About IARI". IARI. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Rust-resistant Wheat Varieties. Work at Pusa Institute". The Indian Express. 7 February 1950. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Green Revolution in India". U.S. Library of Congress (released in public domain). Library of Congress is Country Studies. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  5. ^ Rowlatt, Justin (2016-12-01). "IR8: The miracle rice which saved millions of lives". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  6. ^ Amartya Sen. 1981. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford University Press.
  7. ^ Shiva, Vandana. Seeds of Suicide. Navdanya. 
  8. ^ Shiva, V. "Seeds of Suicide". Counter Currents. , originally in Asian Age 5 April 2013