Green Revolution

The term Green Revolution refers to the rapid increase in production of food grains during the 1970s and 1980s which transformed the character of Indian agriculture. Green Revolution wasn’t named of any government policy but it was the outcome of a series of initiatives undertaken by the government during 1960 & 1950.

S. Swaminathan–Father of Green Revolution in India. At the world level, American-Mexican scientist Norman Borlaug is known as the father of the Green Revolution. M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)’s Founder, Professor M S Swaminathan has been acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of only three from India, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

He has been described by the United Nations Environment Programme as ‘the Father of Economic Ecology’ because of his leadership of the ever-green revolution movement in agriculture. Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations, described him as “a living legend that will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”. He was Chairman of the UN Science Advisory Committee set up in 1980 to take follow-up action on the Vienna Plan of Action.

A central figure in the “green revolution”, Norman Ernest Borlaug (born March 25, 1914) was born on a farm near Cresco, Iowa, to Henry and Clara Borlaug. For the past twenty-seven years, he has collaborated with Mexican scientists on problems of wheat improvement; for the last ten or so of those years, he has also collaborated with scientists from other parts of the world, especially from India and Pakistan, in adapting the new wheat to new lands and in gaining acceptance for their production.

MS Swaminathan: Father of Indian Green Revolution
MS Swaminathan: Father of Indian Green Revolution

The need for the Green Revolution

Green Revolution was a necessity than a choice for India; the early years of Independent India were marred by a severe shortage of good famine-like situation was prevailing in many parts of India. The very purpose of Independence from British Rule was getting lost because of food scarcity.

India was dependent on foreign food assistance to feed citizens. Program likes American food for peace and public law 480 (Public Law-480) were being used to meet the food needs of citizens. Dependence on foreign food assistance was adversely affecting the respect & credibility of India as a nation. It was becoming too difficult to follow an Independent food policy because programs like food for peace were being used to keep nations on the American side at times when the cold war was going on.

Food scarcity was affecting the strength and effectiveness of Indian forces. During the Indo-China war, Indian soldiers didn’t have sufficient food. To counter all these challenges, the Government of India initiated several policies & measures. Green Revolution witnessed during 1970-80 was the outcome of the same.

Factors involved in the Green Revolution

The land reforms initiated by the government after India helped in creating a favorable environment for the success of the Green Revolution. The consolidation of land holdings enabled profitable cultivation. It also helped in the development of agrarian infrastructure such as irrigation facilities.

The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds played important role in the success of the Green Revolution. These seeds were used for 1st time in India in 1968. The use of chemical fertilizers & pesticides also helped in increasing food grain production because not only the fertility of soil increased but at the same time, the crops were also protected from paste & other challenges.

Intensive irrigation & drip irrigation were also adopted to increase the production of food grain. Mechanized cultivation was also promoted for increasing production the use of machinery made agricultural for more efficient deeper plowing helped in practicing wet paddy cultivation.

The use of machinery helped in the extension of cultivation the land lying caused could be brought under plow. Along with these steps related to increasing production, the Government of India established the food grain market so that farmers could sell their crops without much difficulty. Steps were also taken to ensure the availability of credit facilities with farmers so they could purchase new implement & high yielding a variety of seeds.

Positive Outcomes of Green Revolution

Green Revolution was highly beneficial for Indians because it resulted in a remarkable increase in food grain production. In 1968, the production of rice was 40million tons, it increased to 60 million tons by 1980 and to the 80million ton by 1993-94. Production of wheat was 20million tons in 1968. It increased to 50million tons by 1980 & 60million tons by 1993-94.

Representational Image
Representational Image

Green Revolution transferred India into a self-sufficient nation on the food front. Not only domestic food needs mate successfully but also India was in a position to export food grain. This enabled India to save precious foreign exchange by meeting domestic food needs on its own but at the same time, India could earn foreign exchange by exporting food grain.

Self-sufficiency on the food front liberated India from clutches like food for Peace & Public Law-480. This greatly enhanced respect for India in the community of nations. In the areas in which the Green Revolution was successful, the quality of life of peasants improved significantly. These farmers had sufficient resources at their disposal and now they could easily buy material things.

Green Revolution helped in the development of agrarian infrastructure because agricultural marketing & irrigation etc. developed quite rapidly during the 1970-80s. The Green Revolution also helped in increasing the demand for secondary eco-activities (industries) because of the availability of surplus with the peasant. It also helped in extension in cultivation because an increase in production had made cultivation profitable.

Negative Outcomes of Green Revolution

Green Revolution resulted in an intensification of regional imbalance because it was successful in the area of Punjab, Haryana & Western Uttar Pradesh but the eastern part of India couldn’t gain much from Green Revolution.

Big farmers were more benefited from small farmers from the Green Revolution because big farmers could easily practice mechanized cultivation & they could purchase a high yielding variety of seeds. Many small farmers were pushed into a serious debt crisis by the Green Revolution.

As the formal credit facility wasn’t very well developed. These farmers had to take loans from a local moneylender who charged a very high rate of interest when they failed to repay the loan; many of them had to sell their land to come out of the crisis. The success of this Revolution resulted in the problem of conspicuous consumption. The evils like dowry gained popularity. Large expenditure began to make on festival & ceremonies. These habits created many other challenges for villagers.

Green Revolution strengthened materialistic outcomes among peasantry who were benefited from it. The intensive irrigation practice as a part of the Green Revolution resulted in a lowering in water table level & problems like waterlogging. Salivation of land also took place due to excess water. Large-scale use of chemicals, fertilizers resulted in serious ecological & environmental consequences.

The surface water-bodies as well as underground water tables are polluted. This chemical pollution gradually entered the human food chain & bio-magnification resulted in serious health hazards. Health challenges like cancer being witnessed in Punjab are the outcome of the evil consequences of the Green Revolution.

Since the Green Revolution largely benefited the wheat & rice only, it resulted in a change of diet better. These two grains were consumed by a comparatively well section of people. The cost of food grains being consumed by the poorer sections continued to remain high. The percentage of carbohydrates in the north Indian diet increased enormously but the percentage of protein (Pulse) in the diet got reduced. This also affected the health of people in the green revolution of India.

Causes of Failure Green Revolution in Eastern India

The land reforms were largely failures in Eastern Indian till the 1970s, because of this the consolidation of landholding couldn’t take place most of the peasants were tenant & cult who didn’t have the authority to change the pattern of production. The geo-climatic factor played important role in the failure. The amount of rainfall in Eastern India is much higher than in the Western region. As a result of this, soil comparably different in humous & other minerals.

Problems like water logging & salivation were more common. The high yielding varieties of seed used in the Green Revolution was not suitable for this geomagnetic region. Agrarian infrastructure was largely absent in Eastern India. Artificial irrigation was almost a precondition for the success of the Green Revolution but the tube wells were few in Eastern India. Credit in market facilities was also largely non-existence in Eastern India, as a result of this, farmers could neither purchase the new seeds, not the implements.

Second Green Revolution

It was launched by the Government of India to overcome the limitation of the 1st Green Revolution. 1st Green Revolution didn’t fund much success in Eastern India. As a result of that, the 2nd Green Revolution started in 2011-12. It targeted the state of Eastern India such as East Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and West Bengal & Assam.

2nd Green Revolution relying on the use of genetically modified seeds so that agricultural production could increase without resorting to the use of excessive use of chemical fertilizers & pesticides. It was also focusing on agroforestry. 2nd Green Revolution has been planned to take act state specifically geo-climatic condition so maximum possible production could ensure. It focused on being bringing the degraded land under cultivation by planting trees and by using other interventions.