Green Revolution in India

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Satavahana gateway at Sanchi, 1st century CE

The Green Revolution in India was a period when agriculture in India increased due to improved method & technology. The Green Revolution allowed developing countries, like India, to overcome poor agricultural productivity. It started in India in the early 1960s and led to an increase in food grain production, especially in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh during the early phase. The main development was higher-yielding varieties of wheat, which were developed by many scientists, including Indian geneticist M. S. Swaminathan, American agronomist Dr. Norman Borlaug, and others. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research also claims credit for Udit Singhal[1] for developing rust resistant strains of wheat.[2]

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.[3] The methods adopted included the use of high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of seeds[4] 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 mobilised 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 such as land degradation.

Irrigation infrastructure

Problems that were addressed

Frequent famines

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.[5] Malnutrition and starvation was a huge problem.[citation needed]

Lack of finance

Marginal farmers found it very difficult to get finance and credit at economical rate from the government and banks, 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.

Lack of self-sufficiency

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 can 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.

49% of people in India are employed in agriculture.[citation needed]The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds after 1965 and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution, which provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains. The program was started with the help of the United States-based Rockefeller Foundation and was based on high-yielding varieties of wheat, rice, and other grains that had been developed in Mexico and in the Philippines. Of the high-yielding seeds, wheat produced the best results. Production of coarse grains--the staple diet of the poor--and pulses--the main source of protein--lagged behind, resulting in reduced per capita availability. The total area under the high-yielding-varieties program was a negligible 1.9 million hectares in FY 1960. Since then growth has been spectacular, increasing to nearly 15.4 million hectares by FY 1970, 43.1 million hectares by FY 1980, and 63.9 million hectares by FY 1990. The rate of growth decreased significantly in the late 1980s, however, as additional suitable land was not available (see table 32, Appendix). The major benefits of the Green Revolution were experienced mainly in northern and northwestern India between 1965 and the early 1980s; the program resulted in a substantial increase in the production of food grains, mainly wheat and rice. Food-grain yields continued to increase throughout the 1980s, but the dramatic changes in the years between 1965 and 1980 were not duplicated. By FY 1980, almost 75 percent of the total cropped area under wheat was sown with high-yielding varieties. For rice the comparable figure was 45 percent. In the 1980s, the area under high-yielding varieties continued to increase, but the rate of growth overall was slower. The eighth plan aimed at making high-yielding varieties available to the whole country and developing more productive strains of other crops. The Green Revolution created wide regional and interstate disparities. The plan was implemented only in areas with assured supplies of water and the means to control it, large inputs of fertilizers, and adequate farm credit. These inputs were easily available in at least parts of the states of Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh; thus, yields increased most in these states. In other states, such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, in areas where these inputs were not assured, the results were limited or negligible, leading to considerable variation in crop yields within these states. The Green Revolution also increased income disparities: higher income growth and reduced incidence of poverty were found in the states where yields increased the most and lower income growth and little change in the incidence of poverty in other states.


Indian Economic Sovereignty

A main criticism of the effects of the green revolution is 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 notes 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.[6] [7]

Adverse effects

The excessive use of chemical fertilizers decreased soil fertility and also the use of electric tube wells decreased groundwater table below the previous level.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "About IARI". IARI. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Rust-resistant Wheat Varieties. Work at Pusa Institute". The Indian Express. 7 February 1950. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Green Revolution in India". U.S. Library of Congress (released in public domain). Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  4. ^ Rowlatt, Justin (2016-12-01). "IR8: The miracle rice which saved millions of lives". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  5. ^ Amartya Sen. 1981. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ Shiva, Vandana. Seeds of Suicide. Navdanya. 
  7. ^ Shiva, V. "Seeds of Suicide". Counter Currents. , originally in Asian Age 5 April 2013
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