A short note on Green Revolution in India

A Short Note on Green Revolution in India

Green Revolution

Overview of Green Revolution: Reasons, Time, Method, Results 

Bengal Famine:
The world's worst recorded food disaster, happened in 1943 in British-ruled India, known as the Bengal Famine. It is estimated around four million people died of hunger that year alone in eastern India (that included today's Bangladesh). 

Reasons of Bengal Famine:
The initial theory put forward to explain that catastrophe was that there was an acute shortfall in food production in the area. However, Indian economist, Amartya Sen (recipient of the Noble Prize for Economics, 1998) has established that while food shortage was a contributor to the problem, a more prominent factor was the result of hysteria related to the World War II which made food supply a low priority for the British rulers. The hysteria was further exploited by Indian traders who hoarded food in order to sell at higher prices. 

Steps taken for remedy:
So, after India got freedom, it was natural that food security was a paramount item on free india's agenda. This awarness led, on one hand, to the Green Revolution in India and, on the other, legislative measures to ensure that businessmen would never again be able to hoard food for reasons of profit. 

The Period of Green Revolution:
However, the term 'Green Revolution' is applied to the period from 1967 to 1978. Between 1947 and 1967,efforts at achieving food self-sufficiency were not entirely successful. Efforts until 1967 largely concentrated on expanding the farming areas. But starvation deaths were still being reported in the newspaper. It might be assumed that population was growing at a much faster rate than food production. This prompted the action in the form of 'Green Revolution'. The term 'Green Revolution' is a general one that is applied to successful agricultural experiments in many third world country. But we can say that it was most successful in India. 

The methods used in Green Revolution:
There were three basic methods used in Green Revolution --

1. Continued expansion of farming areas:
From 1947, there was always an initiative to increase the area of land under cultivation. But this was not enough in meeting with rising demand. So, there was always an effort to increase the quantitative expansion of farmlands under Green Revolution. 

2. Introduction of double-cropping:
Double-cropping was the primary feature of the Green Revolution. Instead of one crop season per year, the decision was made to have two crop seasons per year. As there was one natural monsoon, another artificial monsoon came in form of huge irrigation facilities. Dams were built to arrest large volumes of natural monsoon water which were earlier being wasted. So irrigation system was enforced with positivity under Green Revolution. 

3. Using seeds with superior genetics:
This was the scientific aspect of the Green Revolution. The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (which was established by the British in 1929) was reorganized in 1965 and then again in 1973. It developed new strains of high yield value (HYV) seeds, mainly wheat and rice but also millet and corn. The credit for developing this strain goes to Dr. M. P. Singh who is also regarded as the hero of India's Green Revolution. 

Results of the Green Revolution:
* The Green Revolution resulted in a record grain output of 131 million tons in 1978-1979. This established India as one of the world's biggest agricultural producers. No other country in the world which attempted the Green Revolution recorded such level of success. India also became an exporter of food grains around that time. 

* Per unit of farmland was improved by more than 30 percent between 1947 and 1979 when the Green Revolution was considered to have delivered its goods. 

* The crop area under high yield value (HYV) seed varieties grew from 7 percent to 22 percent of the total cultivated area during the 10 years of the Green Revolution. 

* Crop areas under high yield varieties needed more water, more fertilizer, more pesticides, fungicides and more other chemicals. This spurred the growth of the local manufacturing sector. Such industrial growth created new jobs and contributed to the country's GDP. 

* The development of irrigation created need for new dams to arrest monsoon water. This stored water was used to create hydro-electric power. This in turn boosted industrial growth. 

* India became capable enough to pay back loans taken from the World Bank taken for the purpose of the Green Revolution. This improved India's credibility in the eyes of the lending agencies. 

* Some developed countries, like Canada which were facing a shortage in agricultural labour, were impressed by the results of India's Green Revolution. So these countries asked the Indian Government to supply them with farmers experienced in the methods of the Green Revolution. So many experienced farmers from Punjab and Haryana were sent to foreign countries and this helped India's foreign exchange earnings. 

* India transformed itself from a starving nation to an exporter of food. This earned admiration for India in the comity of nations, especially in the Third World. 

Limitations of the Green Revolution:
•However, the Green Revolution was impressive one, but it has not succeeded in making India totally and permanently self-sufficient in food. Still India had to import onions, wheat, sugar in different times after the Green Revolution. 

• India has failed to extend the concept of high-yield value seeds to all crops or all regions. In terms of crops, it remain largely confined to food grains only, not to all kinds of agricultural corps. 

• In regional terms, only Punjab and Haryana States showed the best results of the Green Revolution. The eastern plains of the river Ganges in Bengal state also showed reasonably good results. But results were less impressive in other parts of India. 

• Though Bengal Famine did not happen in India again, there are some places in India like Kalahandi where some people faced starvation. 

Though the Green Revolution has not succeeded 100 percent in its overall social objectives, but it has got considerable amount of success in terms of agricultural production. The Green Revolution has raised India as a country very much dependent on agricultural production. 

Frequently asked questions:
• When did Bengal Famine happen? 
Ans: In 1943, the world's worst recorded food disaster happened in Bengal where around four million people died of hunger that year alone in the eastern part of India. 

• In which year did the Green Revolution happen? 
Ans: The term Green Revolution is applied to the period from 1967 to 1978. But efforts were put from 1947 on expanding the farming areas. 

• What were the methods applied to the Green Revolution? 
Ans: The three basic methods applied to the Green Revolution, like - expansion of farming areas, double-cropping and using seeds with superior genetics. 

• How far was the Green Revolution successful? 
Ans: Though the Green Revolution was not 100 percent successful in its overall social objectives but it has got considerable amount of success in terms of agricultural production. 

• In which states of India got considerable amount of success under the Green Revolution? 
Ans: Specifically the states like Punjab and Haryana showed the best results of the Green Revolution. The eastern plains of the river Ganges in Bengal state also showed reasonable good results. 

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