Apart from starting five-year plans and setting up the NITI Aayog, India also adopted several sector-oriented policies. In this article, we will talk about one of the important agricultural policies in India, the Green Revolution. Post-independence, India was not in a position to fulfill its foodgrain requirement. Famines and droughts which struck India from time to time were primarily responsible for the problem of food shortage.
Therefore, India depended on other countries to overcome this problem. Also, Indian farmers suffered a lot. In order to improve agricultural production in India, the government adopted different agricultural policies over the years.
Agricultural Policies – The Green Revolution
In 1965-66 and 1966-67, two severe droughts hit India. This gave rise to international apprehensions about India’s capacity to feed itself. This was the time was the Green Revolution was born. It aimed to improve agricultural production within a limited period of time and maintain a high level of production over an extended period.
The Gree Revolution saw India convert its agricultural sector into an industrial system. It adopted modern methods and technologies like using high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, tractors, pesticides, irrigation facilities, and fertilizers. It also included having a suitable price mechanism for agricultural production and land reforms.
This eventually led to an increase in the production of foodgrains, especially in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Also, high yielding varieties of wheat and rust-resistant strains of wheat were developed.
Before the Green Revolution, farmers were struggling to produce a good crop due to the dearth of agricultural facilities. Further, they were highly dependent on monsoon which was unpredictable.
Method of the Green Revolution
There were three basic elements:
- Expanding farming areas – Post-independence, India needed to expand its cultivable land to meet the rising demand.
- Double-cropping on the existing farmland – Since India had only one rainy season every year, farmers in the country practiced one crop season per year. However, the Green Revolution introduced huge irrigation projects to make water available for another crop. Hence, farmlands now had tow crop seasons per year.
- Using better seeds – The Indian Council for Agricultural Research, which the British had established in 1929, was reorganized in 1963 and 1975. The Council developed new strains of high yield variety seeds, mainly wheat and rice and also millet and corn.
In 1978-79, India produced a record grain output of 131 million tonnes. This catapulted India as one of the world’s biggest agricultural producers.
From the time India gained independence in 1947 to 1979, farmlands recorded an improvement of 30% in their yield per unit land.
Another benefit of the Green Revolution was the increase in employment opportunities. Agricultural workers were in demand and so were industrial workers due to the creation of facilities like factories and hydroelectric power stations.
Over the years, there has been some criticism due to the extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers. Also, extensive irrigation projects have eventually led to soil degradation. Further, heavy dependence on a few major crops has reduced the biodiversity of farmers.
What were the three basic elements of the Green Revolution?
The three basic elements were:
- Expanding the farming areas
- Creating two crop seasons per year
- Using better seeds