Impact of Green Revolution on agrarian transformation

Impact of Green Revolution on agrarian transformation

The Green Revolution has been the main plank of the second phase of the land reforms. After independence in the rural sector the main focus was on institutional reforms in agriculture. By the late fifties and early sixties benefits from land reforms was reaching its limit. Around this time Nehru realised the need of technological solutions. The New Agricultural Strategy of picking up select areas with certain natural advantages for intensive development with package programme. The Intensive Agricultural District Programme was launched in the third five year plan. This programme picked up one district from each of the fifteen states on an experimental basis. In spite of these traces of the New Agricultural strategy the big push to it came only in the middle of the sixties. India was faced with chronic food shortage. The country had to resort to import of food grain from America under an agreement called PL480. In Bihar and UP there existed a famine like situation. In this kind of background some critical breakthrough in agricultural science showing promises of higher growth and possible solution of the food shortage launched India on the path of Green Revolution. The New Agricultural Strategy received wholehearted support from Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Food Minister C. Subramaniam and Indira Gandhi who succeeded Shastri after his sudden death as Prime Minister.

The areas with assured irrigation and other natural and institutional advantages were provided with critical inputs like High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers in these areas were also given agricultural machinery like tractors, pumps– sets and tube–wells at convenient terms. They could avail the facility of soil testing agricultural credits and guidance from agricultural universities. Apart from providing these facilities to the farmers the government also set up an Agricultural Prices Commission in the purpose of this commission was to promise sustained remunerative price to the farmers. In this way the package of public investment, institutional credit, remunerative prices and easy availability of technological help made agriculture a profitable proposition. This New Agricultural Strategy or the Green Revolution led to phenomenal growth in agricultural production. Between 1968 to 1971 food grain production rose by 35 per cent. Very soon India buried its begging bowl image and by the 1980s emerged as a country not only with buffer food stock but also as a food supplier.

There has been a criticism of the Green Revolution that it further accentuated regional inequalities by focussing on areas that already had some advantages. Scholars like G.S. Bhalla are of the view that over a period of time the benefits of Green Revolution have gone to all agrarian classes in varying degrees. Its benefits are also no more limited to any particular region of the country only. Another charge against the Green Revolution was that it was making the rich richer and the poor even poorer. Daniel Thorner and Wolf Ladejinsky both confirm this charge. According to them while inequality increased the poor including small farmers and landless labour benefited from the Green Revolution.

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