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Indian Green Revolution

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Title: Indian Green Revolution  
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Subject: Chidambaram Subramaniam, History of the Republic of India, Agriculture in India
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Indian Green Revolution

Part of a series on the
History of modern India
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An increase in food production, especially in underdeveloped and developing nations, through the introduction of high-yield crop varieties and application of modern agricultural techniques. The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of chemical 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, thus improving agriculture in India.[1] High-yielding wheat was first introduced to India in 1968 by American agronomist Norman Borlaug. Borlaug has been hailed as the Father of the Green Revolution but M.S. Swaminathan is known as the "Father of the Green Revolution in India". The methods adopted included the use of high yielding varieties (HYV) of seeds.

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 mobilized the idea of agricultural revolution and is also credited to M. S. Swaminathan and his team had contributed towards the success of green revolution. Due to the rise in use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers there were many negative effects on the soil and the land such as land degradation.

Measures Adopted in Green Revolution

  • Use of high yielding varieties (HYV) of seeds
  • Irrigation
  • Use of insecticides and pesticides
  • Consolidation of holdings
  • Land reforms
  • Improved rural infrastructure
  • Supply of agricultural credit
  • Use of (chemical) fertilizers
  • Use of Sprinklers or Drip Irrigation

Impacts of Green Revolution

Positive Impacts

  1. Increase in production / yield.
  2. Advantage to farmers: this includes their economic situation improving, even small and marginal farmers (although they were late in joining) getting better yield, control on many insects and pests, mechanizing improved working conditions.
  3. Better land use by employing two and three crop pattern.
  4. Better scientific methods applied as per requirement of farms.
  5. New seeds have been developed with better yield and disease fighting capability.
  6. Good earning by farmers.
  7. Improves country's economic development.

Negative Impacts

  1. Degradation of land: Due to change in land use pattern and employing two and three crop rotation every year land quality has gone down and yield has suffered.Also due to heavy chemical fertilizer inputs land has become hard and carbon material has gone down.
  2. Weeds have increased: Due to heavy crop rotation pattern we do not give rest to land nor we have time to employ proper weed removal system which has increased weeds.
  3. Pest infestation has gone up: Pests which we used to control by bio degradable methods have become resistant to many pesticides and now these chemical pesticides have become non effective.
  4. Loss of Bio Diversity: Due to heavy use of chemical pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers, we have lost many birds and friendly insects and this is a big loss in long term.
  5. Chemicals in water: These chemicals which we have been using in our farms go down and contaminate ground water which effect ours and our children's health.
  6. Excess use of fertilizers have made the soil infertile.
  7. Overuse of chemical fertilizers may affect human's health.

How the green revolution helped to remove the flaws of agriculture

Low Irrigation Facility

The well irrigated and permanent irrigated area was only 17% in 1951. The major part of area was dependent on rainfall and, consequently, agriculture suffered from low level of production.

Frequent Occurrence of 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.[2] Malnutrition and starvation was a huge problem.

Lack of Finance (credit)

Small and marginal farmers found it very difficult to get finance and credit at cheap rate from the government and banks, hence, fell an easy prey to the money lenders.


Due to the traditional agricultural practices, low productivity, and to feed growing population, often food grains were imported that drained away scarce foreign reserves. It was thought that with the increased production due to Green Revolution, government can maintain buffer stock and India can achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliability.

Marketing Agriculture

Agriculture was basically for subsistence and, therefore, less amount of 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 and this made the country attain food self-sufficiency.


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