Green Revolution in India

Green Revolution in India

  • A term coined to describe the emergence and diffusion of new seeds of cereals.
  • Norman-e-Borlaug is the Father of Green Revolution in the world, while Dr. M.S. Swami Nathan is known as the Father of Green Revolution in India.
  • The new cereals were the product of research work and concentrated plant breeding with the objective of creating High Yielding Varieties (HYVs) of use to the developing countries.
  • New varieties of wheat were first bred in Mexico in the 1950s and that of rice, like IR-8 (miracle rice) at the International Rice Research Institute, Manila, (Philippines in the 1960s).
  • The increase in the yield from the new seeds has been spectacular as during the last forty years, agricultural production, particularly of wheat and rice, has experienced a great spurt and this has been designated as the Green Revolution.
  • The Green Revolution has been used to mean two different things. Some experts of agriculture use it for referring to a broad transformation of agricultural sector in the developing countries to reduce food shortages.
  • Others use it when referring to the specific plant improvements, notably the development of HYVs.
  • Whatsoever the meaning of Green Revolution may be taken as, the adoption and diffusion of new seeds of wheat and rice has been considered as a significant achievement as it offered great optimism.
  • In fact, these varieties of seeds have revolutionised the agricultural landscape of the developing countries and the problem of food shortage has been reduced.
  • In India, hybridisation of selected crops, i.e. maize, bajra (bulrush millets), and millets began in 1960.
  • The Mexican dwarf varieties of wheat were tried out on a selected scale in 1963-64. Exotic varieties of rice such as Taichung Native I were introduced in India in 1964.
  • The diffusion of HYVs, however, became fully operational in the country in the Kharif season of 1965-66.
  • The diffusion of the new seeds was mainly in the Satluj-Ganga Plains and the Kaveri Delta.
  • Subsequently, a number of varieties of wheat and rice were developed by the Indian scientists and adopted by the Indian farmers.


Merits of the High Yielding Varieties

The High Yielding Varieties have certain advantages over the traditional varieties of cereals which are given as under:


  1. Shorter Life Cycle
  2. Economize on Irrigation Water
  3. Generate more Employment

Geographical Constraints in the Adoption of New Seeds

The new seeds are less resistant to droughts and floods and need an efficient management of water, chemical fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides.

The conditions required for the good harvest of new seeds have been described below:


  1. Irrigation
  2. Availability of Chemical Fertilisers
  3. Plant Protection Chemicals
    • The new seeds are very delicate and highly susceptible to pests and diseases.
    • The danger of pests and insects may be reduced by using plant protection chemicals.


  • The problems of crop disease and pests may also be tackled by timely application of insecticides and pesticides


  1. Capital Constraint
  1. Mechanization
  1. Marketing and Storage Facilities
  1. Extension Service
  1. Human Factor

Environmental and Ecological Implications of Green Revolution

Some of the environmental and ecological problems that emerged out of the cultivation of the High Yielding Varieties are depletion of forests, reduction in pastures, salination, water-logging, depletion of underground water-table, soil erosion, change in the soil chemistry, reduction in bio-diversity, decline in soil fertility, silting of rivers, increase in weeds, emergence of numerous new plant diseases, and health hazards.


An overview of these environmental and ecological problems has been given here.

  1. Salination

 The saline and alkaline affected tracts, locally known as kallar or thur in Punjab and kallar or reh in Uttar Pradesh have expanded and increased in area.The problem of salinity and alkalinity can be solved by use of manure (cow dung, compost, and green manure) and by a judicious selection of leguminous crops in the rotation


  1. Waterlogging

Water logging is the other major problem associated with over-irrigation.The progressive and ambitious cultivators of the irrigated areas of these districts have changed their cropping patterns and have introduced rice and wheat in place of bajra, pulses, cotton, and fodder.Repeated irrigation of these crops in the summer and winter seasons have resulted into waterlogged condition, especially along the canals.


  1. Soil erosion
  2. Pollution:
  3. Lowering of the Underground Water-Table:
  4. Deforestation
  5. Noise Pollution:
  6. Health Hazards:


Green Revolution—Achievements, Problems and Prospects

Green Revolution—Achievements

The main achievements of Green Revolution may be summarized as under:


  1. The production and productivity of wheat, rice, maize, and bajra has increased substantially.
  2. India has become almost self-sufficient in the matter of staple foods.
  3. The double cropped area has increased; thereby intensification of the Indian agriculture has increased.
  4. In the areas where Green Revolution is a success, the farmers have moved from subsistent to market oriented economy, especially in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, and the plain districts of Uttarakhand (Hardwar and Udhamsinghnagar).
  5. The adoption of High Yielding Varieties under the Green Revolution has generated more rural and urban employment.
  6. Green Revolution has increased the income of farmers and landless labourers, especially that of the big farmers and the semi-skilled rural workers. Thus Green Revolution has increased rural prosperity.
  7. Green Revolution has created jobs in the areas of biological (seed fertilisers) innovations, and repair of agricultural equipments and machinery.


Green Revolution—Problems and Prospects

  1. Depletion of soil owing to the continuous cultivation of soil exhaustive crops like rice and wheat.
  2. Depletion of underground water table due to over-irrigation of more moisture requiring crops like rice and wheat.
  3. Green Revolution has increased the income disparity amongst the farmers.
  4. Green Revolution led to polarization of the rural society. It has created three types of conflicts in the rural community, namely, between large and small farmers, between owner and tenant farmers, between the employers and employees on agricultural farms.
  5. Green Revolution has displaced the agricultural labourers, leading to rural unemployment. The mechanical innovations like tractors have displaced the agricultural labour. 6. Agricultural production in the Green Revolution areas is either stationary or has shown declining trend.
  6. Some valuable agricultural lands have submerged under water (water-logging) or are adversely affected by salinity and alkalinity.
  7. Green Revolution is crop specific. It could not perform well in the case pulses and oil-seeds.
  8. The traditional institution of Jijmani system has broken. Consequently, the barbers, carpenters, iron-smith, and watermen have migrated to the urban areas.
  9. The soil texture, structure, soil chemistry, and soil fertility have changed.
  10. About 60 per cent of agricultural land in the country remains unaffected by Green Revolution.
  11. Green Revolution technologies are scale neutral but not resource neutral.
  12. Punjab feeds the nation but farmers in the state, especially in the Malwa region fall prey to cancer. The take ‘Cancer Train’ to Bikaner for cheap treatment.
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