The necessity for new agricultural strategy arose out of the need to increase agricultural production in the face of stagnation of production and rapidly increasing demand. The government introduced an intensive development programme in seven districts in 1960 and this programme was named Intensive Agriculture District Programme (IADP).
This programme was an intensive effort for immediate increase in agricultural production in selected areas where, irrigation and assured rainfall, made conditions favourable. It also included the provision for the supply of inputs like credit, fertilisers, seeds, plant protection and minor irrigation.
The seven districts selected were West Godavari, Shahabad, Raipur, Tanjavur, Ludhiana, Aligarh and Pali. The first four were selected for rice, the next two for wheat and the last one for millets. In 1964-65, the programme was extended to rest of the country as Intensive Agricultural Area Programme (IAAP). The period of mid-1960s was very significant from the point of view of agriculture.
New high-yielding varieties of wheat put into practice in the Kharif season of 1966 and were termed High-Yielding Varieties Programme (HYVP). This was a package programme since it depended crucially on irrigation, fertilizers, and high-yielding varieties of seeds, pesticides and insecticides.
Initially it was implemented in a total area of 1.89 million hectares. On the eve of the Fourth Plan, the coverage had expanded to be 9.2 million hectares. In 1989- 90 total area was 63.8 million hectares, almost 35 per cent of gross cropped area.
Components of Green Revolution:
The 12 components of Green Revolution are:
(i) High yielding varieties of seeds (HYV); (ii) Irrigation : (a) surface and (b) ground; (iii) Use of fertilizers (chemicals); (iv) Use of insecticides and pesticides; (v) Command Area Development (CAD); (vi) Consolidation of holding; (vii) Land Reforms; (viii) Supply of agricultural credit; (ix) Rural electrification; (x) ‘Rural roads and marketing; (xi) Farm mechanization; (xii) Agricultural Universities.
Impact of Green Revolution:
(i) Boost to the Production of Cereals:
The major achievement of the new strategy is to boost the production of major cereals, viz., wheat and rice.
The production of wheat which stood at 11 million tonnes in 1960-61 rose to 91.8 million tonnes in 2005- 2006. Part of this increase in wheat production can be attributed to an extension of the area, but the yield per hectare rose from 8.5 quintals to 26.02 quintals per hectare, signifying 3.5 times rise in the last 45 years.
The green revolution did not cover pulses. The output of pulses fluctuated violently from year to year till it declined to an ail time low of 8 million tonnes in 1979-80. From 13 million tonnes in 1960-61.
Even now the production of pulses fluctuates around 13 to 15 million tonnes per year. Neither did green revolution cover barley, ragi, and minor-millets. Thus, the green revolution was confined only to High Yielding Varieties (HYV) cereals mainly rice, wheat, maize and jowar. While rice output increased at a relatively slower rate, the singular crop in which showed a continuously rising trend was wheat. This was true of potatoes.
(ii) Increase in the Production of Commercial Crops:
The green revolution was mainly directed to increase the production of food grains. It did not affect initially the production of commercial crops or cash crops such as sugarcane, cotton, jute, oilseeds and potatoes; these crops did not record any significant improvement between 1960-61 and 1973-74.
(iii) Boost to Agricultural Production and Employment:
The successful adoption of the new agricultural technology has led to continuous expansion in area under crops, increase in total production and rise in agricultural productivity. Impressive results have been achieved in wheat, rice, maize, potatoes, etc.
The adoption of new technology has also given a boost to agricultural employment because of diverse job opportunities created by multiple cropping and shift towards hired workers. At the same time, there has been displacement of agricultural labour by the extensive use of agricultural machinery.
(iv) Forward and Backward Linkages Strengthened:
The new technology and modernisation of agriculture have strengthened the linkages between agriculture, and industry Even under traditional agriculture the forward linkage of agriculture with industry was always strong, since agriculture supplied many of the inputs of industry; but backward linkage of agriculture to industry – the former using the finished products of the latter was weak.
(v) Regional Inequalities:
HYVP (High Yielding Varieties Programme) was initiated on a small area of 1.89 million hectares in 1996-97 and even in 1997-98 it covered 76 million hectares which is only about 40 per cent of the gross cropped area.
Obviously, the benefits of the new technology remained concentrated in this area only. Moreover, the programme is limited only to wheat. For several years, the areas which benefitted were those growing wheat. These were the regions of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh.
(vi) Unwanted Social Consequences:
Large farmers have evicted tenants as they find it more profitable to cultivate themselves. Now, the tenants have gained the status of landless agricultural labourers. Wet lands have attracted industrialists to invest capital in buying farms. The polarisation process that accentuates the rural class differences has been further intensified by the green revolution.
Increased mechanisation accompanied by modernisation of farm technology increased the risk of accidents. The attitude of the government towards the victims is quite ambivalent. The agricultural work in green revolution areas has been rendered more injuries by the increasing use of poisonous chemical sprays on a large scale. Naturally, the HYV seeds need much poisonous pesticides.
(vii) Changes in Attitudes:
The increasing productivity in agriculture in the green revolution areas increased the status of agriculturists from subsistence farmers to money making farmers. Wolf Ledejinsky says where the ingredients for the new technology are available no farmer denies their effectiveness.
The desire for better farming methods and a better standard of living among countless farmers is still from the outside looking in. The evidence of these qualitative changes is provided by the short term and long term investment decisions of the farmers.
Since areas of Green Revolution started to show diminishing return, need is to incorporate changes in agricultural practices. A policy of sustainable agriculture should be vigorously pursued by adopting practices like biofertilizers, Integrated pest management, command area development, use of eco- friendly technology, precision farming, integrated nutrition management, efficient post harvest management etc. which will ensure an evergreen revolution.
Dry zone agriculture should be accorded high priority in the coming years; but at the same time endeavour must continue to bridge the gap between potential created and actual realization.
The adoption of new technology has given a boost to employment because of job opportunities created by multiple cropping and shift towards hired worker. At the same time, there has been displacement of labour by greater use of agricultural machinery.
(ix) Forward and Backward Linkages:
Even under traditional agriculture, the forward linkage of agriculture with industry was always strong. The backward linkage of agriculture to industry was weak. But Green Revolution has created demand for inputs produced by industries and thus the backward linkage has been established.
The new technology has made the farmer market oriented. The farmers are largely dependent on the market for the supply of inputs and for selling their output.
Superior to Traditional Technology:
Modern technology, embodied in Green Revolution, has definitely proved its superiority. What is now needed is the evolution of a low cost technology, which can be adopted by small farmers and which can use local resources.
There have been two discomforting features of the Green Revolution; first, the Green Revolution has increased inequalities in the rural sector, and secondly, it has been responsible for increasing regional disparities.
(i) Personal Inequalities:
The institutional framework of rural economy has always favoured rice. The Green Revolution, despite its scale-neutral nature, has, by-passed the small and marginal farmers. The modern technology can be utilized only as a complete package. The small farmers cannot afford to acquire all the inputs. They are also denied agricultural credit facilities because of the smallness of their holdings.
As a result, the small farmers have been left out of the Green Revolution. The use of the new technology required knowledge. The rich farmers have cultivated and maintained contacts that make available these services to them. The small farmer has been ignored by the extension personnel.
(ii) Regional Inequality:
The new technology of HYV programme with its package approach could be applied only in those areas which had adequate irrigation facilities. Irrigation facilities are available to about one-third of the total cultivable land area. It would imply that two-thirds of the total cultivable land area, as such, has been kept outside the influence of the revolution’.