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Impact of Green Revolution on the Food Security of India Bookmark and Share  
  Author Name : Harleena Singh Posted on : August-4-2009 Total Hits: 19535
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The Bengal Famine in 1943 was the worst recorded food disaster in the world, where approximately four million people lost their lives because of hunger in the eastern region of India. The explanation given for this catastrophe was the occurrence of an acute deficit in the food production in that area, though other reasons like the impact of World War II, where the supply of food was a low priority for the British rulers, were also responsible. Exploitation by Indian traders was carrying on, with them hoarding food to sell at a higher price later.

In 1947, after India got its Independence it was still haunted by the Bengal Famine, thus kept food security as a predominant item on its agenda. The awareness led to legislative measures taken ensuring that no businessmen would again be able to hoard food for profit as well as the introduction of Green Revolution in India, though it was basically enforced between the periods from 1967 to 1978. The attempts till 1967 were mainly on expansion of the farming areas though deaths due to starvation were still reported because of the growth in population being much faster than the production of food. The drastic action came in the form of the Green Revolution in order to increase the crop yield.

The following were the results of the Green Revolution-

Political Results

It was because of the Green Revolution that the Indian National Congress and its leader Mrs. Indira Gandhi became a powerful political force in India. The community of nations, specially the Third World, admired India for transforming itself from a starved nation to an exporter of food.

Sociological Results

There were plenty of jobs created by the Green Revolution, not only for the industrial workers by the creation of lateral facilities but also for the agricultural workers.

Economical Results

The growth of the local manufacturing sectors increased creating new jobs and thus contributing the GDP of the country, because of the crop areas needing more water, fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides and fungicides.

The need for new dams to be constructed to harness the monsoon water was needed because of the increase in irrigation. The water thus stored was utilized for hydro electric power, which in turn created jobs, boosted industrial growth and improved the quality of life of the villagers.

All the loans taken by India for the purpose of the Green Revolution were paid back to the affiliates and World Bank, improving the creditworthiness in the lending agencies eyes.

A few developed countries like Canada who were also facing shortage on agricultural labor, were impressed with the Green Revolution and asked the Indian Government to supply them experienced farmers in the methods of Green Revolution. Many farmers from Haryana and Punjab were thus sent abroad where they settled and remitted part of their incomes to their Indian relatives, adding to theirs as well as India’s earnings of foreign exchange.

Restrictions of the Green Revolution

Even today, India falls short of its demand for agricultural output, as the Green Revolution hasn’t succeeded in making India totally self sufficient in food. In 1998, India imported onions and last year sugar.

Even today, places like Kalahandi ( in Orissa) exist where famine like conditions are prevalent resulting in starvation deaths. Though the reasons could be many but it brings us to the fact that the Green Revolution has failed in its social objective, though successful in agricultural production.

India remains confined to only food grains and not to all the other kinds of agricultural produce. Only states like Punjab, Haryana, and parts of West Bengal showed results of the Green Revolution.

The Green Revolution is showing signs of tiredness and the increase in farm productivity has flattened out. The main constraints to Indian agricultural productivity is because of changes in the weather conditions, limited water supplies, small holdings, subsistence nature of farming adopted, poor land conditions, factors like drought, saline soil, heat etc. most of the crop is lost due to diseases, weeds and pests alongside improper storage and transportation.

India cannot afford to lag behind in examining all the new technologies and making them available for the farmers. Adopting biotechnology can be beneficial to India, where the crop damage can be reduced, especially through pest resistant varieties while lessening the chemicals usage. The development of genetically reprogrammed seeds that are designed to resist the disease attacks while eliminating the hazardous and costly pesticides sprays. Adapting this ‘Gene Revolution’ than the Green Revolution by both the small and big farmers will help them increase farm productivity thorough the availability of improved and powerful seeds, reducing their dependency on pesticides and fertilizers.

“The days of cheap food are over” said Mr. M.S. Swaminathan, the father of the Green Revolution. As per the InfoChange News and Features edition of April 2008, he stated the following-

“India needs to come up with a drought code, a flood code and a good weather code. I put this point in front of the agriculture minister. They need to come up with a scheme very quickly. Grain reserves are important for food security, seed reserves are important for crop security and a proper contingency plan must be in place to ensure minimum devastation in case of floods. Such a plan does not mean a mere piece of paper, rather it should help direct a farmer who has lost his main crop to come up with a second plan; what kind of crop he should grow next.”

With a person thinking so much for the Indian farmer, it is time the government take some measures ensuring the farmers are assisted in every possible way.

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