The Green Revolution in India

The Green Revolution was a period when the productivity of global agriculture increased drastically as a result of new advances.

It is the introduction of new techniques of agriculture which became popular by the name of the Green Revolution (GR) around the world in early 1960sat first for wheat and by the next decade for rice, too.

The term “Green Revolution” was first used in 1968 by then USAID director William Gaud.

At independence, about 75 per cent of the country’s population was dependent on agriculture.

Productivity in the agricultural sector was very low because of the use of old technology and the absence of required infrastructure for the vast majority of farmers.


Components of Green Revolution—

Multiple Cropping system

Proper irrigation system

High Yielding Variety (HYV) of seeds

Use of pesticides and fertilizers

Use of modern machinery

Expansion of farming areas


The high yielding variety seeds are major input of agricultural production under the Green Revolution technology.

The HYV seeds were imported from Mexico, where they were developed by Dr. Norman Borlaug.

The development of HYV seeds of wheat in 1960s and those of rice in 1969-70 laid the foundation for Green Revolution in India.

National Seeds Corporation (NSC) was established in 1963.

National Seeds Programme was launched in 1977 in collaboration with World Bank covering 9 states of Punjab, Haryana, U.P., Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The stagnation in agriculture during the colonial rule was permanently broken by the green revolution: this refers to the large increase in production of food grains resulting from the use of high yielding variety (HYV) seeds especially for wheat and rice.

The use of these seeds required the use of fertiliser and pesticide in the correct quantities as well as regular supply of water; the need for these inputs in correct proportions is vital.

In the first phase of the green revolution (approximately mid 1960s upto mid 1970s), the use of HYV seeds was restricted to the more affluent states such as Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Further, the use of HYV seeds primarily benefited the wheat-growing regions only.

The use of chemical fertilizers is one of the most important input of Green Revolution.

A high concentration fertilizer was required which could be given to the trageted seed only—the only option was the chemical fertilizers—the urea (N), the phosphate (P) and the potash (K).

Although the use of fertilizers has considerably increased over the years, this increase is more prominent in areas where Green Revolution has shown its impact.

For controlled growth of crops and adequate dilution of fertilizers, a controlled means of water supply was required. It made two important compulsions—firstly the area of such crops should be at least free of flooding and secondly, artificial water supply should be developed.

As the new seeds were new and non-acclimatised to local pests, germs and diseases than the established indigenous varieties, use of pesticides and germicides became compulsory for result-oriented and secured yields.


In the second phase of the green revolution (mid-1970s to mid-1980s), the HYV technology spread to a larger number of states and benefited more variety of crops.

The spread of green revolution technology enabled India to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains.




Effects of Green Revolution—

Adoption of green revolution technology led to a phenomenal growth in agricultural production during 1970s and 1980s.

Capitalistic Farming.

Increase in the production of food-grains.

Green Revolution helped the farmers in raising their level of income.

Development of Industries.

Green Revolution has generated new jobs in rural areas.


Limitations of the Green Revolution—

Inter-crop imbalance.

Increase in inequality in rural India.

The green revolution favoured the rich landlords owning agri-infrastructure.

The Green Revolution has created the disparity between the rich and small farmers.

The rich farmer could afford the required input and reaping most of the benefits of green revolution. However, inadequate investment in infrastructure development and poor infra institutional coordination gave negative results of green revolution to the small farmers.

A major cause of the green revolution is the declining and deteriorating resource base (land, soil, water, biodiversity).

The growth associated with the green revolution has not been sustainable.

The green revolution was largely restricted to rice and wheat cultivated over irrigated regions and there was hardly any growth in the production of rain-fed crops like pulses.

It has given birth to the problem of pests, insects, weeds, rodents, etc.