50 Years Of Green Revolution

Sandarbha Desk
Sandarbha Desk


  • The golden jubilee celebrations of the Green Revolution (GR) were held in New Delhi in November, 2015.
  • Rising shortage of food because of droughts in 1965-66 forced India to import 10 million tonnes of grains and a similar amount in the preceding year.
  • M.S. Swaminathan is considered the ‘father’ of the Green Revolution.
  • The GR was launched specially for wheat and rice crops.
  • In 1960s, Green Revolution helped the country overcome hunger by enhancing food production using high-yield varieties of seeds, use of chemical fertilizers and modifying farm equipment.


  • Thanks to Green Revolution, big gains have been made in India’s food production capacity, Indian farmers adopted new technology which led to the doubling of annual wheat production from 11 mt during the triennium ending (TE) 1966-67 to 23 mt during TE 1971-72.
  • The rice production also grew by 30 percent during the same period.
  • In the four decades starting 1965-66, wheat production in the states of Punjab and Haryana has risen nine-fold, and rice production has increased 30 times.
  • The states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh now produce enough to feed the entire country and also have significant surplus for export.
  • The technology and the subsequent state support is perhaps the single significant event that changed the face of Indian agriculture.
  • The single biggest contribution of the Green Revolution was the raising of the yield of wheat and rice, saving much land from being converted for agriculture, apart from ensuring food security.
  • A mechanism of price assurance to producers through a system of Minimum support Prices, implemented through obligatory procurement; inter-year and intra-year price stability through open market operations and distribution of subsidized food grain through a network of ration shops was put in place.
  • Our research capacities and its spread have improved tremendously.


  • A noted food policy analyst said, ” The Green Revolution helped India move out of a ship-to-mouth situation and India was made self-sufficient in food production but since the mid 1980s, it’s second generation environmental impact and the intensive farming it promoted started showing its impact. We’ve now reached a stage where we need to understand that the Green Revolution has done its job and it’s time to consign it to history, and shift to a more sustainable method of farming”.
  • M.S. Swaminathan said, ” Almost 50 years ago, we had to import wheat and rice. This year we are about to import 10 mt of pulses, despite being its original producer. The reason is, we could not take good care of pulses. What disturbs me today is that there is no Green Revolution. Those days we adopted modern technologies but now we have to move towards a more environmentally sustainable agriculture. I am not satisfied with the condition of farming in the country, as there are too many barriers to the movement of goods. In the report of the National Farmers Commission tabled in 2005, we had talked about having a common market. The Centre’s concept of a common market will solve some of the issues, but not all”.
  • It was limited to a few states only, the entire north- western region of Punjab, Haryana and western UP were early adopters of new technology, as land in these parts was suitable for adoption of new varieties, water was abundant and farmers were willing to alter their cultivation patterns. The eastern states remained largely untouched.
  • It promoted mono cropping and encouraged the use of more chemical fertilizers. Balancing its benefit to all farmers, across all crops, has been weak.
  • Indiscriminate use of fertilizers, due to massive subsidies has changed the nutrient balance in the soil. As against the N:P:K norm of 4:2:1, farmers in Punjab and Haryana apply these in the ratio of 26:7:1 and 37:11:1, respectively.
  • Excessive exploitation of groundwater, driven by cheap power, and difficulty in adopting new farming patterns is gradually turning barren the erstwhile Green Revolution belt.
  • According to studies, the net annual groundwater draft in Punjab exceeds availability by 45 percent and in Haryana by nine percent.

Latest Government Initiatives

  • Promoting Green Revolution in a sustainable manner, unlike till now, is the need of the hour.
  • It was not successful in rain-fed areas which contributed 60% of the country’s total food grain production, and that is why the Government is now focusing on bringing the ‘Second Green Revolution’ in eastern region which is rich in water resources.
  • The government has made plans for scientists to adopt villages, where they will directly interact with farmers to solve their problems.
  • The centre has earmarked Rs. 3,900 crore for strengthening the Krishi Vigyan Kendras for dissemination of technology to farmers.
  • Scientists have been called upon to develop new varieties that will make the country self-sufficient in pulses and oil-seeds which are imported in large quantities as of now.
  • Though the Government had launched the strategic initiative ‘ Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India’ (BGREI)- called Second Green Revolution- in 2010-11, the move has got special attention under the NDA government which not only allocated additional Rs. 1,000 crore for this purpose but also started creating agricultural institutions in the east.
  • Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh are the seven states where the government wants to bring the second Green Revolution through sustainable farm practices using water management and conservation.
  • As part of the government’s Look East policy, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has established Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Hazaribagh in Jharkhand and Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology in Ranchi.
  • The government has also established the National Research Centre for Integrated Farming at Motihari in Bihar to further strengthen the agricultural research for the eastern region.
  • The Central Agricultural Universitu (CAU), Imphal has been sanctioned six new colleges for the North-Eastern states. It will raise the total number of colleges under the university from 7 to 13.
  • It has also planned to establish a new CAU at Barapani, Meghalaya.


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