Green Revolution

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Green Revolution in Detail

Throughout the history of human life, many revolutions have come to change and improve our quality of living. The dictionary meaning of green revolution is the use of methods and tools like fertilizers, pesticides, high-yielding varieties of crops in developing countries to dramatically increase the production of crops like rice, wheat, etc. Green revolution calls for the use of better management techniques as well.

In industrialized countries, the green revolution means a steep rise in environmental concerns.


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Introduction of Green Revolution

The green revolution was started in many countries around the world between the 1950s till the late 1960s. Many research technology transfer initiatives occurred around the world, which was geared towards increasing agricultural production.


Norman Borlaug is called the father of the green revolution as he started the green revolution with his genetic testing. He created a hybrid wheat plant that could resist fungus and diseases along with a high yield.


Green revolution in India refers to a period (the mid-1960s) where the transition from traditional agriculture into an industrial system happened. The green revolution started in India with the introduction of many modern methods of farming like tractors, pesticides, fertilizers, irrigation facilities, and the use of HYV (high yielding variety) crops.


When did the Green Revolution Start in India?

The Green revolution started in India started with its introduction in Punjab in 1966. It was part of a development program that was issued by the government of India along with international donor agencies.


Who Introduced the Green Revolution in India?

As a part of the larger initiative by Norman Borlaug, M S Swaminathan founded the Green revolution in India. Mankombu Swaminathan (born on the 7th August 1925) is an Indian geneticist and the founder of the M S Swaminathan research foundation which aims at eradicating hunger and poverty from the world. M S Swaminathan was the one to introduce and develop high-yielding varieties of wheat in India.


History of Green Revolution in India

Ford foundation sponsored a team of experts that were invited by India in the latter half of the second five-year plan. This team was called to suggest means and ways for improving crop production. Based on the recommendations of this team, the government of India implemented an intensive program for agricultural development in seven districts from seven different states of India in 1960. This program was called IADP (Intensive area development program).


In the mid-1960s Professor Norman Borlaug of Mexico developed new varieties of high-yielding wheat. India adopted this new agricultural strategy in 1966 during the Kharif season, and it was termed as HYVP (High-yielding varieties program). This program started as a package as it depended heavily on many things like:

  • Adequate irrigation.

  • Fertilizers.

  • HYV seeds.

  • Pesticides and insecticides.

Beneficial Impact of Green Revolution in India

India’s economy and way of life changed in a big way due to the Green revolution. One can gauge the major changes from the points outlined below:

  • Agricultural Production Increased:

The wheat crops got maximum benefit from the green revolution in India. Between 1967-68 the production of wheat crops grew more than three times. There was also an overall increase in agricultural produce, especially food grains. The green revolution was then aimed at the grain revolution after 1967. The overall increase in cereal production was doubled.

  • Farmers Fared Well:

It brought prosperity to farmers as increased crop production gave them more earnings. Farmers with more than 10 hectares of land benefitted the most from the green revolution.

  • Import of Food Grains Decreased:

The humongous production of foodgrains in India helped in reducing the amount of food grains that were imported earlier. India became self-sufficient in food grains and was at times, also in a position to export the grains. In 1950 the per capita availability of food grains was only 395 grams per day which grew to 436 grams by 2003. The anxiety of food shortage took away the burden from planners so that they could concentrate on other Indian planning.

  • Industrial Growth:

Since the green revolution involved a lot of machines, the demand for machinery like tractors, threshers, diesel engines, harvesters, pumping sets, combines, electric motors, etc. increased manifold. It also increased the need for pesticides, weedicides, fertilizers, insecticides, etc., which gave an industrial boom to various sectors. Many of the agricultural products were also being used as raw materials in many industries which were agro-based like textile, vanaspati, sugar, etc., which received benefits with the green revolution.

  • Increase in Rural Employment:

Though the green revolution brought a fear of unemployment since much of the human work was now being done by machines. There was a surge in demand for labour force due to the use of fertilizers and multiple cropping. As per reports, more than 15 lakhs poor people from states like Bihar, Orissa, and Uttar Pradesh found work in Punjab when the green revolutions started. Apart from earning, these poor people from different states also learned new techniques and ideas to take back home and implement.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Why was the Green Revolution Started in India? Did the Green Revolution have any Negative Impact?

Ans: India witnessed one of its worst food disasters in 1943 during the Bengal famine. Close to four million people died in the eastern part of India due to food shortages. Even after independence, the food shortage in India continued to have its impact from time to time. These past experiences and recurring food challenges were the primary reason to start the green revolution in India.


The green revolution had a few negative impacts as well, some of them were:

  • Soil fertility started degrading due to repetitive cropping patterns.

  • HYV seeds required a large amount of water for irrigation due to which the water table started diminishing.

  • Heavy use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides degraded the environment and pollution levels increased in the land, water, etc.

  • The toxic level of food products increased which was not suitable for human consumption.

Q2.  What Plant Technologies were Used During the Green Revolution?

Ans: High-yield varieties of crops were used during the green revolution. This meant they used domesticated plants that were bred in a way that made them respond to fertilizers to produce more amount of grain per acre planted. These plants met with success due to qualities like:

  • Harvest Index - The harvest index is a measure of the weight of a plant above the ground. Plants with the largest seeds were selected to create maximum production. These plants bore larger seeds, and in effect, the above-ground weight of plants that came from these seeds was even heavier.

  • Photosynthate Allocation - Since the food portion of the plant was maximized, it led to more efficient photosynthesis. 

  • Insensitivity to Day Length - The crops produced during the revolution did not have a dependency on the area of the globe or the amount of light available to them for flourishing - this doubled crop production.