Impacts of Green Revolution in India

In the backdrop of the food crisis that gripped India in the 1960s and 1970s (and few years earlier to that too) the Government of India initiated the ‘Green Revolution’ program. This was an attempt to become self-sufficient in production of food grains. Traditional farming methods gave way to farming with high-yield seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides.

Grain production and population in India. Image source: http://www.iisc.ernet.in

The Green Revolution nearly quadrupled the production of rice and wheat, transforming India’s fertile areas into ‘granaries’. India was no longer dependent on the foreign grain and food aid shipments from the United States. With increased production, India repaid her loans, while progressing on the path to self-sufficiency. A few decades down the road, it is evident that the benefits of the Green Revolution are associated with unanticipated harmful effects of chemicals.

Numerous studies have linked the use of pesticides and chemicals to diseases such as cancer. Researchers attribute an increase in stillborn babies, and ailments such as renal failure, to the misuse of pesticides. Widespread use of pesticides has contaminated drinking water supplies and is linked to other life-threatening diseases. Source: Time Magazine.

A more painful reminder is the scene at the Bhatinda railway station in Punjab. At 9.20 pm everyday, a passenger train leaves Bhatinda town for Bikaner in Rajasthan. The train is known as the Cancer Train as it carries patients and their families to the cancer treatment center.The patients are bound for the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Center.

Pesticide companies blame farmers for not adhering to prescribed quantities and not using protective gear. Workers who spray the chemicals blame landlords for not investing in protection, and companies for not properly informing them of the dangers of exposure. Farmers claim it is greedy dealers who push them to spray more, and also blame the government’s failure to change its policies after the harmful side effects of the Green Revolution began showing.

The rampant poisoning of soil and water due to excessive use of pesticides and chemicals has left the once fertile regions barren. Unable to bear the predicament of a lost livelihood and inability to repay huge loans, farmers are committing suicides.

If India intends to avoid another food crisis in the near future, it has to address these issues now. What India needs is a farming system that is sustainable. A system that produces good yields, protects the environment, and is safe.

Earlier this year, in his budget speech, Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee announced a Rs. 400 crore scheme to take the Green Revolution to the eastern India. The practices to be followed in this second Green revolution will determine if the country learnt any lessons from the past. We cannot afford to risk the health and lives of another generation. For the farmers of Punjab and their families though, there is little respite, as they continue on their journey from Bathinda to Bikaner hoping for a cure.

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17 responses to “Impacts of Green Revolution in India

  1. Thought provoking as usual.

    To tell u the truth…i am fast losing faith in India.

    Take care.

    • Given the corruption, and the sorry state of affairs in India, it is easy to lose faith. But, that is not the solution. Each of us has a responsibility to make a difference and we should do it. For nearly 300 years, we were under British rule. But, generations of Indians dreamt of freedom, fought for it, and gave their lives. Even today, many individuals strive to improve the conditions. Their struggle bears testament to the faith they have. Cheer up Indian Pundit!

  2. What India and World needs today is not Green but Evergreen Revolution.
    We have to give a second thought for the “Development at the cost of Environment” as this is a path of short and unsustainable growth.

    The solution lies in the Nature’s teaching as these are the ways which are surviving for millions of years leaving back the unsustainable ways and as is said in Darwins Theory ” Survival of the Fittest” and hence the nature way is the fittest way to survive.
    We need to replinish the Basic source of live for enabling the nature to give us the return and resulting in a Evergreen Revolution.

    • This time around we have to keep in mind sustainability and the balance of nature. In our ‘quest for quick development/growth’, we should not compromise on our natural resources and practices.

  3. I need more information

  4. We in the eastern part of india need sustainable agricultural practices with the abundant natural resources we have.Do not make it Bhatinda or Kassagode type.Please take in view about the soil,water and air of the area which is already having threts to humanity due to monocropping of crops like tea.Think green revoloution in a greener way showing respect to the environment.Green farming is needed.

  5. true… not sure who said this, but it still rings true: Corruption never has been compulsory.

  6. deepti sasmal

    superb nice information! on hara bhara revolution!

  7. hey what u have said is right i belive in this as i ama agriculture student but i havent understood why u r blaming the monsanto company

  8. i need more information about green revolution in india

  9. that’s good and crisp!

  10. Hey, I enjoyed reading this piece, though it really broke my heart. I am from a company that helps farmers sell organic produce, and we’re working really hard to promote sustainable farming that is good for the earth, farmers, and the people of Delhi. Thanks for validating our work, really great post.

  11. hey… thats nice … but I need some relevant answers …

  12. Reblogged this on I Say Organic and commented:
    Incredible post on the effects of the Green Revolution in India today.

    • Thank you for reblogging this post. Use of pesticides and chemicals are dangerous to life systems and the soil. Organic farming needs to be encouraged, and individuals need to choose organic vegetables and fruits for a healthy life.

      Adarsh.

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