The following points highlight the four major effects of Green Revolution (GR) on the Indian economy. The effects are: 1. Effect on Production 2. Increase in Regional Imbalances 3. Increase in Inter-Personal Inequalities 4. Impact on Employment.
Effect of Green Revolution # 1. Effect on Production:
The successful application and gradual spread of modern technology has a favourable effect on both production and productivity.
Yield per acre has increased substantially because of the use of miracle seeds, chemical fertiliser, tractors, etc.
Moreover, production has increased due to extensive cultivation i.e., bringing new land under the plough.
Food grains output increased from 81 million tonnes in the Third Plan (1961-1966) to 209.8 million tonnes in 1999-2000. As a result of favourable monsoon, food grains production reached 216.1 million tonnes in 2006-07. In that year, the production of wheat was 76.4 million tonnes from 75 million tonnes in 1970-71. It fell 69.7 million tonnes in 2001-02 and rose to 74.9 million tonnes in 2006-07.
This increase in production is due to the application of HYV Mexican wheat seed and imported rice seed from the Philippines and Taiwan, irrigation and chemical fertilisers, pesticides in large doses. In spite of occasional drop in output, GR has enabled India to stop import of food grains from the USA under PL 480.
It is to be pointed out that the new agricultural strategy was confined mainly to five food grains—wheat, rice, maize, jawar and bajra. As for commercial crops like oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton and jute, the progress had been definitely slow.
Again, within the food grains, wheat registered a phenomenal growth. Wheat production increased from 11.1 million tonnes in the Third Plan to 41.2 million tonnes in the Sixth Plan (1980-1985). A record production of wheat was achieved in 1999-2000 when output of wheat rose to 76.4 million tonnes and it declined 74.9 million tonnes in 2006-07.
The production of rice, which received a setback in the early year of the GR, has started picking up of late. In 2001-02, a record production level of 93.3 million tonnes was achieved and declined to 92.7 million tonnes in 2006-07. Performance of other cereals like jawar, bajra and maize is not remarkable though they increased between 1990-91 and 2001-02 and Jawar output remained stationary at 6.5-7.5 million tonnes between 2001-02 and 2006-07.
As a result of the GR, the average yield per hectare of all food grains increased from 710 kg in 1960-61 to 1734 kg in 2001-02 while wheat production rose from 851 kg to 2,762 kg by the same period and declined to 2,671 kg in 2006- 07. On the other hand, productivity of rice was low even up to the end of Sixth Plan. It went up to 2093 kg per hectare in 2005-06 as against, 1,336 kg. in 1980-81. It increased further to 2127 kg in 2006-07.
On the contrary, productivity of coarser varieties of food grains remained almost stationary during this period. Definitely, production and yield per hectare have gone up under the impact of the GR. But, there is another side of the picture which tells a shocking story.
For instance, per capita availability of food grains has declined from 510.1 gm. (1991) per day to 422.4 gm. (2005) per day. However, it marginally increased to 444.5 gm. per day in 2006.
Furthermore, in the case of commercial crops, the progress has been slow and that is why the country has been importing edible oils every year. It is worth noting here that among the food grains, wheat is the greatest beneficiary of GR. GR technology, in other words, had been applied extensively in the case of wheat.
That is why the largest increase in wheat output took place during the period under consideration. In view of this, economists call green revolution the ‘wheat revolution’.
Effect of Green Revolution # 2. Increase in Regional Imbalances:
GR has failed to ensure balanced regional development. Rather, it has led to an unbalanced growth. GR did not touch all the states of India uniformly. Those states which were originally rich derived the benefits of GR, e.g., Punjab, Haryana and Western U.P. As the benefits of new technology concentrated mainly in these areas, other Indian states could not match them.
For instance, the share of the Punjab and Haryana in total food grains production was 75 p.c. in 1964-65 compared to 15.6 p.c. in 1988-89. On the contrary, the rate of growth of output of food grains in the eastern states of India, Rajasthan, Kerala, etc. turned out to be about 3 p.c. to 4 p.c. per annum. Thus, we can say that the GR has led to an increase in regional imbalances.
Some of the reasons behind these different rates of growth are:
(i) Differences in the availability of water supply;
(ii) Differences in the nature and attitude of agriculturists relating to risk and uncertainty.
Effect of Green Revolution # 3. Increase in Inter-Personal Inequalities:
The new agricultural strategy necessitated the use of costly seeds, fertilisers and agricultural implements (such as, capital goods and machinery). These were beyond the reach of small farmers in India. Only about 5-6 p.c. of the rich farmers consisting of only 5-6 p.c. of the total rural households (numbering about 82 million), possessing about 40-42 p.c. of the total cultivable land, could afford the use of modern technology. Consequently, the new technology has promoted capitalistic farming in India. In other words, it has accentuated the problem of inequality. It has conferred hardly any benefit to the poor farmers.
It has been observed by researchers that even in the Punjab, where GR has been totally successful, nearly one-third marginal farmers and 24 p.c. small farmers live below the poverty line. Thus, GR has increased inter-personal inequalities undoubtedly.
Effect of Green Revolution # 4. Impact on Employment:
We have already noted that GR is biological-cum-technological in character. Biological innovations are based on labour-saving technology, while technological innovations are capital-augmenting or labour- saving in nature.
C. H. Hanumantha Rao’s study relating to the Punjab has found that:
“If the green revolution is regarded as a package consisting of HYV and fertilisers, its contribution to employment has been substantial. Also, tube wells seem to have contributed significantly to the employment of labour….” “The net employment of tractor-use may turn out to be negative when tractorisation of farm is complete. A harvest combine would displace labour on a large scale while its land-augmenting effect would be negligible.”
Billings and Singh, in their studies based on the Punjab, have found that the use of irrigation tends to increase the demand for labour while the use of tractors or wheat reapers tend to reduce the demand for labour. However, due to inadequate data, it is difficult to assess the impact of biological-technological innovations on farm labour.