The following points will highlight the seven adverse effects of agrarian strategy in Indian farming.
Effect # 1. Promotion of Capitalistic Fanning:
The new strategy, based on Command Area Development Programme (CADP) and High Yielding Varieties Programme (HYVP), necessitated the use of costly seeds, fertilisers and agricultural implements (such as capital goods and machinery). These were beyond the reach of most small farmers in India.
Only about 5-6% of the rich farmers constituting of only 5-6% of the total rural households (numbering about 82 million)—possessing about 40- 42% of the total cultivable land—could afford to use modern technology. Consequently, the new technology has promoted capitalistic farming in India.
Effect # 2. Economic Dualism:
Land-owners usually provide inputs, capital and technology. So only that part of land which is hired by tenants is worked with modern techniques. On the other hand, the owners of small plots—who are the actual tillers of the soil—continue to use traditional agriculture.
Effect # 3. Rural Inequality:
Furthermore, the new technology has created various types of conflicts among the peasantry. Prima facie, large farmers are not only capable of making larger investments in the form of pump-sets, fertilisers, tube-wells, and machinery like tractors and threshers, they can obtain subsidised credit and acquire inputs like seeds and fertilisers at a concessional rate.
It is often alleged that big farmers often preempt much- needed agricultural inputs, thus depriving the small farmers completely. This process accentuated the problem of rural inequality. In other words, it has mainly benefitted the rich farmers and landlords. But the economic conditions of landless workers and small and marginal farmers gradually deteriorated over the years.
In absolute terms, however, all sections have gained due to a rise in wages and employment and in incomes of small farmers in regions experiencing technological change. But, in relative terms, the rich farmers and landowners gained much more by being able to acquire the superior quality inputs and institutional credit facilities.
As C. B. Hanumantha Rao notes: “Technological changes have contributed to widening the disparities in income between different regions, between small and large farms and between landowners on the one hand and landless labourers and tenants on the other.”
Thus, it is extremely important to modify policies relating to agricultural development with stress on small farmers. As Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao has rightly commented: “It is now well-known that the so-called green revolution which helped the country to raise its output of food-grains has also been accompanied by a widening of the range of inequality in rural incomes, the loss of their status as tenants by a widening of the small farmers and the emergence of social and economic tensions in the countryside….the challenge which Indian agriculture faces is not only production but also that of distribution.”
Effect # 4. Neglect of Institutional Reform:
The new strategy has failed to recognise the importance of institutional (land) reform. Unless such reforms are carried out, farmers will suffer from insecurity of tenancy and will not take any interest in productivity raising programs. As, D. P. Chaudhury comments: “Land reforms with appropriate changes in the capital market and rural institutions should make possible maximisation of output and productivity growth completely consistent with reduction of inequalities of income distribution.”
In fact, land reform and consolidation of fragmented holdings will be needed in most rural areas, not only to accelerate technological change and stimulate production in the long run, but also to generate rural employment.- History clearly shows that land reform is seldom a simple affair and invariably occurs slowly. So it is quite vital to minimise the short-run disruptions and conflicts arising from a programme of structural change in land-ownership.
It is also observed that a large quantity of fertilisers is being acquired by owner farmers, leaving little to be used by numerous tenants. Thus, the preponderance of tenancy cultivation acts as a major obstacle to fertiliser use—so important for achieving a breakthrough in production. No doubt chemical fertilisers are within reach of poor peasants because they can be purchased in small quantities. However, the main limitations on the greater use of chemical fertilisers have been inadequate supplies and high prices.
Effect # 5. Technological Unemployment:
Furthermore, the green revolution has accentuated the problem of rural unemployment. The new method of production is capital intensive and is supposed to lead to huge displacement of labour. Of course, data on actual displacement of landless workers are inadequate. Thus, if the new technology is unable to absorb the redundant workers it will be meaningless to the masses.
In fact, we cannot make the green revolution really meaningful (or totally successful) when there is lack of active participation of the people in the modernisation process. There is not only the need to remove the feudal and semi-feudal structures and attitudes but also to reduce inequality of wealth and status. In fact, it is due to rise in real wages that GR reduced rural tensions in Punjab, Haryana and western U.P. On the other hand, in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, the demand for higher wages was countered by bringing workers from other areas.
Effect # 6. Partial Sucess:
The most important thing to note is that the green revolution has touched only three major crops wheat, maize and bajra. The major food crop of eastern India, viz., rice, has been neglected till the initiation of the Seventh Plan (1985-1990). Due to lack of positive approach on the part of planners, rice has failed to respond to the impact of green revolution.
Moreover, since rural research has beet/carried out to develop new seeds in major commercial crops like oilseeds, cotton and jute, progress has been slow and, at best, inadequate. Not much any increase has been achieved in the production of pulses which account for about 10% of the total food output of India.
Effect # 7. Unbalanced Growth:
Finally, those States which were originally rich derived the benefits of green revolution, e.g., Punjab, Haryana and western U.P. Some prosperous districts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu also shared the gain. Thus, green revolution has failed to ensure balanced regional development. Rather, it has led to unbalanced growth. In this sense the revolution has achieved partial success.
In this context R. R. Sinha comments: “The main advantage of the new technology accrued to the rich farmers or to regions which already has adequate factor endowments. Undoubtedly, it was the large and medium farmers who were the main beneficiaries of the ‘Green Revolution’ in India. Some of these farmers bought tractors and other agricultural machinery, which may have had some labour displacing effect.”
To put it differently, the green revolution had the unintended side-effect of turning many small farmers and tenants into landless workers, since they could not obtain the credit they needed to use the new techniques and, therefore, sold their land to their richer neighbours.