Green Revolution means the production of bumper crops in a particular land or country. Even after independence, India had to suffer from want of adequate foodgrains for her people. The First Five Year Plan (1951-1956) could not ensure to meet the demand of food out of the country’s own production.
India faced a food deficit. In some states like Bihar and Rajasthan famine-like conditions prevailed for a time. The deficit of food became so acute in some provinces that foodstuffs had to be imported in large scale under PL480.
Thereafter plans were taken for growing more crops in different states of India. Improving irrigation system under River Valley Projects is the most important of them. In addition to that, introducing better methods of cultivation by using chemical fertilizers, high-yielding strains, double cropping, etc. yielded better production. And some provinces like Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra turned into granary by Green Revolution. After some time West Bengal too could overcome the food crisis. Now India, as a whole, is in a position to export food crops and maintains a huge buffer stock of food crops. This breakthrough in our fight against food shortage is what has been characterised as the Green Revolution.
In fact, we have applied science and technology to the service of agricultural development. This has resulted in a higher yield of grains and vegetables. The scenario has been greatly changed as even a few years back we were heavily depended on foreign imports on the food front. Alongside, we have acquired the White Revolution in milk front, especially in Haryana.
But the fruits of the Green Revolution will never be assuring unless steps are taken to prevent damages caused by droughts or floods. These natural calamities are caused by the uncertainties of monsoon upon which our agriculture has to depend so much even now. Only one-third of arable land of India is irrigated by the different river valley projects. To counteract these calamities two things are necessary. First, there should be an extensive scheme of irrigation in order to divert the excess of water through canals to those regions which are comparatively dry by building reservoirs and digging more canals. Secondly, minor irrigational facilities should also be extended for a wide area by such devices as excavating tanks, sinking deep or shallow tubewells, etc. However, there should be a limit in sinking shallow or deep tubewells in accordance with the soil test to prevent the arsenic problem. And there should be thorough research to invent and prescribe species of crops for harvesting in low water level regions. Moreover, progressive farmers have to turn over from the antiquated bullock-driven ploughs to modern tractors and modern facilities of agriculture. The grand plan of river-grid — connecting the Ganga with the Narmada — has to be implemented with an adequate rehabilitation programme.
In the meantime, Food Protection Bill has been passed in the Parliament to assure food for all including BPL to get foodgrains at a low price. It calls for the huge fund in the national budget. Now we can say — much has been done, much remains to be done. In fact, it is a process that must be continuous if food is to be supplied cheap and in sufficient quantities to the coming generations. Moreover, overpopulation must be controlled. Otherwise, it will be a hide and seek game.