Sustainable Development of Indian Agriculture

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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF INDIAN
AGRICULTURE: GREEN REVOLUTION REVISITED

By
Anil K Gupta

W.P. No. 896
September 1990

The main objective of the working paper series
of the IIMA is to help faculty members to test
out their research findings at the pre-publication
stage

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT
AHMEDABAD 380 015
INDIA

Sustainable Development of Indian Agriculture:
Green Revolution Revisited

There are many things unique about the story of technological change in Indian Agriculture in sixties, seventies and eighties in India. However, my regret is that when our experience is applied in Africa or other developing countries, all the wrong lessons are learned.

This note has three parts; first deals with the current challenges in Indian agriculture. Part two deals with the historical review of the social, political and economic forces that shaped our policies. Part three deals with the issues to be faced in the nineties. Part One : Where have we reached?

a)The growth rate has been 3.1, 2.5 and 2.7% per annum during 1951-52 to 1964-65 (pre green revolution); 1969-70 to 1987-88 (post green revolution) and 1951-52 - 1987-88 (almost whole period after independence in 1947). The growth in pre-sixties was contributed mainly by bringing new area under cultivation either by cutting forests or previously fallow land. In post sixties, yield increased entirely because of increase in the productivity. b)While the jump from 74.2 million tonnes in 1966-67 (a drought year) to 94.0 million tonnes in 1967-68 after introduction of new technology was indeed very dramatic given the fact that post war economy (wars of 1962 and 1965) was quite sluggish as far as public investments were concerned. However, we had reached a figure of 82.3 million tonnes way back in 1960-61 when monsoon was good. Also, the production level hovered around 100 million tonnes till 1975. It came down to 97 million ton in a year of severe drought in 1972-73 and to 99.8 million ton in another drought year 1974-75. c)The jump of 20 million tonnes in 1975-76, 1982-83 and 1988-89 to take the production levels to 170 million tonnes has been contributed by good monsoon but also better distribution of inputs, improved irrigation infrastructure, technological upgradation, and resurgence of productive potential in Eastern India. d)Per capita availability of foodgrains and pulses has remained around 441 grams per day. It was as high as 480 gms in 1965. Population growth rate has kept a pace with the food production. e)Per capita income of rural producers (1966-77 to 1978-79) has ranged from Rs. 1,627/- Rs, 1,270/- in Punjab and Haryana to Rs. 395/- in Bihar. It ranged from Rs. 600 to 750 in 6 states and Rs. 490 to 600 in 12 states. f)The growth rate of wheat has been 5.1 per cent per annum between 1969-70 to 1987-88 and has been higher or at same level for several other cash crops and vegetables like potato. The oilseeds have a growth rate around 3.7 per cent, rice 2.4 per cent, pulses around 1 per cent, jowar 0.3 per cent and Bajra negative. Thus the green revolution has escaped the rainfed crops affecting the poorest people so far. g)Input productivity has been declining at an alarming pace. With 1970-71 as base of 100, the index has come down to less than 60 in 1987-88. Fertilizer consumption has increased by about 387 per cent during 1970-71 to 1988-89, gross irrigated area has increased by about 30 per cent, power consumption by 88 per cent, pesticides by about 323 per cent during the same period. The food production increased by only 57 per cent.

The non-sustainable nature of the green revolution doesn’t need a more telling testimony. h)Despite increasing production in recent years, government has found it difficult to fulfill its procurement current targets to meet obligations of food stock for national security and public distribution system. The larger irrigated land holders have increased their...
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