Introduction of new technology in Indian agriculture and its expansion programme after the Third 5-Year Plan period was named as Green Revolution. Its main aim was to increase agricultural output and with this vision, several high yielding seed varieties were introduced in the country. These seeds required proper irrigation facilities and extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides and prompted the government to introduce them as a package programme. It initially started with wheat and later extended to rice and other crops. The major outcomes of the Green Revolution were:
Positive outcomes -
• Increase in crop production – significant rise in crop production was observed specifically in wheat grain production in the country.
• Import substitution and export promotion – it allowed the country to gain self-sufficiency by lessening import requirements of various crops like oilseeds etc. Excess production has allowed India to also become a reliable exporter of several food grains.
• Modernization of agriculture – high levels of mechanization, used of HYVs, extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides modernized the agricultural production system in the country.
Negative Outcomes -
• Regional and class inequalities – this programme has managed to widen the gap between regions and between different classes of farmers. Northern states have made the maximum gain in terms of production, income and investments. It gave rise to the middle peasants’ sections where farmers with medium land holding benefitted from the changes and emerged as politically influential in different parts of the country.
• Reduction in ground water levels - Under Green Revolution, the use of HYV seeds was promoted which required not only extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides but also proper irrigation facilities. Micro irrigation is done through hand-pumps, small canals, ponds, wells, rain-water harvesting and tube wells all of which access the naturally occurring ground water. This exploitation is one of the major reasons behind the decline in ground water levels. the multi cropping system has also reduced the ground water levels as more than one crop on a single plot of land requires more water for proper growth.
• Unequal growth in country - Green Revolution created maximum benefits for the rich farmers who had large farms and the necessary capital for obtaining new technology which also includes farm machinery. Small farmers with even with offers of institutional credits could not avail the economic benefits of the green revolution contributing to high levels of unequal growth in the country.
While the First Five Year Plan preached patience, the Second Five Year Plan aimed to structurally change the country through simultaneous changes in all sectors. The Congress led government opted for a ‘socialist pattern of society’ as its goal. This was reflected in various policies and initiatives adopted during this phase.
• The government imposed heavy tariffs on imports to protect domestic industries.
• This allowed both public and private sector industries to grow rapidly in a protected environment.
• Savings and investments led to the growth of railways, electricity etc in the public sector.
• But India was technologically weak which led to loss of foreign exchange as better technology had to bought from outside the country.
• The rapid industrialization also created an almost food shortage as industries attracted more investment than agriculture.
Thus, from the above it is clear that the Second Five Year Plan Period was about rapid industrialisation that led to structural transformation of India’s economy.
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