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Agriculture, in India, prior to Independence focussed on subsistence and has dismal performance in the first half of 20th century, with droughts and famines being common occurrences. Partition saw one-third of irrigated land being given to the new Pakistan.
The immediate goal of the new Government of India was to increase food grains production by (a) switching over from cash crops to food crops; (b) intensification of cropping over already cultivated land; and (c) increasing cultivated area by bringing cultivable and fallow land under plough. Initially, this strategy helped but agricultural production stagnated during late-1950s.
To overcome this, Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP) and Intensive Agricultural Area Programme (IAAP) were launched. But two consecutive droughts during mid-1960s resulted in food crisis in the country, and thus food grains had to be imported.
The Government took advantage of a new seed variety known as high yield varieties (HYVs) by the mid-1960s, and introduced package technology comprising HYVs, along with chemical fertilisers in irrigated areas of Punjab, Haryana, Wester UP, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. This strategy proved successful and India was able to increase food grains production at very fast rate. This came to be known as ‘Green Revolution’.
This strategy of agricultural development made the country self-reliant in food grain production. But the confined nature of Green Revolution led to regional disparities in agricultural development till 1970s, after which it was expanded to other regions as well.
The planning commission, in 1980s, came up with solutions to the problems of agriculture in rainfed areas. It initiated agro-climatic planning in 1988 to induce regionally balanced agricultural development in the country. Initiation of the policy of liberation and free market economy in 1990s influenced the course of development of Indian agriculture.
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